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This year, I haven't read nearly as many children's and YA books as usual, on account of the Jane Project.


An asterisk means I own it, btw.

From Jane
The six completed novels, all of which I've read at least once this year:
*Emma
*Mansfield Park
*Northanger Abbey
*Persuasion
*Pride & Prejudice
*Sense & Sensibility

I've also read 2/3 of the *Juvenilia, more than 1/2 of her letters, and *A History of England. Still to go: Lady Susan, Kitty/Catharine, or the Bower, Sanditon, The Watsons, and the remaining Juvenilia and letters.

About Jane
*Jane Austen by Carol Shields
*Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life by David Nokes
Jane Austen: Her Life by Park Honan
*Jane Austen: A Biography by Elizabeth Jenkins
*Jane Austen and Her Times by G.E. Mitton
Jane Austen the Woman: Some Biographical Insights by George Holbert Tucker
*Memoir of Jane Austen & Other Family Records by James Edward Austen-Leigh
Life of Jane Austen by John Halperin
A Portrait of Jane Austen by David Cecil
*Jane Austen: A Family Record, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye
*Jane Austen: Her Homes and Her Friends by Constance Hill
*Becoming Jane Austen by John Spence
*Jane Austen for Dummies by Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray
*A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family 1700-2000, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye
*Jane Austen's 'Outlandish Cousin': The Life and Letters of Eliza de Feuillide, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye
*Jane Austen's England by Maggie Lane
Jane Austen's Town and Country Style by Susan Watkins et al.
*Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters: A Family Record by Wm. Austen-Leigh et al.
*Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, ed. by Edward Copeland
*Jane Austen in Context by Janet Todd
Jane Austen: Real and Imagined Worlds by by Oliver MacDonagh
*Jane Austen and the Theatre by Penny Gay
*The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World by Maggie Sullivan
*Jane Austen: The Real World of the Novels by Deirdre Le Faye
*The Jane Austen Miscellany by Lesley Bolton
Jane Austen: Bicentenary Essays, ed. by John Halperin
England's Jane: the Story of Jane Austen by Juliane Locke
Readings on Jane Austen ed. by Clarice Swisher
*The Jane Austen Companion, ed. by J. David Grey
Jane Austen in a Social Context, ed. by David Monaghan
Bits of Ivory: Narrative Techniques in Jane Austen's Fiction by Lloyd W. Brown
Only a Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen by Jane Aiken Hodge
The Improvement of the Estate: a study of Jane Austen's novels by Alistair M. Duckworth
Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage by B.C. Southam
Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. by Ian P. Watt
*Jane Austen: A Critical Bibliography by Robert William Chapman
The Austen Papers, 1704-1856
*Articles from Persuasions, the publication of the Jane Austen Society of North America

About the Times
George Washington's False Teeth: an unconventional guide to the eighteenth century, by Robert Darnton
*What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist (etc.), by Daniel Pool
Dr. Johnson's London: coffee houses and climbing boys, etc. by Liza Picard
Introducing the Enlightenment by Lloyd Spencer
English Society in the 18th Century by Roy Porter

Still in progress:
*Madwoman in the Attic:the woman writer and the 19th-century literary imagination by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar
*Poems by William Cowper

On deck now:
Imagining characters: conversations about women writers, by A.S. Byatt
*A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
*The Mystery of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Also about Jane Austen, her life, family, location and her times in general: literally hundreds of web articles, ranging from stuff on personal webpages to stuff on blogs to stuff on the various Jane Austen Society webpages to governmental sites to journal articles (downloaded via my library's web access).

While I may not have read tons of them this year, the books that I have read have been outstanding. Here are some of my favorite quotes this year, but "Great mother of Mozart,"* where to start?

*"Great mother of Mozart" is from Linda Urban's wonderful debut, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, which is as good a place to start as any. Here's a bit of a phone conversation between the main character, Zoe Elias, and her friend Wheeler:

I tell him about Mona and how when she plays you feel like your whole body is filled up with music——like singing.
And he says, "You play like that."
"What?" I say.
"You play like that. At school, when you played 'Green Acres.' And when you think nobody is paying attention. You play like that."
"I do?"
"That's why me and your dad are always singing in the kitchen."
They sing in the kitchen?
"You can't hear us because you're singing, too," he says.
"You can hear me singing?"
"Of course we can hear you, Goober," he says. "Someday we're all going to have to learn the words."
I laugh again.
Wheeler laughs, too.
And Wheeler's laugh sounds like singing.


From "Falling in Love with America", in Your Own, Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill

She is grand. She is
literature. She is beauty.
She masks a vast brain

under her blondness,
but when she reads her poems,
her great sheaf of verse,

I see genius.


From Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, which still makes me cry on repeat readings:

"How many screw-ups do you get before you're out?"
He stroked his mustache. The walk-in hummed behind us. "Good question. I'm . . . let's see . . . forty-six. I guarantee you that I've screwed up more than you have, and I'm still in the game."

