Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire fromThe Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
So I went to the library a few days ago and here’s what I got. I wasn’t planning on a theme of books about early 19th century English women authors but sometimes these things just happen!
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne
Biography; 335 pages
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work. Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen’s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Byrne’s portrait-organized thematically and drawn from the most up-to-date scholarship and unexplored sources-explores the lives of Austen’s extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Through their absorbing stories we view Austen on a much wider stage and discover unexpected aspects of her life and character. Byrne transports us to different worlds-the East Indies and revolutionary Paris-and different events-from a high society scandal to a petty case of shoplifting, She follows Austen on her extensive travels, setting her in contexts both global and English, urban and rural, political and historical, social and domestic-wider perspectives of vital and still under-estimated importance to her creative life.
Literary scholarship has revealed that letters and tokens in Austen’s novel’s often signal key turning points in the unfolding narrative. This groundbreaking biography explores Jane’s own story following the same principle. As Byrne reveals, small things in the writer’s world-a scrap of paper, a simple gold chain, an ivory miniature, a bathing machine-hold significance in her emotional and artistic development. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things introduces us to a woman deeply immersed in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in her independence and ambition; to an author who was an astute commentator on human nature and the foibles of her own age. Rich and compelling, it is a fresh, insightful, and often surprising portrait of an artist and a vivid evocation of the complex world that shaped her. (from Goodreads)
So i finished this last night and I loved it! Review coming.
What Matters in Jane Austen? : 20 Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullen
Non-fiction; 352 pages
Which important Austen characters never speak? Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call one another, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? In What Matters in Jane Austen?, John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen’s brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.
In twenty short chapters, each of which explores a question prompted by Austens novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most in her beloved fiction. Readers will discover when Austen’s characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars got good livings; and how wealth was inherited. What Matters in Jane Austen? illuminates the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist. It uses telling passages from Austen’s letters and details from her own life to explain episodes in her novels: readers will find out, for example, what novels she read, how much money she had to live on, and what she saw at the theater.
Written with flair and based on a lifetime’s study, What Matters in Jane Austen? will allow readers to appreciate Jane Austen’s work in greater depth than ever before.
I’m currently reading this book; its interesting but nowhere near as good as A Life in Small Things.
The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family by Juliet Barker
Biography; 1,184 pages
The story of the tragic Brontë family is familiar to everyone: we all know about the half-mad, repressive father, the drunken, drug-addicted wastrel of a brother, wildly romantic Emily, unrequited Anne, and “poor Charlotte.” Or do we? These stereotypes of the popular imagination are precisely that—imaginary—created by amateur biographers like Elizabeth Gaskell who were primarily novelists and were attracted by the tale of an apparently doomed family of genius.
Juliet Barker’s landmark book is the first definitive history of the Brontës. It demolishes the myths, yet provides startling new information that is just as compelling—but true. Based on firsthand research among all the Brontë manuscripts and among contemporary historical documents never before used by Brontë biographers, this book is both scholarly and compulsively readable.
This book is so long there’s no way I’ll be able to finish it in time! It’s a new arrival so I can only check it out for 2 weeks and I can’t renew it 😦 If it’s good I’ll just have to keep going back and checking it out again till I finish it!