What happened after the wedding? (P&P challenge #5)

Yes, it has been a while ago! Perhaps I need to find another incentive to blog daily or every other day, like I had when participating in the blogalong. But, today I want to report on another challenge that I’m participating in, namely the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge. Remember? 2013 marks the 200 year anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, one of Jane Austen‘s most beloved novels (in my opinion, then). Laurel Ann from Austenprose hosts this challenge, and I have committed to the Afficionada level, meaning to read, listen to or watch 9 to 12 Pride and Prejudice related books, series or movies. So far, I’ve done 8 (counting the trilogy by Pamela Aidan as 1), but I have not posted a blog about some of them yet (shame on me). I have reviewed them on Goodreads, though, so it will be a somewhat easy transfer.

We all know that Darcy and Elizabeth are getting married. And, so we like to believe, they live happily ever after, as do Jane and Bingley of course. But Linda Berdoll, with her book ‘Mr Darcy takes a wife’, paints quite a different picture. She vividly paints the circumstances and practices of the time, using a writing style reminiscent of Austen. Content-wise… not so much. Where the original Pride and Prejudice focuses on restrictions and limited physical contact, this novel appears to turn that around. Meet Mr Darcy as an old-fashioned Christian Grey. Admittedly, at times that was enjoyable (hey, what did you expect, Darcy can melt anyone… especially like that :P), but it became a bit vulgar as it continued.

For both the Bennet sisters, it isn’t all marital bliss. Babies and pregnancy can bring all sorts of problems, let alone what advice from their beloved mother or loose sister could do to a happily married couple. Most characters are given quite some depth in the novel, though in a much more explicit way than in the original story. Georgiana gave me quite a surprise, as I believed her to be a shy girl (which indeed she is at the beginning).¬†But I won’t spoil too much for those of you who long to read it yourself. My verdict: certainly entertaining, but I probably won’t read it again.

This week, expect my reviews of Mr Darcy’s Diary and Bridget Jones’s Diary, both journals, but completely different. And what else I might read I still don’t know, I have a plethora of novels on my e-reader in various genres ūüôā

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The other way around (P&P challenge #4)

Chances are you’ve had to read literature in your mother-tongue and perhaps in a second and/or third language (Dutch and English in my case). Perhaps you recall not liking the books, because they were forced on you. Lucky for me, most of the times I liked the books I had to read or chose to put on my reading list. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) was one of my favourites and it still is. I reread it at least once every year. As 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the novel, I have entered the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge hosted by Austenprose. My goal is to read or watch 12 P&P inspired books and movies. So far I’ve seen the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley, the BBC series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (with the famous wet shirt scene) and the spin-off Lost in Austen, which was incredibly funny. I’ve also followed Lizzie Bennet, the protagonist of the story, in her YouTube vlog ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries‘. Yes, Lizzie Bennet knows how to use the computer and social media!

But, finally, I’ve also read some books! A trilogy, to be precise, by Pamela Aidan. Going by the name ‘Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman‘, the trilogy gives unbiased view on Mr Darcy, quite unlike Elizabeth Bennet gives us. We get an insight into his character and his reasoning, and we even get to know what Darcy is doing when he is away from Netherfield (remember, he convinced his best friend Bingley to stop his courting of Lizzie’s sister Jane). Many things we never would have given much thought. But then, we only know the story written from Lizzie’s point of view…

Pamela Aidan has done an amazing job in telling the story the other way around. Darcy sees an intelligent young woman with a pair of fine, sparkling eyes and the wit and courage to oppose him. He is attracted to her, and the playfulness she displays indicated she might feel something similar. After all, he is a very eligible bachelor with his 10,000 per annum, and he’s at an age he really should be looking to settle. Prejudice all over again, because we know what Elizabeth thinks. Darcy is the most disagreeable man ever to live, is proud and conceited, and most importantly, he has destroyed the happiness of Jane by talking Bingley into leaving her. No wonder she rejected him when he asked her to marry, perceiving him so, but Darcy was caught by surprise. We accompany Darcy as he tries to regain his composure (I don’t want to give away too much about this, as it is not told in the original novel… Get the books and read it for yourself) and comes to terms with his rejection. He begins to recognize how his pride has hindered him and reflects on what he has done to truly deserve the answers Elizabeth has given him. His sister Georgiana, whom we read little about in Pride and Prejudice, also plays a role in Darcy’s change from proud to likable. We all know how it ends. Darcy has developed, his character has changed and he tries to make amends. With success, lucky for us, faithful readers. I’m happy every time when they finally do get together ūüėÄ

An assembly such as thisApart from narrating the well known story from a completely different point of view, the author has succeeded in keeping the trilogy close to the original novel in style and character. The political ideas of the time are apparent in the trilogy, more than in Pride and Prejudice, and the intercourse between people is consequently quite formal. Darcy’s pride and prejudice play a major role (which we already knew), and the way he realizes he has (had) these flaws and tries to deal with this is the strongest part of the series. I rated the books either 3 or 4 stars out of five, because, unfortunately, the books did get boring at times. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice as I have, be sure to read the story the other way around and get ‘An assembly such as this’ to start with!

