Everything Austen II Challenge List

Sometime last year, for reasons unremembered to me now,  I found my way to the blog “Stephanie’s Written Word”  Maybe my memory of the reasons for  finding the blog is coloured by the fact that I wanted to take part in the Everything Austen Challenge and couldn’t. What can I say? Life with a busy four year old and academic studies got in the way of more readerly desires.
Cue to this year, and the starting date for the Everything Austen Challenge was July 1. Anyone along the Eastern  region of Canada or the United States would know that around that time, apart from the Tour de France starting, was one of the nastiest heatwaves ever to hit the region.  I don’t know many people who can handle heat and much worse, humidity that makes it feel like it 45C /113F   day after day!  Further to the discomfort, we didn’t own an air conditioner, making it sticky, smelly and sweaty in this glass walled, sun filled apartment.  So the idea of writing an entry stating what I would do for the challenge – even if I could have stopped my computer from overheating and fritzing out within five minutes – was much more than I could to do. But here it is, the end of the July, the extreme heat has blown out across the eastern seaboard, (or maybe it’s because we have blown out our budget and bought an air conditioner,)  but I now have the ability to get four brain cells to jump together and form coherent sentences.

The first activity I am currently undertaking is reading Cassandra and Jane ; A Jane Austen Novel by Jill Pitkeathley.  It fills me with wonder that for such a beloved author, we know so very little about her real life and have to fill in the gaps with hearsay and guesses.  And as a student of the past, who has never quite gotten over the inhumanity of not being born in Europe where I could fully wallow in all things personally interesting historically speaking, it’s a given that I will choose something historical to complete. 

University studies took over almost every moment for the last few years; watching television  has been a luxury that I had to forgo. But not now, and I intend to watch all things Austen. I have the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility, as well as the BBC 2008 production. I must confess that I continually put this version on late at night as I snuggle down in bed, thinking I have the staying power to watch all the way through in one sitting and never do!  I also own the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, but as of yet I haven’t watched the 2009 BBC production and have been desperate to do so.  Now that I think about it, I also saw one episode of Lost in Austen which made me giggle, but never saw the whole series. I should defiantly rectify that.

I have accepted the idea that to truly push the boundaries of my comfort zone, I should perhaps read one of those (ghastly) Jane Austen and Zombies / Vampires / Other Gobbltygook books that were so much the rage just a year or so ago. I haven’t really made up my mind as to which one yet – I’m open to suggestions.  And of course, as befitting for a challenge  I must read some of the work from Miss Austen. I intend to read Persuasion and Mansfield Park; two novels I’ve never actually read.

I do have the odd little thought in the back of my head that I should attempt some other kinds of challenges that make the most of my own personal skills and abilities. Something like trying my hand at completing some examples of embroidery from Miss Austen’s time. And maybe having a go at cooking a meal such as people from late 1700 to the early 1800’s would have enjoyed.  As I said, odd little thoughts. And that, I should think, will see me through six months worth of Everything Austen.


  1. Have fun with the challenge!

  2. For the zombie/vampire horrifying one. Sense and sensibility and sea monsters has shown promise. However if you can get you hand on Pride, prejudice, and zombie you might try that as well as I understand they will be making a film in the future.

  3. Sorry to hear that you don’t have air conditioning during this heat wave. As you mentioned it has been on humid summer. I hope a bit of Jane will help cool you off!

  4. Hi Courtney
    I have it in my head to try my hand at some Jane crafty thing too.

    To enhance your Jane Austen experience this year, I thought you may be interested in my Jane Austen related event.

    The Pemberley Ball!

    Schedule is up with posts and giveaways all about Mr Darcy:

    You are welcome to enter any of the giveaways which all end Nov 28.

    ps: Come by and get a dose of Darcy!

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