Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Salon 01 February 2009: Mini-Review and a giveaway

Happy February, Sunday Saloners! Hope everyone has had a great week. I'm just excited because the reviews I set to auto-post while I was at school actually worked! I really liked being able to post that way, because it saves me time during the week. I also liked the doing the mini-reviews rather than full ones. I think I'll start doing mini-reviews for all the books I read, and save full reviews for challenge reviews. Maybe.

Here's a mini-review I didn't get to this week: Austenland, by Shannon Hale
I'm not familiar with Hale's other books (The Princess Academy series and other YA fiction); I picked this up because I lurve Jane Austen and I had read some good reviews of it. Austenland is about a young woman named Jane who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, and with Mr. Darcy specifically. An older relative (great-grandmother, great-aunt, something like that) finds out about this obsession and bequeaths her a trip to a P&P-style amusement park, with costumes, balls, and accents instead of roller coasters.

I think I liked the idea of this book more than the actual execution of it. Who wouldn't want to completely immerse themselves in Austen's world, even for just a few days? It'd be like living in the 1900 House. But, you know, a century earlier. Anyway, I had a few minor quibbles with this book. First of all, why does a woman in her 30s treat her copy of the BBC P&P DVD like porn? There's no need to hide it in a plant - plenty of people read (and watch) Austen and they don't feel ashamed of it. And secondly, I don't think Jane is actually obsessed with Austen. She's obsessed with Darcy, and that's a big difference. That being said, though, this isn't a bad book. It's short and fluffy. There's even a big twist in the end that really surprised me. Darcy fanatics will love it; Austenites will probably deem it "cute" and move along.

Here's the giveaway part. I somehow ended up with two copies. I've loaned one out to friends, and the other I'm going to give to one of you! If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, leave a comment answering the following question: If you could be magically transported into any book in the world (a la Inkheart or Thursday Next), which would it be and why? I'll have a drawing next Sunday and announce the winner then. Good luck!


Chayenne said...

Austenland sounds really interesting, although, I have to admit, I only read Pride & Prejudice late last year. Before that, I knew of the story mainly through the BBC dramatization with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Now that I've read it, though, I am firmly on Team Jane; I can't believe it took me so long to pick it up!

As to what literary universe I would like to inhabit -- the first one that comes to mind is the world contained in The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper, as they were my favorite books as a child and the first series of books that made me want to encourage my younger siblings to read, too. :]

Beth F said...

I read Austenland in fall 2008. I thought it was a fun, if predictable, book. A good light read with lots of Austen references.

liane66 said...

Little women -- to be part of the March family -- would be great. I guess b/c its a favorite book from growing up.

Thanks for the giveaway!


jessi said...

Chayenne - I've only read the first book in The Dark is Rising sequence, but I definitely want to read the others. You should read Emma! It's my other favorite Austen novel (all of hers are good, though).

Beth - It's definitely a fun read, and quick, too - once I started, I read it all through in one sitting.

liane66 - Being a March would definitely be fun! I always liked Jo. :)

Trapunto said...

I found your blog through Fyrefly's. I listened to this recently, and had much the same impression as to execution. I'd have liked this idea to go into a less fluffy book. I wish Karen Joy Fowler had written it! And now she can't--shoot! Though I'll admit I'd have felt a bit more charitable if I hadn't been coping with the CD version's overdone, not-quite-on-target accents. But it was (almost) all worth it just for the end twist. Is it a spoiler to say here that I think a man in full Regency dress boarding a plane in pursuit of his love is a masterful ending?