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October 18, 2011

Dear Mr. Darcy, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Maybe I’m taking a step in the opposite direction from the trajectory of current technology, but my new favorite thing is the audio book. Jacob won’t yet sit still for me to read a story to him—not even a board book—and when I try to read while he’s playing, he literally takes the story into his own hands.

Enter: the audio book.

A while back I used an audio book to try to teach Jacob some naptime/bedtime cues. A nap-solutions book I’d read suggested audio books can do the same work as lullabies, but could provide something more interesting for parents. Unfortunately, Jacob couldn’t sleep with the audio book on; he kept looking around the room, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from.

Perhaps he’s a little more oblivious now, or maybe he’s just okay with a voice coming from a box. He still talks and plays and makes noise, but I think he must be listening at least a little because he is generally calmer when the nice lady’s voice tells him stories.

Either way, his current disposition means I am at liberty to indulge my newfound obsession with Jane Austen. Oh. My. Goodness.  Why did it take me twenty-something years to discover the wit, the romance, and the charmingly paradoxical world of Regency England? Although I enjoyed Emma in college, I must have read it too quickly. Actually I know I did. I read it in, like, two days. I remember finishing it in the hallway of my suite at three a.m. and then writing a reflection paper. So not the way to really appreciate it!

This time I started with Pride and Prejudice, and I am totally hooked. Apart from making a good blog post title, Mr. Darcy is a great love interest, but I found I loved the ridiculously shallow and insipid characters more. Mr. Collins! Mrs. Bennett! Lydia! Wickham! So. Good.

I am absolutely in love with the writing, the language, the pacing—everything.

The only problem is that when you get as engrossed as I’ve been, it’s tough to transition back to life in the twenty-first century. If Jacob ends up with a British accent, using words like “felicity,” and wondering how many pounds per annum he’ll have in inheritance, at least we’ll all know why.

  1. Once you’ve read your way through it, start on the TV adaptions. The Keira Knightley film got a lot of attention a few years ago, but for my money the BBC P&P adaptation is the best ever – Colin Firth as Mr Darcy (sigh). Enjoy

  2. ceciliamaria says:

    Welcome to the World of Austen!! Persuasion is my absolute favorite Austen book; and yes the story includes several pathetically shallow characters. Sense and Sensibility is a good one too. Have you seen the BBC movie of Pride & Prejudice? It’s long but it’s the best movie version of the book.

    • I have seen the BBC P&P and Mary, Kathleen, and I are planning to watch it over the holidays. Perhaps you’ll join us? 🙂

      • ceciliamaria says:

        I’d love to! Let me know!! 🙂

        Have you discovered Elizabeth Gaskell yet? Her stories are a little darker than Austen’s, which is typical of a mid-1800’s writer, but she’s not as dark as the Bronte sisters. Her book, Mary Barton, moved me to tears! And I LOVED North & South. I actually like the love interest in North & South better than Mr. Darcy, and that’s saying something! We should plan on watching the BBC movie of North & South sometime, too! It is one of my favorite movies. And it’s shorter than P&P – only four hours. 🙂

  3. Rebecca says:

    You know I have a cat named Mr. Darcy, right? Welcome to the world of Jane Austen. I suggest Mansfield Park…but the movie. I don’t know about the book. It has one of the best declarations of love I’ve ever heard at the end….

    • What?! That’s awesome. I love cats with fancy names. Someday, I hope to have a cat named . . . Gutenberg. Like the guy who invented the printing press. Because without him, where would we be? Same goes for Mr. Darcy, I guess.

  4. Love this – I’m thinking about how I could put on an audio book like Jane Austen (nothing inappropriate to worry about for little ears!) while my little ones play and I could actually get a bit of literature into my life again! Never thought about incorporating into my parenting days – thanks!

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