Jan 03, 2014
More Top Ten fun for your end (and beginning of year) enjoyment! Today's Top Ten list is from Carol J. of RCL - Mounds View, for whom this year was "all about Austen."
The Top Ten (or so) Best Austen Adaptations and Spin-offs that I Read (or Watched) This Year:
For example: Lost in Austen, a British miniseries where modern-day Amanda Price and P & P's Elizabeth Bennet switch places. Naturally, mayhem ensues. A contemporary and very funny take on Pride & Prejudice and Mr. Darcy that takes the classic characters in directions you'd never expect (particularly Mr. Bingley and Wickham.)
On the book side, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal is essentially a P & P adaptation with magic. Jane Ellsworth, plain but blessed with a gift to create interesting spectacles through magic, looks for love. Many allusions to Jane Austen books and characters ensue, but in a charmingly subtle way.
Keeping the Castle: A Tale of Romance, Riches, and Real Estate by Patrice Kindl - Adorable young adult novel in the vein of P & P about Althea, a young woman living with her mother and stepsisters in a rundown castle who is trying hard to find a nice, rich suitor she can marry so they can keep the castle. When handsome Lord Boring moves in the neighborhood, things seem promising--even though his friend Mr. Fredericks is a thorn in Althea's side. Romance and home repair ensues!
Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe - Bit of a random exploration into the "nooks and crannies of Austen fandom" from JASNA conferences, to fan fiction to Austen in literary criticism to the places in the books and adaptations. A bit scattered, but an interesting peek at the massive world of Austenania (mania?).
Sense & Sensibility (the 2008 BBC production) has an amazing cast, from Dominic Cooper to Dan Stevens to Janet McTeer. But most especially, David Morrissey (who you may recognize from The Walking Dead) as a very swoony Colonel Brandon. I can't believe I missed this one (so many Austen adaptations, so little time) but I was reminded of it by:
The Story of the Costume Drama - A super fun and dishy documentary about the British costume dramas that have absorbed British and American viewers alike. A must for any Austen or Downton Abbey fan. I guarantee that your library request list will immediately be filled with delicious costume drama goodness.
Did I mention that I love a Jane Austen spinoff? I read three by Victoria Connelly this year: Mr. Darcy Forever, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, and Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. All three are a little strange, but compulsively readable novels about Jane Austen fans who travel on Austen-related adventures (like to Austen locales and conferences) and are filled with so many Jane Austen references. Very fun!
An actual book that DID come out in 2013 was Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. As a Bridget Jones fan from way back, it was great fun to catch up with Bridget again--even if a lot of it involved wincing through her bad decision-making. Very fun AND funny.
And ending it all with a little literature: Longbourn by Jo Baker, a novel that follows the household staff of the families in P & P. It provides an interesting and unique slant on the classic story, and it's very well researched and written. Quite enjoyable!