A Bibliophile’s Pile (31): The Facts of Life


Enthusiasm [UNABRIDGED],Enthusiasm, by Polly Shulman (audiobook / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so much better than I anticipated! It’s not a straight updating of any single Jane Austen novel, but instead borrows elements from all of them (Julie and Ashleigh stand in for Elinor and Marianne, Julie has to help her crush rehearse for a play, à la Fanny Price, etc.). There are also a number of fun Shakespearean references. Some of the plot twists were easy to spot coming, which had the unfortunate effect of making Julie seem a bit dense, but that’s fairly typical for YA novels. Overall, I enjoyed this and will probably read it again for a future Austen August.

The Rape of the LockThe Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (eBook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose to read this based on some footnotes in Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. I found it interesting and funny, but I’m sure I missed most of its meaning. I think a deeper understanding of heroic epic poetry, as well as 18th century mores, would help me appreciate the poem.

A Purely Private Matter (Rosalind Thorne Mysteries, #2)A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde (audiobook / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed this one more than the first. The story felt more cohesive, there was much less “lecturing,” and Rosalind and Harkness are still engaging characters. It could’ve used more Harkness. 3.5 stars

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and SensibilityJane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge (audiobook / library)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily one of the best Jane Austen retellings I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot). Lodge uses Sense and Sensibility as a basic framework for her sweet, slightly Western, contemporary romance. Add in a bevy of tea inspired recipes, endearing pop culture references (Doctor Who, The Hunger Games, The Princess Bride, etc.), and deeper character development for both Jane (Marianne) and Callum (Colonel Brandon), and I am a happy Janeite.

Sense & SensibilitySense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars (physical / own / re-read)

Full review after read along ends on Bookstagram.


Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human HeartJane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart by Laurel Ann Nattress (physical / own)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane Austen’s Nightmare by Syrie James
Wonderful commentary on Austen’s beloved and reviled characters! I definitely need to read some of Syrie James’ other books!

Waiting by Jane Odiwe
A nice look at one woman’s idea of Anne and Captain Wentworth’s first courtship.

A Night at Northanger by Lauren Willig
Perfectly fine modern take on Northanger Abbey.

Jane and the Gentleman Rogue: Being a fragment of a Jane Austen mystery by Stephanie Barron
Overall, I enjoy Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries. Lord Harry is a fun character, but Jane herself lacks something. The stories don’t have the wit and sparkle of Austen’s writing.

Faux Jane by F. J. Meier
I loved this one! It blended elements of the Thin Man movies with Jane Austen – sheer heaven!

Nothing Less Than Fairy-land by Monica Fairview
Sure, change the personality of several major characters (from Emma) to make writing your story easier. No one will notice.

Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane by Adriana Trigiani
I photographed 4 passages in this 6 page story. That might be a record. Beautiful!

Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss by Jo Beverley
The heroine thinks P&P is racy and fanciful, and yet she competes with her own daughter for a rich man’s affection. Weird.

When Only a Darcy Will Do by Beth Pattillo
A sweet little romance.

Heard of You by Margaret C. Sullivan
I was looking forward to this one, as I LOVE Sullivan’s other books! I enjoyed seeing a young Wentworth and watching Admiral Croft and Sophy fall in love.

The Ghostwriter by Elizabeth Aston
Why ON EARTH would a professed Janeite write Jane Austen as a manipulative b***h?!?

Mr. Bennet Meets His Match by Amanda Grange
Mr. B. has always been one of my favorite literary characters! Reading a story about him as a young man was delightful!

Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! by Janet Mullany
Jane Austen plus the Beatles is not as charming as it sounds. Meh.

Letters to Lydia by Maya Slater
The story was decent, covering the back 1/2 of P&P from Maria Lucas’ POV. The writing was like Regency Era texting, which was probably the point, but was difficult to stomach.

The Mysterious Closet: A Tale by Myretta Robens
Good enough, with some fun Northanger Abbey references, but the “ending” is open ended, which I kind of hate.

Jane Austen’s Cat by Diana Birchall
Absolutely lovely! Jane gives advice on love and marriage in an adorable way. Mansfield Park’s Mrs. Norris as a cat elicited a Harry Potter fangirl squee!

Me and Mr. Darcy, Again . . . by Alexandra Potter
Basically, Em is delusional, willing to go all the way to England because she had a fight with her boyfriend, and generally annoying. The only reason I gave is a second star was for the character names. The MC is Em (my sister’s name) and her sister is Stella (my nickname), and Em has a boyfriend named Spike (my other nickname). That made me smile.

What Would Austen Do? by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
So completely and utterly adorable! A teenage boy’s take on Jane Austen. The note on the authors says that they’re working on turning it into a full length novel, which I must have NOW!

The Riding Habit by Pamela Aidan
Meh, it was okay, I guess. I’ve certainly read better P&P fanfic.

The Love Letter by Brenna Aubrey
This story won a contest to be in this book, and I’m not surprised it won. It’s one of the best stories in the collection!

The Chase by Carrie Bebris
This true story of Frank Austen’s derring-do in a navel battle is exciting, if not particularly Jane-esque.

Intolerable Stupidity by Laurie Viera Rigler
An interesting idea, but muddled and confusing.



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Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen





Blogging Besties: Beyond Basic Denim

The Blogging Besties series is the brain child of Alex @ The Cheerful Closet and Whitney @ Whitney à la Mode. In 2015 the series expanded to include Maricel @ My Closet Catelogue and me, Selah @ A Bibliophile’s Style. It’s based on the idea of “take one, pass it on,” but we’re passing on an element from another blogger’s outfit. It’s a fun challenge that inspires us to be creative!

Last week, Whitney looked lovely in her lace tee:

The prompts she gave me were “white top, beyond basic denim, bright lips or photo bombers”.

I decided to pull out my mint green denim shorts, since they’re anything but basic. Do y’all remember when mint green was all the rage a few years ago?

I paired my shorts with a float-y black top, my gold flip-flops, and a coordinating feather necklace.

Next week, Maricel can choose from flowing silhouette,  mint green, feathers, or a throwback piece.

Previous Editions of Blogging Besties

Wordsmitten Wednesday: Northanger Abbey


“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to laugh. “I see what you think of me,” said he gravely — “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”

“My journal!”

“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings — plain black shoes — appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.”

“Indeed I shall say no such thing.”

“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”

“If you please.”

“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.”

“But, perhaps, I keep no journal.”

“Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies’ ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey