28 July 2010

Summer Reading

Ah, the lazy days of summer... No summer would be complete without a book--or many.

Here's what I've been indulging myself with this summer:

Jane Austen, a Life by David Nokes: This was a fascinating book, for it took advantage of some letters and papers more recently discovered. Though I knew how it ended, I still cried.

Jane Austen's Letters collected and edited by R W Chapman (second edition): These letters are amazing. They're biting, funny, sad, intelligent. It makes me long to read all the other letters that had been destroyed all the more.

Behind Closed Doors, At Home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery: Vickery has done it again. Because I had enjoyed reading her earlier book, The Gentleman's Daughter, Woman's Lives in Georgian England, I was excited to read Behind Closed Doors when it was published. It's well worth every penny. This book gives a complete and often stark look at men and women's lives in Georgian England. For anyone who enjoys the period or likes to write about the period, it's a must-have.

Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester: This is an engaging book and very well-written. However, it's a bit light in details, such as management of an estate or servants. For more detailed information on some subjects, it's better to find those books that specialize in them, such as The Complete Servant by Samuel and Sarah Adams, Vickery's books, or period works.

Jane Austen in Context edited by Janet Todd: This book is fascinating. One of my favorite sections dealt with the use of language by Jane Austen's characters; how the language was as much a description of the character as a physical description. An example was how Marianne's language was very much like that of the Romantic authors Jane Austen and Cassandra Austen liked to satirize in their letters, and how Elinor's language was closer to that found in Samuel Johnson's dictionary. Another interesting section dealt with Jane Austen in translation and how, in some countries, her works were so outside the norm for that country's accepted literature, that her works were edited to fit taste of that country--to the point of even leaving off the ending of one of Jane Austen's books entirely.

Thank goodness summer's not over. There's so many more books to read!