Tag: Pride and Prejudice

Mini Review – Books About Books

Posted September 17, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 4 Comments

As most people are aware, I am a big fan about books about books. I am fascinated about people’s journeys and relationships with books. As a big fan of books, I like to learn about how people view and write about books; I use this as a way to inspire me to improve as well as give me some new ideas on how to approach this topic. Sadly I am so far behind in my book reviewing so I need to resort to some mini reviews. However it is a good chance to talk about four very different books about books in one hit.

Mini Review – Books About BooksTitle: How To Be a Heroine (Goodreads)
Author: Samantha Ellis
Published: Chatto & Windus, 2014
Pages: 272
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Samantha Ellis is a playwright and journalist who decided to write about the woman in fiction that have influenced her life. The subtitle to How to be a Heroine is “…What I’ve Learned from Reading too Much” and this really encapsulates what Ellis is doing within the book. This is less of a bookish memoir or literary criticism and more of a revisit to some of her favourite books throughout her life and talking about it through the lens of feminism. This book includes references to The Little Mermaid, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, The Bell Jar and Wuthering Heights.

While this is a very important topic to discuss, I felt a bit of a disconnect to the book in general. There was times where I felt that Samantha Ellis was being dismissive and cynical towards literary criticism. Because I am fascinated and passionate about learning literary theory, I felt that her feelings towards the topic really took me away from truly enjoying the book. I did however enjoy the way Ellis analysed the good and bad qualities about each story and told the story about her relationship with the books mentioned. I think if it was not for that one thing that bugged me about How to be a Heroine I might have had a completely different experience while reading this book.


Mini Review – Books About BooksTitle: Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books (Goodreads)
Author: Tim Parks
Published: Harvill Secker, 2014
Pages: 244
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Tim Parks is a translator, critic and even a professor of literature, so when I discovered his book Where I’m Reading From, I was excited to see what he had to say on the topic. I went into this book thinking it was a bookish memoir but found out this was a collection of essays he had written for The New York Review of Books. Some of the topics discussed in this book include, Why we read, Should you finish every book you start?, How is the Nobel Prize like the World Cup?, Why do you hate the book your friend likes? and so many more topics. I was very interested in what he had to say about translations, and the concept of how we are reading a second-hand story.

There is so much within Where I’m Reading From that I did not agree with, but I still found it interesting to read someone else’s perspective on the topics. It really got more thinking about the state of literature and the bureaucracy behind the industry and awards in far greater detail. In a lot of ways this book reminded me of What Is Literature? by Jean-Paul Sartre, although Tim Parks’ book was a lot more accessible and did not make me feel stupid. I also did a video review for this book on my YouTube channel.


Mini Review – Books About BooksTitle: Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (Goodreads)
Author: Christopher Butler
Series: A Very Short Introduction #74
Published: Oxford University Press, 2003
Pages: 144
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I like to think I am a fan of post-modern literature, but ask me to explain it, I will have a hard time. Post-modernism is often referred to when talking about art, films, architecture, music and literature but what does it actually mean? I picked up Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction in the hopes of understand it a little more but I still do not think I can explain it. For me, I view post-modernism, as a reaction to modernism which seemed to reject past thinking in favour of innovations like stream-of-consciousness. Post-modernism still found value in the past techniques and theories and found interesting ways to use them in new and exciting ways. Post-modernism wanted to invoke thought and criticism; within its literature you might find something bizarre or weird that you just need to talk about.

I know my view on the topic is very broad and it is far more complex but that is what I love about post-modern literature. I want books that force me to think critically about what I am reading and post-modernism forces you to do just that. In Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction, Christopher Butler tries to equip us with the basic ideas behind post-modernism to allow us to recognise and understand the theories more easily. This is still a very complex movement but I am starting to understand why I love it. This is a good starting point, if you are actually interested in the critical thinking side of this movement.


