Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
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Classic Review: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey 
by Jane Austen

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Catherine Morland is on vacation in Bath with family friends, where she is befriended by the scheming Isabella Thorpe. At her very first dance, Catherine falls in love with the charming Henry Tilney and is invited to visit Northanger Abbey to keep his sister company. Catherine’s wild imagination paints the Abbey as a Gothic melodrama waiting to happen, and she sees mystery and murder in every innocent corner.

Rereading this book for the third time, I enjoyed it so much more than the first two readings; probably because I’m older and more sensitive to the wisdom and humor in Austen’s writing.

When I first read Northanger, I remember being so frustrated with Catherine Morland’s character, because she can’t see through the social facade of people like Isabella Thorpe. Of course, Catherine doesn’t have the experience yet to be able to judge people’s character very well. She assumes that other people think and feel just like herself, and she gives them the benefit of the doubt.

But now I recognize that those aspects of Catherine’s character really frustrated me, because I AM like Catherine in many ways. Imaginative, sensitive, trusting, gullible, naive, and prone to flights of fancy instead of being rooted in reality. Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Love and Freindship

Love and Friendship and Other Early Works by Jane Austen
Love and Freindship, and Other Early Works 
by Jane Austen

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This hilarious collection of Jane Austen’s early attempts at writing show how witty and sharp she could be even at a young age. It’s such a pity that all the short stories here are unfinished.
I was laughing and chuckling at every page, because of the sketches of ridiculous characters in awkward situations.
“Love and Friendship” follows the life of Laura through her love-at-first-sight encounter with a handsome stranger, her ill-advised marriage, and how she was thrown upon the kindness of friends for financial support. It’s full of fainting women, comical misunderstandings, and a rich old grandfather who shows up at the most convenient times. Full of true Austenian satire. Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: Sense and Sensibility

Manga Classics: Sense and Sensibility
Manga Classics: Sense and Sensibility by Stacy King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this manga adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic story! The manga follows the original story pretty closely, and the artwork is beautiful.

There’s a lot of crying in this book! I mean, I suppose there’s a lot of crying in the original story too, but seeing almost all the characters constantly collapsing into violent tears, hysterics, and/or fits of depression was over-the-top dramatic. Then again, Marianne Dashwood is the epitome of drama! haha!

The artwork is really lovely, and I liked seeing all the pretty costumes of the ladies. The villains and nasty people, like Lucy Steele, have ugly grotesque expressions sometimes that just make you hate them. I love the way the artwork really enhances the characters! Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: Emma

Manga Classics: Emma
Manga Classics: Emma by Stacy King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love that this manga adaptation of one of my favorite classics kept somewhat closely to the original story, even using some of the original dialogue. Jane Austen is one of my favorite classic authors, and “Emma” is my favorite of all her books, so I was really excited to read this one!

The artwork is really lovely and the characters are all so distinct. I love their costumes and the pretty scenery. Sometimes I think the drama goes a little bit overboard though, as though the characters are shouting at each other with wild expressions, or looking dramatically shocked and amazed with wide eyes and open mouths. It just ends up looking a little silly! But most of the time, the characters expressions match the dialogue in a more demure and subtle way.

I enjoyed this manga so much, and it’s a great way to revisit one of my favorite stories! Can’t wait to read more Manga Classics!

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts and are not influenced by anyone.

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Review: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice

Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun little adaptation of P&P into manga form, but it’s a little too cutesy and “teen drama” for me. There are roses and hearts everywhere, and the character’s facial expressions and actions are too overly dramatic.

I mean, if someone is going to collapse into a chair from illness, is it really necessary for them to pitch headlong to the floor in a flurry of curly hair and roses, and with their cloak fluttering behind them? haha! They couldn’t just sit down in a chair and faint like a normal person? Continue reading