These are the questions by the characters in The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. I didn’t answer any of Prudie questions because they were uninteresting.
Jocelyn (human matchmaker/dog breeder):
Do you like any of the movies based on Austen’s books? Do you ever like movies based on books? Have you ever seen any of the adaptions of Austen’s novels that star a Jack Russell terrier named Wishbone? Do you want to?
I like most of them, even the notorious Mansfield Park (1999). Fowler has some interesting objections to this film.
I like Pride and Prejudice (1940, 1995, 2005) and Emma (1996) and Sense and Sensibility (1995)and Persuasion (1995). I haven’t seen a Northanger Abbey.
I like Clueless (1995) and Bride and Prejudice (2005) and Kandukonden Kandukonden (2000, Sense and Sensibility) but not the modern Pride and Prejudice (2003). I liked Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) too.
I haven’t seen the Wishbone “Furst Impressions” (1995) but I would like to. I remember the others as not being as bad as they should have been. But then, I have poor taste. (ref: the notorious Mansfield Park).
Also, I have some catching up to do.
Is it rude to give a person a book as a gift and then ask later if the person liked it? Would you ever do that?
Yes, it is rude and yes I have done it. I lent my copy of Stephenie Meyers’s Twilight to a friend and bugged her about it. Finally, she said she had read so many vampire romances that she hated them. I should ask for it back.
I bought the Firefly series for a family member who loves Star Trek. I did wait a year before asking her about it. Mostly, because we live so far apart. She liked it. Yay!
Grigg (SF reader/Austen-newbie):
Many science fiction readers also love Austen. Why do you suppose this it true? Do you think many Austen readers love science fiction?
Perhaps, in the 21st century, both Regency England and Barsoom are equally alien? Perhaps some SF and Austen have logical, rational underpinnings?
I suspect Grigg is being disingenuous here. I bet most science fiction-readers pretend to love Pride and Prejudice to have sex with Austen-readers.
To the last question, Austen readers don’t love science fiction – my teeth laugh at you.
Bernadette (monologist/wacky old lady):
One of the reasons we don’t know more about Austen is that her sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters, finding them too personal, or feeling they reflected badly on her. How does this make you feel about Cassandra?
When I first learned about Cassandra’s destruction of the letters, I thought Cassandra was a twit and readers had lost something precious. At this point, I rather like the mystery. The subsequent speculation has been amusing.
Do you believe in happy endings? Are they harder to believe in than sad ones? When do you generally read the ending of a book? After the beginning and middle, or before? Defend your choice.
If I must be honest, I do believe in happy endings. I believe just as firmly in really miserable middles though.
It depends on the book. I read the ending early if I’m not enjoying it.
I read the ending early if the story is driving me crazy with fear about the ending and I can’t stand it. Sometimes the story drives me crazy with fear about the ending and I want to prolong the suspense, and won’t let myself check the back of the book. (These last two don’t happen often enough.)
My defense for either path is this. The ending doesn’t matter in genre fiction (the girl gets her sweetheart, the gunslinger gets the cattle rustlers, the monster gets everyone). It’s the journey. In literary fiction, nothing so mundane as a plot would spoil the work. It’s the journey.
Sylvia (mother/recently separated wife):
Is a good book better the second time around? Is the book you love the most also the one you reread the most?
Books can lose some of their shine as my mood changes. Some of the books I loved as a kid and teenager – ugh. But the second time around is often better than the first. There is more time to linger.
I have this bad habit of playing my songs and movies and reading my favorite books and poems incessantly and then not at all for years. I like making them part of myself that way.
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- The Jane Austen Book Club (comicsworthreading.com)