Mini Review – Books About BooksTitle: My Reading Life (Goodreads)
Author: Bob Carr
Published: Penguin, 2008
Pages: 432
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

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Bob Carr is a former Australian politician and member of the Labour Party; during his career he was a Senator, Premier of New South Wales and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. My Reading Life is a literary memoir about the books he has read and have influenced him; this was written during a period where he was not in politics. Carr divides the book into topics, focusing mainly on the political, which is obviously a reflection of his interests.

One of the things I did not like about this book was the way Bob Carr kept his political face on throughout the entire thing. I would have liked him to drop his public persona and just have a more real conversation about books. I understand that he was still political and he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs after publishing this but I would have preferred a more honest look at literature. I do hope that no Russian’s read this book after he become the Minister of Foreign Affairs, because to me it felt like Carr liked Russian lit but hated everything else about this country. There was some interesting insights made within the book and overall a decent memoir, just a little too guarded.


84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Posted January 18, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene HanffTitle: 84 Charing Cross Road (Goodreads)
Author: Helene Hanff
Published: Virago, 1970
Pages: 230
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

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84 Charing Cross Road documents twenty-year of correspondences between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel. Helene was an American writer while Frank the chief buyer of Marks & Co, an antiquarian bookseller located at the eponymous address in London, England. Starting out as a request for obscure classics, the book follows the blossoming relationship with Helene and the people of Marks & Co. Followed by The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, a collection of diary entries of Helene’s trip to England and the tour of bookshops.

Helene noticed an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature and first contacted the shop in 1949. This started a beautiful love story found in this book, not between Helene and Frank but rather a love of books. This is the type of book you read if you are a book lover; it makes me wish I could correspond with a bookstore (or a book lover) about books. Can you imagine this happening with Amazon or Book Depository? Nowadays we have twitter (which I’m always on talking about my love of books) but 140 characters sometimes are not enough to say what you want to say.

I went into this book a little unsure, a collection of letters between a book lover and a bookseller, how great can this book really be? What I found was that the silver tongue and wit of Helene Hanff really made this book for me. You know that feeling in writing where you not sure if the person is being sarcastic or not, I started off wondering this but so found she had a wicked sense of humour and I’m so glad the people of Marks & Co never took offense (or they didn’t appear to). This might have been their (Frank Doel and the others that wrote to Helene) professional nature that slowly changed into a friendship, once they started to get to know each other and understood her sense of humour.

One of the major problems I had with this book is not really a problem but a personal preference, which has to do with grammar and formatting. I understand they tried to keep the writing the same as the letters but I wouldn’t mind if they fixed it a little to add punctuation and correct it. Another thing that throws me was the missing letters, I know things get lost but when you are absorbed in a conversation about a book (like Pride and Prejudice) it is disappointing to not know what happened.

The edition of 84 Charing Cross Road I borrowed from the library also came with The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. This is the travel diary of Helene Hanff’s time visiting London. Looking at details of this book the term ‘zesty memoir’ is mentioned a few times, but I felt it to be a disappointment in comparison. It was entertaining but it didn’t have the banter or wit I expected, it just felt like a step by step play of everything Helene did while visiting London. While these two books work as companion pieces The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street was too one sided for my taste. Think of it like a sequel, once you finish 84 Charing Cross Road you’ll probably want to know what happened on her trip to London.

84 Charing Cross Road has been made into a movie and a stage play; I’ve not seen them but I’m interested to see how this book translates into another medium. I love how the book is promoted with the line “so begins a love affair”; this is a love affair with books. I managed to write this entire review without mentioning this is an epistolary book that I feel the need to mention my achievement. Highly recommend that you get your hands on both novels and reading them, especially if you are a lover of books.


My Top Five Reads of 2013

Posted December 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top 5 / 4 Comments

As 2013 comes to an end, it is time to do that “Best of” post. I know it’s one of those posts you are either sick of or love seeing but I have to share my favourites. It’s been a great year; over 160 books read, some amazing books and some painful ones (see Twilight and New Moon). Like last year I’m going to split my list into “Best of 2013 (released this year)” and all other novels, but as I want to focus more on Non-Fiction too I’m adding “Best Non-Fiction of 2013” to the mix.