Lizzie Bennet Diaries (P&P challenge #3)

Do you ever find it difficult to consistently keep a journal, a blog, keep in touch with people you contact through fora and what more? I know I do. I have a wondrous collection of journals from when I was younger, containing fragments of my life. I could write every day for months and then forget about it for weeks. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have the time or was too tired.¬†Checking them, it is wonderful reading what I was concerned about back then. The earliest journal I kept started just after my birthday in 2003, when I turned 12. I wrote in a letter format, which I recall was inspired by the journals of Anne Frank. My journal therefore always had a name, which evolved as I befriended other people (I usually used a combined name of best friends). Today is the first time in years I have taken the journals out… I remembered so many things I’d forgotten, reading everything. I plan to start again!

Diaries are great ways to express yourself, and they are often used in novels. Sue Townsend for example has written an entire series about Adrian Mole using diary format. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle has contained his 16-year-old self in a diary, making it a key element of the book.

Diaries do not play a role in Pride and Prejudice, yet a wondrous modern adaptation of the book has been produced on YouTube called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. If you liked P&P, you ought to watch it. There are 100 episodes of this video blog in total and it follows the essentials of the novel very well. There is the mother wanting the daughters to get married, the handsome Bing Lee who is new to town but suddenly leaves, leaving the caring Jane heartbroken. Haughty Darcy, the owner of Pemberly Digital gets off on the wrong foot with Lizzie and resents her friendship with Wickham (obviously). Lydia is even worse than she seems in the novel. Even Mary and Kitty, who are less important in the novel, play a role in the vlog (though Kitty is merely the kitten).

In my opinion, the series really adds to the novel, creating a depth of character that I miss in the original. The cast is great and portrays the characters really well. Apart from Darcy and Lizzie, who are quite well portrayed in the book, the other characters remain quite shallow. Well, that changes with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, definitely. In addition, this production doesn’t stick to merely Lizzie’s vlog. It has created additional video blogs for Lydia and Pemberly Digital for example, several twitter and facebook accounts and more, encouraging fans to interact with the characters. It is in short the best adaptation of Pride and Prejudice I have seen so far!

If you haven’t seen it yet, go and check it out, because you really can’t miss it! If you want to read some more first, check out the intro to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries at Austenprose.

Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)With the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, it is a great time to read the book again, watch the movies, read spin-offs etc. in honour of this great novel! Austenprose hosts the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, with the purpose of letting people discover P&P once again. 

I have committed myself to reading or watching 9 books/movies at least, so the Aficionada level. I don’t have a planning, nor do I know exactly what I will read yet. Here a selection of books/movies I know already I want to read or watch:

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice (1995) – BBC series (I have already seen this in January)
Pride and Prejudice (2005) – movie
Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Lost in Austen – BBC miniseries

 

In addition there will be at least 4 more books, but as I don’t know the possibilities yet, I will roam around to find these 4! If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

200 years Pride and Prejudice (P&P challenge #1)

Yesterday it was Pride and Prejudice’s 200th birthday. For a novel that perhaps didn’t inspire much thought when it was first published, it is now one of the most well-read Jane Austen novels and one of my personal favourites. Why? Because it is so easy to get into the head of Elizabeth Bennet and understand what she goes through, even though society has changed greatly since the novel was first written. I have reread the book for probably the 5th time and still fell in love with Darcy as Elizabeth did, and I still felt curious: will they get together in the end? Of course, I know, but the way the book is written makes me question is every time again.

ImagePride and Prejudice has inspired some great movies, the latest from 2005 with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Wonderful costumes, picturesque villages and mansions, traditional dances (which I LOVE) and naturally the wonderful story. Yet, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I found that I missed parts of the story. Especially Darcy’s side of the story barely is enlightened, though it is hinted at in the novel. Had I not known the story yet, the (very sudden) admiration for Elizabeth had come across quite odd. Within the short time frame I have to say that Matthew Macfadyen makes the most of it, though… A very handsome Mr Darcy indeed!

Recently I bought the 1995 BBC series, starring the brilliant Jennifer 

ImageEhle and Colin Firth. Though I very much liked the 2005 film edition, I absolutely LOVED the series and spent an entire day with simply watching Pride and Prejudice. It is so truthful to the story, telling every little bit, showing how Darcy feels, having the clothing and environment that perfectly fits with 200 years ago. Contrary to the movie, the colours in the series are quite plain, but as I noticed that, I realized that plain colours are way more natural!

One of my favourites at this moment is a modern adaptation of the story as a video blog on Youtube. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, short videos of 3 to 6 minutes, and they’re great! The additional characters get way more depth than in the original novel or the movies. You can view the first episode here.¬†If you like it, there are currently 83 videos, and Lizzie is at Pemberley (yes, the story line is followed, but it is a very modern adaptation). According to some, this adaptation stays true to the novel best… Go check it out!

I’m definitely not the only one to love this classic, 200 year old novel. Many more people do. Some people have been inspired to write about Jane Austen’s world, others take a more feminist approach as a Modern Mrs Darcy¬†(she has written very nice reviews of the different film editions as well!)¬†and yet others simply love Pride and Prejudice, such as¬†The Bennet Sisters and Austenprose.