Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (a non-book review)


I want to start this 'review' by saying a couple of things. First of all, this is without a doubt one of my all time favourite books. Second of all, I think that as far as reviewing it goes, there is absolutely nothing of value that I can contribute, so I am not going to write a book review of it.

"Then what am I reading?", I hear you asking. Well, within a couple of days I listened to Pride and Prejudice on audiobook and saw it reviewed on my favourite book club television show, the ABC First Tuesday of the Month Book Club. If you like to listen to people talk about books, then I highly recommend that you click on that click, there are hours of entertainment to be had.

Anyway, what I wanted to do was have a quick chat about how listening to the audiobook was different to reading the book, and to have a quick chat about some of the comments made on the book club show.

Pride and Prejudice on Audiobook

Now, I have read Pride and Prejudice many many times, so I didn't think that anything about that book could come as a surprise to me. Listening to it as an audiobook though did bring something new to me - just how funny this book is.

Now I know, it's funny. But when I read this book, I am usually more focused on Austen's beautiful language or the characterisation than the comedy.

As an audiobook though the story became so much funnier. Almost every line in the book is a one-liner. Hilarious stuff. And it is Austen's language that makes it so funny. These days comedy tends to be a little 'slap-stick' or 'obvious'. Austen's humour is so dry and sarcastic. I laughed the whole way through the audio book.

Austen's language

Lionel Shriver was on the panel of the ABC First Tuesday Book Club, along with Colm Toibin who actually chose the book for the Book Club. I was surprised that what she didn't like about the book was the language. She said that she felt like she was waiting for Austen to get to the point, and that she felt at a distance from the characters. I thought it was interesting to hear her perspective because it is the language and the detail and the lengthy discussion and consideration of everything that attracts me to the story. Similarly, I feel very close to the characters when I am reading the story. I think that part of the point of Austen's stories is the detailed consideration of people's motivations and feelings.

I also wanted to add that I loved listening to Colm Toibin discuss the book. It was so endearing.

Not much of a review I know, but sometimes some books just result in something a little bit different!

Summary

What kind of read is this?
It's a book with beautiful language and beautiful characters, a wonderful read.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes, with all my heart.

Do I recommend you buy this book?
This is definitely one for the book shelf.


Star Rating

8 / 8

One of the best books I have ever read. Everyone should read it - it is totally amazing. I am in love.


19 comments

  1. Well, this is good to hear. I have never read any Austen and was thinking of starting Pride and Prejudice tonight. I think you just solidified that decision.

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  2. I always love hearing what others think of books I love. :-)

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  3. Rachel - start it start it start it. Can't wait to see what you think.

    Kah Woei - I agree. There's not a lot of things I love more than reading a review of a book that I love, I like to get other people's opinions, even if they are different.

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  4. Listening to a book does change the experience.

    I just listened to a book that had a lot of French names and places in it. At first, it was a little off putting since I don't speak French but can usually figure it out when I read it on paper. (It also didn't help that the narrator tended to drop her voice level when speaking French)

    After about the 3rd CD, I got used to it. French is a really beautiful language and I found myself repeating it out loud.Hearing the words eventually added to the experience of the book. If I had just been reading it, I probably would have just jumped over the terms, not really knowing what they meant or how to say them.

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  5. I read (or perhaps was forced to read P&P in high school. Just thinking about this book gives me a migraine.

    I absolutely hated and resented every moment I had to spend reading it. I could not relate to the language or the characters - and I feel I would probably relate even less to them now.

    To make matters worse, it's become a cultural phenomenon - and the contemporary meanings associated with it (social status amongst Gen-x women, elitism and 'perfectionism'- i.e. the Mr Darcy syndrome) are not things that I feel are positive or constructive.

    On audiobooks: I always count audiobooks as books I've 'read'.

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  6. I understand what you mean in your opening sentences-sometimes I feel foolish posting on a great classic-all you can do is give your reaction to it-

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  7. LOvely, interesting post - thank you for sharing. I know what you mean about the beauty of the language and the humour - somehow I have always treated them separately as well - probably only appreciating the humour on later read throughs.