Top Five Reads Released in 2013
5. The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth
4. Tenth of December by George Saunders
3. The Explorer by James Smythe
2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
1. The Machine by James Smythe

Top Five Reads in 2013
5. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads in 2013
5. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
4. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
3. Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
2. Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us by Jesse Bering
1. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Now it’s your turn to let me know of your favourite books, the new releases and the older books. It doesn’t matter; just what you discovered and loved.


Longbourn by Jo Baker

Posted October 2, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

Longbourn by Jo BakerTitle: Longbourn (Goodreads)
Author: Jo Baker
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Longbourn follows the daily lives of the servants of the Bennet house. Sarah is an orphaned housemaid who spends her day doing laundry, polishing the floor and emptying chamber pots. The house is blooming with romance and heartbreak, not just for the Bennet sisters. One day a mysterious new footman arrives and the servants’ hall is under threat of been completely upended.

A unique reimagining, this novel tells the story of Pride and Prejudice told from the people serving the Bennet’s. I get the sense that this book was inspired more by Downton Abbey more than Jane Austen but never really seems to live up to either. All the drama of Bingley, Wickham, Mr Collins and Mr Darcy play out as a background characters for the drama that is happening with the servants.

I only read Pride and Prejudice earlier this year and absolutely loved it so I was a little wary of trying a spin off novel. The idea of a novel in the style of Downton Abbey did interest me but I felt let down. I got nether Austen’s wit and humour nor the drama for Downton. Some of Austen’s memorable characters didn’t seem to line up too well in this novel either; Mr Bennet comes to mind, his sarcastic humour appears completely absent in this novel. This could be written off as the servant’s perception of the Bennets and other characters.

There are some redeeming qualities in Longbourn; the novel seemed historically accurate, and while I don’t know for sure if this is correct, it did felt like this novel aligns with what I’ve read in Pride and Prejudice. Also I have to admire the way Jo Baker wrote; she is no Jane Austen but the prose was still elegant and I found myself continuously being impressed with her style while always looking for ways she may have ruined Austen’s masterpiece.

I always felt like the Bennets were wealthy enough to allow Mr Bennet to be a man of leisure but not enough to stop Mrs Bennet from worrying. So when servant hall in Longbourn seem smaller than what you would normally expect, it didn’t come as a surprise to me. The arrival of a new footman means that Mr Bennet has finally given into the demands of his wife and in comes the mysterious James. While the servant’s seem pleased with the new addition, Sarah doesn’t and soon she becomes aware of his interests towards her. You can probably guess where this is going and I won’t spoil it for you.

I spent most of the book worried that Baker will do damage to a true classic and I think this did detract from my enjoyment but for the most of it I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I did how ever feel as if this novel dragged on in parts and the fact that this was marked as a book for Downton Abbey fans seemed completely wrong. If you are a Downton fan I would recommend The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro well before I recommend Longbourn.


Top Ten Tuesday: The Worst Movie Adaptations

Posted July 9, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Adaptations, Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

I had so much fun doing Top Ten Tuesday last week that I thought I would join in again. Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations. I want to look at ten books that should have never been made into movies because they never work and never will work in this particular format. These are mainly books that have a strong internal monologue, the emotions and inner turmoil is vital to the book and/or they are too many narrators to really work.

10. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
There was a mini-series that wasn’t too bad but the latest attempt at adapting this movie was so bad. I’m a fan of Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry and John Malkovich but no one could save this movie.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I’m sorry but the 2005 film just doesn’t work for me, there is none of Austen’s wit and only really covers the basic story. I only recently read Pride and Prejudice and adored it but most of the things I love about this book don’t translate to film.

8. Dune by Frank Herbert
David Lynch was faced with the impossible task of turning this seminal sci-fi classic into a movie and he failed, hard.

7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
One of those movies, I wish I could unsee. The book was so great, why would they destroy that with a film adaption?

