Tag Archives: first impressions

2019 Reading Challenge: Jane Austen Related

You’ve all been lovely about my inundation of book-related posts but I am going to put you through one more: the best and worst Jane Austen related books of 2019. Because here is a fact: if there is one saturated genre, it is the spin-offs, reimaginings, and retellings of Jane Austen’s works. And I read a lot of them this past year. So here are a few of my favorite and least favorites from the past year that maybe did not make 5 stars, but proved memorable. 

Listed from best to worst: 

  1. Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace (a surprisingly delightful P&P retelling starring dragons!)
  2. Longbourn: Dragon Entail by Maria Grace (sequel to Pemberley) 
  3. Netherfield: Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace (final book in the trilogy) 
  4. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (P&P with a Muslim twist. Keep your eye out for a longer blog post contrasting this one with Unmarriageable and Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors)
  5. Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (P&P in Pakistan)
  6. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale (sequel to Austenland and better than the original but not as good as the movie)
  7. The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan (good beginner read but gives advice like the author is Caroline Bingley which is weird.)
  8. All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith (an interesting premise–American professor leading Austen book-clubs in South America–but execution fell flat) 
  9. Mansfield Park Revisited by Joan Aiken (basically Mansfield Park 2.0 but with a gutsier heroine)
  10. An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan (P&P from Darcy’s POV)
  11. First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice by Alexa Adams (imagine Darcy and Elizabeth did not take an instant dislike to one another. What would happen?! With this plot, nothing interesting.) 
  12. Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd (took forever to get murdering!) 
  13. A Weekend With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly (hated it)
  14. Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh and others (4 short stories–1 decent, the others trash)
  15. The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn (see my 1 star posts)
  16. Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos (so bad I did not finish)

The Overabundant Emotions of Orientation

What a week it has been! 

Orientations are always a little awkward. New school, new place, new people. I find it extremely stressful. As a rule, I like people. However, the balancing act of making a good first impression (over and over and over again), while scouting potential friends and study buddies, while also attempting to find the bathroom is a little bit too much for me. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted and frustrated and convinced everything went horrendously wrong. Then I wake up the next morning and discover that the world has not, in fact, ended and that I’m energized and ready to try again. After all, it has only been 24 hours. New friends, here I come. 

But it is hard to make friends. First strangers must become acquaintances, and then acquaintances must be developed and nurtured into friends. This can take time. I want immediacy. Frustration creeps in. I start to convince myself that I am not going to make any friends, that I’m isolated…and then I remember. I only met these people 48 hours ago. I need to give it time. 

But you see, it doesn’t feel like 48 hours. It feels like a lifetime. By the end of the day I’m exhausted. I don’t want to attend the optional, evening events my classmates are attending. I don’t want to join them as they go from bar to bar. Their idea of a good time is not my idea of a good time. I start worrying that they will all bond without me but I’m just Too. Dang. Tired. to care. I need alone time to put things back into perspective. It has only been 72 hours. I have 3 years to make friends. 

And so I stress myself out. I worry that I should be more social and then I worry because I don’t want to be social. I’m tired of small talk but I want what small talk can eventually brings…deep conversations. 

How to describe orientation? Bewildering and isolating. And yet…there are those moments that make it worth it. Like exploring the library. I’m so excited about the law library. I could (and probably will!) spend hours down there. There are so many books with dry sounding titles that make my mouth water. I’m so eager to dig into legal theory and jurisprudence that it will be a struggle to prioritize my actual studies of contracts and civil procedures.  I’m not worried though. Those things fascinate me too. I’m going to take advantage of this legal education. 

The law librarians also make orientation better. They are wonderful. So are the professors I’ve met. I can’t wait for them to start keeping office hours so I can drop by and talk. It is hard to stay discouraged when I feel so confident about what I’m doing. The law is definitely the subject for me! The more I hear, the more encouraged I am. I am more and more convinced that this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. 

Friends will come. When not overtired, I’m confident in this too. It will just take time. After all, I have only known them for 4 days.

That is my week in a nutshell. Don’t worry, I’m not nearly as emotionally unstable as I sound! I’m just impatient (and prone to dramatics.) Classes start Wednesday and they are going to be awesome. Blogging is very cathartic. I remember why I used to do this every day. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more consistently!