"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen read-a-long starts today

Barnes and Noble Classics edition
Two years ago, if anyone had asked me, I would have told them that I had read all of Jane Austen's books. I think I thought that because I was so familiar with the stories because I owned all of the Austen films and mini-series on DVD. I couldn't actually remember reading Emma, Mansfield Park, or Sense and Sensibility but I thought I must have read them because I was such a big fan. Then I accepted a reading challenge over at Roof Beam Reader to read Austen in August (or some such titled challenge) and I decided to reread Emma.  The only thing was, as I started reading it, I realized that I was actually reading it for the first time. As I inched along it became apparent that I needed some incentive to cause me to read Emma faster. At the pace I was going it would take me something like ten years to read the whole book. Ha! Thus the Emma Read-a-long was born. Within six weeks I had finished the book and enjoyed it immensely, I might add. I attacked Sense and Sensibility next using the same read-a-long format and finished it in less than five weeks.

Now, today, begins my last Austen read-a-long with Mansfield Park. Join me. I'd love the company.

Here is the format I will use:

  1. Divide your book into eight sections. Mine is 412 pages long so 1/8th of that is roughly 52 pages. That is my weekly page goal.
  2. Ask yourself, as you read along, what is the main action of the section?
  3. Next, if you are as familiar as I am with the Mansfield Park DVDs, see if you can find something surprising in the section. For me this generally means that there is some action/dialogue/character not included in the movie.
  4. Lastly ask yourself a question about the section. It can be any thought that comes to your mind. For example, perhaps you will wonder why Austen didn't speak up more about the political issues of the day or what treatments for alcoholism existed at that time. You don't have to answer them unless you want to. Just ask and ponder. It makes the reading more active.
  5. I will post a weekly update here at headfullofbooks. If you want to blog about this on your site, but leave me your web address so I can visit your site, too.
And we're off with the first line...
     About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of a handsome house and large income.

The edition I will be reading from:
Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004. Print.

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