6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The most recent adaptation was a horrible, horrible adaptation of such a wonderful book. It was weird how they did the movie and they left so much out. I’m not a fan of Keira Knightley so I was looking forward to the end. I’ve not seen any of the other adaptations of this classic and I never want to see them.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I keep meaning to write about the Baz Luhrmann version but keep putting it off. This is a book about unlikeable characters and symbolism, and that never worked. To be honest I don’t think Baz read the book and just tried to remake the old Robert Redford movie.

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
I’ve never seen a Dracula movie that actually works, it’s hard to be faithful to Bram Stoker’s seminal piece of literature and still try to adapt it.

3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I’m looking at you Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall. It doesn’t work and it shouldn’t be tried again. Try something like a modern retelling like Easy A, it’s not The Scarlet Letter but at least it works.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Most of this novel plays out in the mind of Rodion Raskolnikov; mental anguish and moral dilemmas don’t translate on the screen, I never have watched a Crime and Punishment adaptation and I don’t think I ever will.

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
No, just stop it, you will never get it right in a movie, you can’t tell both Victor and Monster Frankenstein’s story at the same time and explore their thoughts and emotion on the screen. Stop trying to ruin my favourite book.


Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Posted April 25, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Chick Lit / 0 Comments

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen FieldingTitle: Bridget Jones's Diary (Goodreads)
Author: Helen Fielding
Series: Bridget Jones #1
Published: Pan Macmillan, 1996
Pages: 310
Genres: Chick Lit
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Bridget Jones’s Diary is the year in the life of a thirty-something single working woman living in London. While she writes about her career, problems, family, friends, and a quest for a romantic relationship she is also on a quest for self improvement. To quit smoking, cut down on drinking, lose weight and develop Inner poise, this novel is a comical look at the modern woman.

First of all, I think of this book as a pseudo feminist novel; while there are plenty of elements in the novel that could be considered a critique of feminism; this is more satire than anything else. Bridget wants to be that kind of woman but she never gets there, she tries to come across as a strong independent working woman who does what she wants when she wants, but when it all comes down to it, what she wants is a man. Interesting enough the strongest feminist is the mother who has legitimate feminist ideals, but not portrayed in a very positive light.

There is this idea that Bridget Jones’s Diary is based on Pride and Prejudice but I have some issues with this and I will try to explore some of my basic thoughts on this. Firstly Bridget is not Elizabeth Bennett; she would like to be, but in the book her personality would be more like Lydia. Her goal is to become more like Lizzie but her relationship with Daniel Cleaver (possible the Wickham of the story) shows us that she is living a life of self gratification. If we are going to compare characters to those in Pride and Prejudice, then Bridget’s mother might start off as a Mrs Bennett but in the end turns into a Lydia as well. Mark Darcy is obviously Mr Darcy and probably the only character that closely resembles the original character. There is also the desire to find a husband (or mate) due to the pressures put on them by their mothers as well as the perception of running out of time. In Lizzie’s case, she was at the age where she needs to seriously consider getting married as it was expected of her and in Bridget’s case it was more to do with her biological clock.

Here is how I think the comparison was made; in the novel Bridget was obsessed with the BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, she considered Lizzie and Darcy the idea of the a great romance and wanted to find her own Mr Darcy. She loves the lake scene with Colin Firth in the wet white shirt (not in the book), so when it come to moment where Bridget realises who’s the right man for her, the book tries to replicate the scene with the description of Mark Darcy coming in dirty and sweaty and her attraction to him at that moment. Obviously since the movie had Colin Firth playing Mark Darcy, they were able to replicate this scene a lot better and this is why the ending was changed.

I don’t know much about Chick Lit so it is hard to talk about the writing and how it compares to other books in this genre but I have some thoughts I want to explore. First of all, this novel is almost like a soliloquy; obviously being a diary she is expecting no one else to read her thoughts, so she can express feelings that she would never consider sharing with others. The diary takes the reader through the year with her, as it happens, not with the wisdom of hindsight or any wisdom at all. The only problem is that it blurs the line between a first person narrative and third; there are parts of the book where it would be obscure to think Bridget was writing down everything happening, minute by minute as it was happening. This is to help add to the comedy of the book but to me it added to the absurdity.

