WWRW – The FAIL Edition

It’s another What We’re Reading Wednesday!

…in Which I Fail to Become a Jane Austen Fan

I have a feeling I’m going to get skewered here, or otherwise lose all my credit as a reader.  There’s no getting around it, though.  I did not love Northanger Abbey.


I didn’t hate the book, per se.  I just didn’t love it.  Clicking around the internet, it seems that everyone else who happens to be a woman and a moderately discerning reader does in fact love Jane Austen.  I can’t say if I’ve read any of her other books (I have an awful memory), and I will give another a try, but for now…  Meh.

The prose was stilted.  I assume another way to say that is: I am a dunce.  Austen’s writing clearly follows the rule of Do Not Begin Every Sentence The Same Way.  In fact, she seems to make a rather obvious point of it, as well as varying her sentence structure.  I’m quite sure I could learn something from her in that regard, but it made for some confusing text.

I also failed to fall in love with any of the characters.  Catherine, the “heroine, whom Austen admits is an unlikely one, just doesn’t seem to have much depth.  She is naive, but I don’t think every character who is needs to be so… flat.  She fails to find any an heroic virtue by the end, as far as I can tell.

One rather inspirational quote that may have made the book worth reading:

To be disgraced by the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of the circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine’s life, and her fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character.

I’d like to be a heroine, I suppose, but I’m sorry to say, I’m not converted to the religion of Austenism.  If you have another book by her that you think I would like more, feel free to share.


…and in Which I Fail to Finish a Very Good Book

I began this book 2 weeks ago, and by my estimation, I’d say I’m about 80 pages in.  Why am I reviewing it now, then?  Because a) ReMoBoMo is almost over and this is one of the books I’d hoped to finish, and b) the book is lost.  Gone-zo.  Kaput.  That’s not remotely surprising in this house, but I am pretty well bummed about it.

Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan was fixing to be one of the most helpful books on writing that I’ve ever read.  (And I’ve read so many, right?)  It is chock full of helpful hints about writing, some of which I grasp easily and some of which might kill me in the end.  (Will I ever release my death grip on the use of the passive voice?  Probably not.)  I’m sure my high school English teachers would be chagrined to know (see? passive voice!) that there is so much for me to learn in this book, but for my part, I’m glad it’s out there.

Now, for all of our sakes, pray that I find it soon, okay?  In the meantime, click on over to Jessica at Housewifespice for more good reading material.


  1. I do love Northanger Abbey personally, but it’s not the best Austen to start with. Try Pride and Prejudice, then if you still don’t like Jane Austen we’ll officially give up on you! :0)
    Kendra recently posted…Halloween Movies to Spook the Whole FamilyMy Profile

  2. NA was the first Austen I read when it was assigned in a college lit course. I didn’t think there was anything great about it and that it was kind of cheesy. But then our professor told us that it was really written tongue and cheek, and in her opinion, was meant to be a parody of her other works, and of fiction at that time in general. It is written with much more comic relief than any of her others, but other than situational irony, we are far too separated from that era to “get it.” It is really aid take that it is presented as simply yet another Austen novel, and even in her lifetime no one was interested in publishing it.

    The style is pretty much the same In her other books, so if that puts you off, there you are. But the stories and characters are far more interesting and lovely. So don’t give up yet!
    Rebekah Es recently posted…What We’re Reading Wednesday: Finding GraceMy Profile

  3. Yes, I am aware that the expression is tongue in cheek, just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
    Rebekah Es recently posted…What We’re Reading Wednesday: Finding GraceMy Profile

  4. 99% of the time I do believe it’s good to read a book before seeing the movie, but I admit I’ve seen all of Austen’s movies in several renditions each first, then was compelled to go and read the books. I was hooked. P&P is my favorite, NA not so much. S&S and Persuasion are goods one to try.
    I usually rather creating the character in my imagination from the author’s words, but most adaptations have done a fine job. If you can’t get to like reading her books, don’t miss the movies and then try Bronte’ sisters instead.

    I have Word Painting on my night table and just started it tonight. I hope you find yours.

  5. There’s a good film of Northanger Abbey, but I couldn’t finish the book either. It’s the only Austen book I haven’t read. It’s not the best. I didn’t care much for Mansfield Park either, but had to finish it for a lit. class in college. 🙂 All the others are among my favorite books ever though, so I wouldn’t give up on her yet!
    Catherine recently posted…WWRW: NFP, Indians, and James HerriotMy Profile

  6. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m really too pragmatic to be a true Austen fan….I mean, they’re good stories, but I’ve yet to find ANY plot or character more compelling than Anne of Green Gables series. Love. every. single. one. Well, Windy Poplars is just okay. I try to write the way I speak. If I can’t draw you into a conversation through my writing, well, why read? Your writing has a conversational approach I appreciate.
    Annery recently posted…{WWRW} 20 and CountingMy Profile

  7. I love Jane Austen, but that book is not one of my favorites of hers. I do agree with your friends here — try Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, or even Emma to get a better taste of Austen :). By the way, I love that you’ve been doing these reviews. You’ve introduced me to some new ones and reminded me of old favorites. Hope you find the book — we’ve lost books here too — although they almost always eventually show up 🙂

  8. Anne Marie says:

    I’m slightly ashamed that I’ve read all of her books and watched almost all of the movies. (Not really ashamed at all)
    But, I would love to talk about them sometime! 🙂

    I actually really enjoyed Northanger Abby, but it was the second time I read it and after I watched the movie. The more you understand the storyline the easier it is to understand the humor in it. On the flip side I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as an intro to her work because it is definitely not as cohesively written as her other works.
    Pride and Prejudice is the best Intro and all around story, in my opinion.
    Emma is slow, but ultimately I really enjoyed it.
    Mansfield Park and Persuasion are better movies than books. Essentially they both have great story lines that are better conveyed visually than through text.
    Persuasion was really awesome the first time I read it, but then after that I ended up really hating it. (Weird!)