That’s right – it’s time for another blogging challenge!
January 28th 2013 marks 200 years since the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, many people’s favourite Austen novel and the one she herself referred to as her “own darling child”. To mark the occasion, the Jane Austen blog Austenprose has launched The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 and I hereby announce my participation.
The aim is to celebrate Pride and Prejudice and the many adaptations, tributes and re-imaginings it has spawned by committing to read/watch/use, and then review, as many of them as possible throughout this year. There are three levels of participation: “neophyte” (1-4 selections), “disciple” (5-8) or “aficionada” (9-12). Naturellement I am plumping for the biggest challenge and aim to post one review of a P&P-based offering each month during 2013.
One of the greatest challenges for me is to choose my 12 selections. Having taken part in a previous Austen-themed challenge in 2010 I have previously read and reviewed several books linked to Pride and Prejudice. I can’t re-post those reviews as the activity has to be from 2013, and it would be rather lazy of me (not to mention tedious for you) to re-read and re-review the same items. I shall, therefore, not be reviewing the following (which you can click on if you care to read my review from 2010):
Prawn and Prejudice @ Salcombe by Belinda Roberts (now republished as Mr Darcy goes overboard)
I’m delighted to be able to include Mr Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange – I have read it already but my so-called review of it was, quite frankly, rubbish and amounts to two lines or so in the middle of a post on another Austen Heroes Diary. So I’ll be including it this time, along with some non-book media items and some other books. My selection criteria for the books were not deeply exacting – I had no idea which of the multitudinous spin-offs to choose, so I visited a review page provided by the Republic of Pemberley and chose three titles which seemed almost universally liked by those who had submitted a review. I also chose a fourth title because it was free on Kindle – this could prove to be awful and provide some balance with the more approved stories!
The projected list currently stands thus (alongside I have given the way in which it relates to the events of P&P and my reasons for choosing it):
January: Mr Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange [prequel + alternative concurrent p.o.v; already own it]
February: Pride and Prejudice BBC adaptation, 1995 [TV adaptation; already own it but haven’t watched it since I bought it!]
March: Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliott [sequel; free on Kindle]
April: Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer [alternative concurrent p.o.v.; rated highly on Republic of Pemberley]
May: Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange [prequel; previously impressed with Grange’s Diaries and thought it would be interesting to look at a villain for a change!]
June: Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe [sequel with small overlap; rated highly on Republic of Pemberley and to parallel consideration of Wickham!]
July: Lions and Liquorice by Kate Fenton [modern-day re-imagining; rated highly on Republic of Pemberley]
August: Happily Ever After by Susannah Fullerton [non-fiction examination of Pride & Prejudice; new for this year]*
September: Lady Catherine’s Necklace by Joan Aiken [sequel; not very highly rated in reviews but I loved Joan Aiken as a child so I’m intrigued!]
October: Love, Lies and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton [modern-day re-imagining for the teen market; I’ve read & loved three of Rushton’s Austen updates already…]
November: Celebrating Pride and Prejudice by Hazel Jones and Maggie Lane [non-fiction celebration of the novel; new for this year]
December: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries by Hank Green and Bernie Su [modern-day re-imagining broadcast in episodes online]
UPDATE (June 2013): My May/June review was eventually of Shannon Hale’s Austenland and ITV’s 2008 series Lost in Austen, neither of which appeared in the original list but just presented themselves at an opportune moment!
UPDATE (October 2013): My October review was eventually of the BBC daytime soap Doctors which had a short Austen-inspired “season” over 6 or 7 days
UPDATE (November 2013): My November review was eventually of Longbourn by Jo Baker, as an audiobook read by Emma Fielding
UPDATE (December 2013): My December review was eventually of the BBC adaptation of PD James’ novel Death Comes To Pemberley .
This list is subject to change, however – I don’t currently own many of the books, so my reading of them will depend on my financial situation or how easily I can access them through the library, etc. I might also switch the order around depending on when I’m able to come by certain titles. In particular, the review of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will come once the series has ended, or in December, which ever occurs sooner (! – I know I have already shared some of my thoughts on it but it seems to be spreading over the internet more than I’d thought possible and I’m fairly confident it will end this year, leaving me with plenty more to say for a review!). I hope the list will present enough variety, as well as opportunity to compare and contrast within the various categories.
My reviews will typically come at the end of the month, especially this month, as I’m in the middle of Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise for book group and can’t really stop to re-read Darcy’s Diary just at the moment.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my thoughts and responses as the year progresses, as well as any other ways in which I find to mark the bicentenary. Will you be participating in this or any other commemorative events? Please share them with me and let me know how they go!
*I’m still unclear about whether this book is the same as Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece by the same author. It seems odd that she might publish two books on very much the same subject at the same time!
Having remained below my target pre-Christmas weight for the whole of the Christmas period!
A wonderful day’s singing at the Sage Gateshead last weekend.
Lovely new books to read.
A great night out last night to see Les Miserables at the cinema (more on that soon).
A clean and tidy kitchen.
Settling quickly back into our routine, with some small amendments.