Lastly I want to talk about Bridget Jones; the modern woman, obsessed with romance but still wanting to appear as a strong independent woman. She starts the diary in an effort try to improve herself but it also suggests that she is self-absorbed. What really got me was her negative body image; each day she weighed herself and throughout the course of the entire book the most she ever weighed was 9.6 stone (just over 60kg or 132 pounds) and she considers herself overweight by that? I know she compares herself to people on TV but it’s just ridiculous. Also with the amount of calories, cigarettes and alcohol she drinks, I’m surprised she is so under weight and that is where the satire started to frustrate me.

Overall, I was entertained by this book; as a novel it did have its issues and is riddled with chick lit clichés. As a satirical novel, it worked on some levels but most of the time it had to rely on the chick lit elements to help push it through. I didn’t remember much about the movie, except for the fountain scene and Renée Zellweger putting on weight for the role. Which when comparing it to the book doesn’t make sense but on a personal level, I think it was an improvement; she looked fantastic. Overall the book was quirky but the real surprise for me was the wit and irony used throughout the novel; enough to entertain me.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Posted April 21, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic / 0 Comments

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTitle: Pride and Prejudice (Goodreads)
Author: Jane Austen
Published: Pulp! The Classics, 1813
Pages: 320
Genres: Classic
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is often considered one of the greatest novels of all time; the story of proud William Darcy and the prejudices of Elizabeth Bennet. From Lizzie’s perspective their spirited courtship plays out on the page; in this witty comedy of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in early 19th century society.

Most of you would already know this story; you’ve probably seen an adaptation or two in your time. For me, I was never interested in reading this book, I knew what it was about but I never knew what to expect. Eventually I had to read this book, in part for university and because it’s a classic that will always remain on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List. This is the novel that just will not die; 200 years later since this was published the book still sits very often in the top ten in a lot of bookstores and other literary lists. It’s been adapted multiple times as well as been retold many times (highlights include Lost in Austen & The Lizzie Bennet Diaries). The novel has also inspired a range of other books including books by Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie and Helen Fielding.

First of all I want to look at Jane Austen’s attempt to play with the traditional quest format to offer us this rather clever novel. Let’s look at the novel from a traditional storytelling point of view. The potential princes in this novel; Darcy was considered clever and cold, Mr Wickham was too hot, then there was Mr Collins, the one that could save the ‘castle’ who should be just right, but he was not warm but tepid and boring. The pattern is reshaped and slowly the princess’ heart has been won, even if she doesn’t know it straight away. Then Austen needs to make the suitor eligible to win over the heroine; so she sends him on a quest to win Lizzie’s heart. Then like all quest stories, the story ends abruptly, with a marriage and a happy ending. This ancient pattern only provided the basic story structure for Jane Austen to weave her story into.

The interesting thing about this novel is the fact that this book has no physical action in the entire book; the novel rather concerns itself with the complexity of courtship and marriage in the landowning classes in provincial England. Austen writes about the people she knows, doing the activities we would expect them to do. Yet she manages to write it with such wit and skill that the novel refreshing and remained so popular.

Elizabeth Bennet is clearly Austen’s favourite in the book; the character is stronger and smarter than even the men in the book. Yet she goes to great lengths to make sure that this is believable. While she is clever, Lizzie still has romance/the sublime on her mind; her references to the Lake Distracts could be considered evidence of this. I feel like Jane Austen is trying to show that a woman like Lizzie should be deserving of the family home more than someone like Mr Collins. The Bennet’s are not middle class in this novel; Mr Bennet doesn’t work, he is a man of leisure, landowners but without a son their property will be inherited by Mr Collins. So we have this impending doom (according to Mrs Bennet) with only one hope of saving the family, marriage. When Lizzie Bennet rejects Mr Collins and eventually marries Darcy, Austen tries to tell us that character matters more than rank when it comes to romance, but then there is still a whole lot to do with rank and class that remains within the novel.

