Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I'm Reading: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Okay, so it's been a while since I've posted, but I'm getting back into the swing of it! I've got some fun stuff to catch up on blogging about, which I'll get to over the next few weeks. For now, I'm looking for some comfort and familiarity, which means Jane Austen for me!

There has been a lot of sadness lately in the world, with some really terrible things happening. It's even worse that these things are happening at Christmas, a time of joy and love, and peace. I have not felt peaceful lately.

Luckily, when I put that out there, a few friends did a great job of reaching out to me to comfort and reassure me. I am so lucky to have people like that in my life.

There are also general things that I like to do in my life, when I realise that I'm struggling to cope:

  • Make sure I'm getting enough sleep. You are almost certainly not getting enough sleep, so make it a real priority. A couple of nights this week, I went to bed at 8:30. I didn't fall asleep then (I read!), but I was in bed, preparing for sleep. There was no phone, no news, no Facebook, no email... Ah, heaven. 
  • Make sure I'm eating properly - for me, that means, making sure I have lunch covered and I don't have to race around in the morning and throw together a cheese sandwich. A cheese sandwich will get you through the day, but it's not really living is it? And even if you are going to have a cheese sandwich, make it the night before. 
  • Feeling the love. This is where my awesome friends stepped in and shared wonderful things that were happening in their lives, or reminded me of wonderful things happening in my life, or just talked to me about other things that are wonderful (in this case, comics). It was pretty great. 
  • Revisit wonderful, familiar things - I'm avoiding most television at the moment, but I try and catch Bitchin' Kitchen whenever possible (it's a hilarious cooking show) and I'm re-watching Community, because it really makes me laugh (although some bits are weird and I don't like them, but on a DVD you can just fast forward). And of course, I'm re-reading Pride and Prejudice! 
I first read Pride and Prejudice many years ago as a teenager, and I had the delight of studying Jane Austen with John Wiltshire at La Trobe University during my Bachelor's degree. The subject was called 'Re-reading Jane Austen', and there was a lot of focus on how Jane Austen often recaps events, and how brilliant it is. In Pride and Prejudice, the best example of this is when Elizabeth re-reads Darcy's letter, and we see how it affects her differently every time, and how she gradually comes to understand and accept what he says. 

So, in case you don't know the story of Pride and Prejudice, it's essentially a love story. It was written in 1813 and is set at the same time, during the Napoleonic Wars. At that time, the community you lived in was really the only people you ever saw - people didn't really travel far throughout England, and letters took ages to get anywhere. Plus, there were strict social conventions about who you could write to - if you were a girl, and you met a guy at a party, and he was going off to war, you couldn't write to him. And you would have had to be introduced to him at the party by someone who knew you both. So you can see how people's social circles were really small! 

The book opens with a rich guy moving into the neighbourhood, which is a real boon for all the families with single daughters! The main character of the book is Lizzy Bennet, who is the second daughter of the Bennet family, who have 5 daughters. They live at an estate called Longbourne, but due to the conditions on inheriting the estate, it can't be left to any of the daughters - instead, it goes to a more distant, male, relative. It's just like Downton Abbey! 

So there's a lot of reasons for the women of the neighbourhood to want to meet and marry the man who has moved in, Mr Bingley - not to mention his even richer friend who is staying with him, Mr Darcy. This is another thing that happened a lot in those times, people had really long visits with their friends and family. Because the visits were so rare, when they did happen, it could be for weeks or even months at a time. 

I just love this book, because it's about mistakes and misunderstandings, but everything still ends happily. If you know me (and if you don't, you're probably not reading this blog) you know that I love that. I know I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I'm probably not done yet, but it does kind of feel like everything is going to end well. 

So I guess all my tips worked! I'm feeling more positive about everything. 

I'll have another post up before the end of the week, and I'll always tweet and Facebook that they're up, but if you want to know immediately, you can subscribe to the blog and get an email whenever I put a post up. 

Take care everyone.