From Austenland by Shannon Hale, discussing the main character's obsession with the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice:

. . .it wasn't until the BBC put a face on the story that those gentlement in tight breeches had steeped out of her reader's imagination and into her nonfiction hopes. Stripped of Austen's funny, insightful, biting narrator, the movie became a pure romance. And Pride and Prejudice was the most stunning, bite-your-hand romance ever, the kind that stared straight into Jane's soul and made her shudder.

From Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson:
"Never underestimate dainty little ladies."

Two from the almost-end of Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend by Carrie Jones:
"You would have hurt me more if you kept pretending to be who I wanted you to be."
"I don't need you to be there for me, Dylan," I say. "I just need you to be there for you."

From An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, a bit about story that makes me cry every damn time I read it:

And he found himself thinking that maybe stories don't just make us matter to each other— maybe they're also the only way to the infinite mattering he'd been after for so long.
  And Colin thought: Because like say I tell someone about my feral hog hunt. Even if it's a dumb story, telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me. An infinitesimal change. And that infinitesimal change ripples outward——ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten, but the stories will last. And so we all matter——maybe less than a lot, but always more than none.


And from Looking for Alaska, also by John Green:

"He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth."
And that, my friends, is why I adore John Green's writing.

From Possession by A.S. Byatt:

"Independent women must expect more of themselves, since neither men nor other more conventionally domesticated women will hope for anything, or expect any result other than utter failure."

From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling:

That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemnort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.

More books, of course

In addition to the ones I've quoted from here, I've read extensively from A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf, On Poetry and Poets by T.S. Eliot, A Family of Poems, edited by Caroline Kennedy, The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost, ed. by Harold Bloom; The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson; at least 5 books of poetry by Billy Collins, two by Anne Compton and one by Ted Kooser; The Selected Poems of Czeslaw Milosz; The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry, and more.

So today, I'll leave you with the last bit of "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, which inspired the title of Fry's novel:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.






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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
tamarak
Dec. 30th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Good stuff. I can't wait to one day skim-quote something of YOURS!!!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hee.
seaheidi
Dec. 30th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
thanks for the powerful quotes, kelly--and for including BOTH of john green's books (and what great chill-inducing lines you found!) have a wonderful new year.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
You are most welcome. Happy new year to you and your expanding belly family, too!
seaheidi
Dec. 31st, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
=)
lurban
Dec. 30th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
That is a whole heck of a lot of Jane reading!

The John Green quotes are great and I love the Sara Zarr. What company to be in!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 30th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
It really and truly is a lot of Jane reading. It was ridiculous, putting the list together. And I believe I missed some stuff, too.

And you totally belong in their company, apart from you being middle grade and them being YA (so far).
writerjenn
Dec. 31st, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
That John Green quote stuck out at me too when I read the book.
Eerily enough, I had come to the same conclusion independently the week before I read it. I had even made a note in my blogging notebook to write something along those lines. Then I read Green and thought, "Well, I don't need to write about that idea, he's already captured it perfectly." Here's to the ripple effect we all have on each other.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
I presume you mean the first quote, from Looking for Alaska. It's so totally lovely, isn't it?
writerjenn
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Ooh, sorry for not specifying. Naturally Mr. Green got double-skimmed!
It was the first quote, from A of K. It's comforting to think that even if one's writing isn't still being read, say, 200 years from now, it can still have an effect on the writing that is done now and in the next generation, which will in turn influence writing 200 years down the road . . . so there is an indirect influence . . . "that infinitesimal change ripples outward——ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten, but the stories will last."
fabulousfrock
Dec. 31st, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
Wow, that is truly a stunning amount of Jane reading! And I love the quotes. I wish I was better at marking good lines from the books I've read; this post was so enjoyable to read.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
I wish I were better at marking the quotes, too, because instead I had to reread vast portions of the books to find them. Duh.
liz_scanlon
Dec. 31st, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)
maybe stories ... (are)... the only way to the infinite mattering


Sigh
Sigh
Sigh
kellyrfineman
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Ginormous writer crush, yes?
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
There were lots of other books I read, too, but I didn't really remember that until much later. Silly me. Like all the Susan Cooper books in The Dark is Rising sequence, which I'm certain had quotes I love. And somewhat slighter books like Tom Trueheart that didn't lend themselves to quotes. And really inspiring books like Hugo Cabret, too, which didn't lend itself to a great quote, but if I could've bottled the feeling from looking at/reading it, I would have. So I know for a fact that I read about 20 books this year, which is better than I at first thought, but not nearly enough.
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
On the Jane list or on the regular list?

Oh. And you'll note I left off lots of poetry books for kids. I didn't want to talk about my reading at this precise juncture, and I'm sure you know why. But come next week, I'll be able to discuss more fully.
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Jan. 1st, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
I believe we're not supposed to talk about the process or the discussions, so the WHYS of them being on the shortlist might be out, but the WHY of your love for a particular book is a-okay. My understanding, anyhow.

Wait 'til you see the lists . . .
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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