At the start of the novel Lizzie and Darcy hate each other but by the end they are the perfect couple. So what is Austen trying to tell us with this change in momentum? To do this let’s look at the other relationships; First off there is some evidence that Mr and Mrs Bennet got married at a very young age, lust had brought the two together and there might have been a pregnancy. Now that the lust has cooled they find they have nothing in common. Mr Collins and Charlotte are almost the opposite; there is no passion in their marriage, it was more of a business arrangement, no kids and unhappy in their marriage. Mr Bingley and Jane are just smitten with each other; there is no real evidence that there is anything more than just an infatuation. So when it comes to Lizzie and Darcy, they are written as the opposite, they are not smitten, they have to make their way there. They develop a healthy respect and admiration as well as love. All the details are focused on Lizzie and Darcy; all the other characters are rather underdeveloped, they feel more like caricatures, yet we still need to look at the other couples to see what Austen was trying to achieve.

Now I want to look more at the writing and style rather than character and plot. Pride and Prejudice started off as an epistolary novel, it has been said that this was originally written as a series of letters; this is why there is a huge lack of character description. This is also a novel of wit so let’s focus more on how Jane Austen achieves that.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Looking at the very first line we get a sense of Austen’s ironical attacks; Bingley and Darcy both have women lined up but both don’t seem too keen to marry. Single men with large fortunes have the luxury of doing what they want. It is only Mrs Bennet that is trying to convince the reader that the opening line is indeed true. Just in the first few lines we can see the subtlety of Austen’s language. This book is full of other slight digs at society and it took me a second read through to really see them, but they are there and I suspect that is why this book continues to remain popular; no matter how many times you read this book there is still something to discover.

Jane Austen likes to dig at the concepts at Class and Courtship, but more so towards love and marriage. It is interesting to see that many people read this book at face value and just gloss over any attempt at irony in this book. This book is riddled with discursive and dramatic irony but to Jane Austen’s credit she was able to do it in such a subtle way that it can be easily overlooked or missed. For a cynical person like me, it was this irony that I respect the most. I love that you can read this book as a great romance or as an ironic look at love and marriage. While the irony plays out in the book, Jane Austen’s fundamental optimism makes sure no damage was done and the outcome is a happy one.

I expected Pride and Prejudice to be a romance, exploring the courtship of Lizzie and Darcy, which it is, but I was so pleased that there was so much more in this novel to explore. I read this novel and then went back and reread this novel right away; this was mainly because I needed to for Uni but I found this deliciously cynical voice come through the second time that changed my opinion of this book. I’m not sure if Jane Austen’s novels are always so ironic but if they are, she has found herself a new fan.


Monthly Review – March 2013

Posted March 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 2 Comments

Happy Easter everyone, hope you are all enjoying the long weekend. I hope everyone has had a wonderful month of reading and had time to fit Lolita into their busy schedule. I’ve noticed a lot of mixed reactions to this book which would mainly be a result of the controversial nature of this book but it really is one of those books that have helped shape twentieth century literature, so well worth checking out. Still a lot of action happening with the reading challenge as well; looks like two hundred books been added this month. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

A reminder that next month’s book will Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami for our Japanese literature theme. I haven’t read much Murakami but expect some great discussion on this book, hopefully with some thoughts to the Magical Realism genre.

Highlights for my month’s reading included Infinite Jest which I’ve finally finished; the beautiful painting of Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding; Lolita; and In a Lonely Place. I would like to mention two other books that really blew me away. First, Pride and Prejudice which I finally got around to reading after putting it off for far too long (also have you seen the Lizzie Bennett Diaries?). Also Tenth of December; while I’m not much of a reader of short stories George Saunders showed me just enough to change my mind. What have you been reading this month and what were the highlights?

My Monthly Reading