    It was a pleasure to read your thoughts and happy Monday!

    Hannah

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  8. I really enjoyed watching the First Tuesday Book Clubbers discuss P & P. Wasn't Colm Toibin wonderful? I haven't read any of his books but he spoke so eloquently about Pride & Prejudice that I want to read him now. I watch this show whenever it is on. The previous one on best sellers was a cracker too, with guests Lee Child, Bryce Courtney, Matthew Reilly and Di Morrissey.

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  9. I'm very glad to have found your blog Becky :) I came here via Joanne's Booklover blog.

    I am very fond of P&P and I've read it three times since I was sixteen, when the mini-series first came out - I may have been reading simultaneously - but I've never formally studied it. I had a book club meeting on this just a few months ago and it was interesting how much the three men didn't like the book (and one woman).

    One of my problems with the book is how isolated it reads. The world in P&P is untouched by the real world, the world of war and poverty and rising industrialism. It's quite fascinating. On the other hand, it allows the story to have the kind of focus on what it IS about that it wouldn't otherwise have. So it's not all that much of a negative criticism!

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  10. I love P & P. I love The First Tuesday book club. I love Lionel Shriver. But I must disagree with her.

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  11. What I love about this is that I have now discovered other people who didn't enjoy P & P. I honestly had never met anyone who didn't enjoy it, and it is nice to know there are people with different reactions to it.

    Amanda - I think you're right about the Mr Perfect syndrome, and bokos like P & P can feed into it (although I think the min-series is probably more guilty than the book), but I can't help but think if people are silly enough to look for a Mr Perfect, then I have no pity :-)

    Mel and Rachel - I am glad I am not te only person who loves the First Tuesday Book Club. Although obviously more people than me must watch it or it wouldn't be on :-) I haven't read Colm Toibin or Lionel Shriver before, but I definitely will now.

    Mel - I did watch the episode about literary v popular fiction. I have to say that I was very unimpressed with their arguments. Popular fiction has a place, and I certainly read some, but they were all so arrogant about it! It made me so cranky watching them blow their own horns.

    Shannon - hi and I am glad that you like Page Turners. I have never studied P & P although I would love to. I studied Emma for the HSC and it was amazing to study.

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  12. I really enjoy listening to audio books, but it is very definitely a different experience to actually reading a book.

    Last year I lent a friend of mine the audio book of Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. When I read it I don't think I noticed the swearing or the sex, but as I was listening to it again I was horrified in case my friend was offended.

    As to Austen, I've never read any. Earlier this year I borrowed one from the library but had to return it unread. Part of the issue for me is that I feel as though I know Jane Austen's books without having actually read them if you know what I mean.

    Another fan of the First Tuesday Book Club here too.

    Mel, I hadn't had any interest in reading Lee Child before I saw him on that show with Bryce Courtney et al.

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  13. Hi Marg,

    I read my first Lee Child this year.
    I was expecting simplistic prose and action-packed plot in favour of any realistic characterisation. I was really surprised. The book was fantastic and satisfied my desire for believable characters AND a racy plot.

    I nearly bought a couple more yesterday, although I may save them for my reactivated Library Loot and borrow them from the Library.

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  14. Thanks for your post. I will have to get P & P discs. Sometimes, I do both at the same time, read it at home and then listen to and from work. It's a totally different experience hearing their voices when I read.

    Hope you are doing better after the surgery.

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  15. Weirdly enough, I'm listening to the this book an audio right now. It is my first experience with Austen EVER! (Can you believe it?) I'm liking it well enough but I got a "free" version and a different person reads each chapter so it is a bit of an adjustment over and over again to each reader's voice and inflections. I've found that the quality of the reader matters a lot! I may end up just reading it in print!

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  16. I didn't really like P&P. I found all the characters (other than Elizabeth & Mr D) to be two-dimensional.

    But I agree with you - the book was pretty funny. Mr Collins & Mr Bennett were absolutely hilarious, although Austen's dry wit (which I got pretty excited about from reading the first page) was a bit too inconsistent.

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