Good news for those craving a sweet, summery Jane Austen binge (and for those who just want a good reading challenge), Jane Austen July is arriving in just a few weeks. For those who aren’t familiar with this readathon, every year three YouTube channels (Books and Things, Blatantly Bookish, and Spinster’s Library) collaborate together to host a month long readathon completely focused on Jane Austen. This readathon involves 7 challenges and two read-alongs that are completely optional, while the only requirement is to simply read something by Jane Austen.
This week we will be providing all of the information you need to join including links to the announcement videos, a list of the challenges, and information on Jane Austen’s six main novels. For those looking for a fun summer challenge, this could be the one for you!
Announcement Video Links:
Books and Things: https://youtu.be/lrXzP1q7agI
Blatantly Bookish: https://youtu.be/ScOkULZa3vw
Spinster’s Library: https://youtu.be/dpOIWEPgjpY
1. Read one of Jane Austen’s six main novels.
2. Read something by jane Austen that is not one of her six main novels.
3. Read a non-fiction work about Jane Austen or her time.
4. Read a retelling of a Jane Austen book.
5. Read a book by a contemporary of Jane Austen
6. Watch a direct screen adaptation of a Jane Austen book.
7. Watch a modern screen adaptation/retelling of a Jane Austen book.
Mansfield Park – Scheduled for July 1st to the 21st
Persuasion – Scheduled for July 22nd to the 31st
Descriptions of Jane Austen’s Six Main Novels:
Emma – Some may have heard of this recently due to the wonderful adaptation being released in early 2020. This is one of Jane Austen’s more comedic novels following the young, beautiful, and wealthy Emma Woodhouse who, while not wanting to get married herself, decides to play matchmaker with her friends. Unfortunately, her vanity and self-assurance are quickly put to the test. The humor and character arcs in this novel make it a particularly attractive summer read.
Mansfield Park – One of Jane Austen’s lesser-known novels, this story follows the introverted Fanny Price who is raised by her wealthy, self-righteous, and hypocritical aunt and uncle. The only person she really trusts is her cousin Edmund, a man who provides friendship she otherwise sorely lacks. When the dynamic and attractive Crawfords come to town, however, Fanny’s world may never be the same. Though Fanny’s quiet, introspective nature makes this a much slower read, it is well worth the time for those open to it.
Northanger Abbey – Though this was one of her last published novels, it was the first she ever wrote. Fans of classic, gothic fiction will likely enjoy this short satire of the genre in which we follow Catherine Morland as she makes friends with the fascinating Tilney family and is invited to their family home. When she gets there, however, she finds that the large, dark building could provide the perfect setting for a sensational mystery. This is a fun, short read that pokes fun at lovers of horror-filled and thrilling tales in a sweet and humorous way.
Persuasion – Jane Austen’s last completed novel, this book follows Anne Eliot who falls in love with a young Navy officer. Her family, however, disapproves of this match as he is poor and below Anne’s social class. As such, they persuade her against accepting him in marriage. Several years later, Anne finds herself to be nearly a spinster (for the time) and crosses paths once again with the charming Captain Wentworth who has since made his fortune. This provides a great read for lovers of second chance romance. It is also widely considered Jane Austen’s most serious and mature novel.
Pride and Prejudice – This is by far Jane Austen’s most popular novel in the 21st century. This novel follows Elizabeth Bennett and her four sisters as their mother works tirelessly to marry them off before their father passes and they lose their home. Within their country town, however, the options are pretty limited. Fortunately, the house at Netherfield has been let to a wealthy, single man by the name of Mr. Bingley. And he has a friend: Mr. Darcy. Unfortunately for Mrs. Bennett, while Jane (the eldest) finds Mr. Bingley appealing, Lizzie can’t stand Mr. Darcy’s pride. For now. With some of Jane Austen’s most iconic characters, this book is sure to make you smile.
Sense and Sensibility – While most of Jane Austen’s novels tend to focus on a single main lead, this book equally follows two sisters: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. After the death of their father, the house and the majority of the inheritance falls to their half-brother John and his wife. Despite their father’s dying wish, the couple decides to provide nothing for his stepmother and half-sisters, leaving them to abandon their home and move into a small cottage provided by a distant family member. Now their best hope is for the girls to make a strong match. But with Marianne’s improper melodramatic nature and Elinor’s quiet introspectiveness, will they be able to find success? Though less developed than some of her other books (as it was her first published novel), this story provides a great contrast between two sisters with very different personalities who are still devoted and loyal to each other.