Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Austen in August Read-Along: Part 1 of 3

This year I am participating in the Austen in August event 
hosted by Misty at The Book Rat

Austen in August starts today, so today I am posting my thoughts on the first third of Persuasion.

Quick getting to know you Questions:
Was Persuasion the first Austen book you read?
Yes! I have always meant to pick up Austen's works but have been daunted by their "classic" status, until now.

Is this the first time you've read Persuasion?
Yes. I am actually listening to it as an audiobook, because it is easier for me to immerse myself in the language and not get bogged down by the old-fashioned writing style.

How many other Austen books have you read?
None so far.

Will you read more of them/reread them?
Yes, definitely. I am only a few chapters into Persuasion so far, and I am already looking forward to the next Austen read-along.

BEGINNING (chapters 1-7)
What are your initial impressions of the story? Do you like the set-up for the world and the conflicts?
Well, I've never read any of Austen's works before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I loved the narrator's voice right away, as it was both easy to listen to and fit the story very well. So far I've been finding it very enjoyable and, unexpectedly, I can't seem to put it down. 

Did you find any of it hard to understand or relate to?
Sometimes I get a bit lost, in which case I usually rewind a minute or two until I find my footing again. For the first few chapters, I also read the Sparknotes directly after finishing the chapter just to recap and to make sure I had all the names and facts straight.

What are your impressions of the characters so far? Especially in regards to Anne, who is considered quite a bit different from other Austen heroines (besides being the oldest, she's had love and let it go, and now has had years to reflect on that).
I had some trouble in the beginning figuring out who was who, but that soon cleared itself up for the most part. 

Do you think Anne was right to have yielded to the pressure of those close to her - to have been "persuaded" - not to accept Wentworth's first proposal?
I don't think I know the characters well enough to say at this point. I would like to return to this question after I finish the book. At any rate, it certainly makes for an interesting set-up.

What do you make of Anne's family (and extended family, including Lady Russell), and her place among them? How do the people in Anne's life treat her, and what was your reaction to that?
Anne deserves better treatment than she receives, but everyone else in her family is so self-absorbed, it's easy to see why she is forgotten. It took me a while to realize that she was the main character, as little attention is paid to her in the initial chapter or two. I hope that at the end of the story she is able to find her place both in her family and with Wentworth. I'd say she has some growing to do before then, though. At the beginning, she is, although sweet, a bit too wishy-washy.

Discuss Anne's first few meetings with Wentworth, or Wentworth's entry into the story in general.
I am just at this part as I am writing this post (about 3/4 into chapter 7). Wentworth is still quite a mysterious character, and I can't wait to see what happens between him and Anne (although I have a pretty good idea).

Are you participating in Austen in August?
Have you read Persuasion? Tell me what you think!

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