Mansfield Park Read-Along ~ Week 1 Thoughts

The lovely and amazing Amber is hosting a Mansfield Park (by Jane Austen) Read-Along in the month of January!!!! Each week, we are discussing 12 chapters. We’re also tweeting as we go with the hashtag #MansfieldReadAlong!

No surprise, but I’m a *little* behind already (I blame it on life craziness and other really, really good books I’m currently reading). Anyway, this is my post all about these chapters following the format Amber has set. This is my first time reading Mansfield Park, so the read-along experience is adding to my excitement and absorption of the story!

Mansfield Park Read-along

Please go visit her discussion post to see other readers’ thoughts and post links, too!

Mansfield Park Volume I: Chapters 1-12

Discussion Format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week’s reading

Favorite Quotes

“It is unknown how much was consumed in our kitchen by odd comers and goers.” -chapter 3, the worrisome Mrs. Norris

“When he returned, to understand how Fanny was situated, and perceived its ill effects, there seemed with him but one thing to be done’ and that ‘Fanny must have a horse’ was the resolute declaration…” -Edmund, chapter 4 (this reminds me of a tiny part of North and South where Mr. Thornton has the wallpaper changed in consideration of Margaret ❤ )

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions; and, in observing the appearance of the country, the bearings of the roads, the difference of soil, the state of the harvest, the cottages, the cattle, the children, she found entertainment that could only have been heightened by having Edmund to speak to of what she felt.” -Fanny, chapter 8 (This is a telling passage, showing Fanny’s contentment in keeping things to herself and revealing her high esteem of Edmund’s companionship and conversation.)

General Impressions

IMG_20180103_205419_127.jpgBecause of my slight familiarity with the story (I’ve seen the 1999 BBC film only), I know a little of what to expect with how the main characters behave and are resolved. With that said, it’s a little surprising to me that so much focus is on everyone else at Mansfield Park while Fanny Price, the main character, seems pushed to the side. Clearly, the reader is to be most sympathetic with her and see how their treatment is influencing her life greatly. Maybe this minimum focus is intentional to make us feel her emotions, when expressed, more keenly?

The Bertrams are puzzling. Like Fanny, I care the most for Edmund, though he does concern me at times with his nearsightedness. The Miss Bertrams are just plain spoiled! And, the other men of the family, the Thomases (elder and son), haven’t been on the page quite long enough for me to judge them.

Mrs. Norris, the Rushworths, and the Crawfords are all colorful characters, if often self-centered, that are adding much humor and interest to the story so far. I’m anxious to see how entangled it all becomes — and how Fanny overcomes her situation.

3 Questions

1. Would you consider the Bertram family taking in Fanny to be a kindness in the long run? If so, why? If not, could it have been a kindness if they approached things differently?

Yes, in the long run, I think it will be. She is being raised to an advantage of education and exposure to a different class of people which was important at the time. Though I think she is treated as unwanted and as a nuisance at times, I believe her experiences are shaping her character. Thank goodness she has a kind friend in Edmund! That is the light in her situation.

2. If you were a governess teaching the Bertram children and Fanny, what lesson would you specifically choose for each of them (as kids or adults)? Feel free to have fun with this!

I would teach the Miss Bertrams about kindness and courtesy, Thomas Bertram about respect and the blessing of his family, Edmund Bertram about the danger of flirtatious women (ahem, Mary Crawford), and Fanny Price about bravery and the importance of her individuality (I think she puts too much stock into “standards” her relatives dictate).

3. Imagine you had joined the group on their visit to Sotherton. Which part of the tour would you most have enjoyed? Would we find you wandering the halls or meandering through the wilderness?

You would find me out in the wilderness, perhaps even climbing over the gate (but not arm in arm with Mr. Crawford).

 

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my musings on Mansfield Park?

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You’re invited…. Join us for “The Austen Escape” Read-Along starting Nov. 7!

The Austen Escape Read Along

the-austen-escapeIt’s that time of year again….. time to read author Katherine Reay’s new literature-infused novel from Thomas Nelson publishers!

YOU’RE INVITED!

WHAT?

A read-along of The Austen Escape with fellow bloggers and #bookbesties.

Find The Austen Escape on

Goodreads | Amazon

WHERE?

Discussions via Twitter with the hashtag #TAERAL!

WHEN?

Starting on book release day, November 7th, we’ll be gushing/chatting as we go.

And, as we read, I’ll be collecting any questions you have for author Katherine Reay! She has graciously agreed to choose some to answer when we are all done. (My current plan is for a wrap-up blog post.) Just tag me/DM them to me or specify “Q for Katherine” in some way.

 

If you still need a copy of the book, check out the amazing preorder goodies deal happening now!

Read-Along Fun: Price of Privilege Series

This is an impromptu announcement-slash-invitation for the Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta read-along starting July 1.

POPreadalong.png

Due to the epicness of this series, Cassie, Jamie, and I have decided to reread it and discuss (it’ll be more like fangirling, analyzing, and swooning) via Twitter with the hashtag #POPral

If you’d like to join in, we would LOVE to have you!!! And, if it’s your first time reading it, please let us know, because spoilers are a real possibility.

Book 1: Born of Persuasion

Book 2: Mark of Distinction 

Book 3: Price of Privilege

 

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Read-Along, Chapters 18-24

I’m participating in the March Read-Along of Northanger Abbey hosted by Amber over at Seasons of Humility. I’m a little behind now, but I’m slowly but surely making progress! I am determined to go through with these discussion posts, too. This one covers chapters 18-24.

Northanger Abbey Read-Along Graphic 2016 (2)

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and three questions for each week’s reading.

Favorite Quote

While this quote is talking about John Thorpe’s regard for Catherine (ugh, please, give me a break), I do like it because it is an interesting expression:

“You know he is over head and ears in love with you.” -Isabella to Catherine, chapter 18

General Impressions

These chapters, like Amber noted, dragged on a bit, even though a few important things DID happen. My favorite parts were probably Henry and Catherine’s discussions. Especially the one about hyacinths! Such exclaiming over a trivial thing is a sign of their relationship being comfortable and familiar, in my opinion.

Questions

1. If you were Captain Tilney’s sibling, would you say something to him about his behavior toward Isabella? Or if you were Isabella’s friend, would you try to warn or correct her? What do you think of Henry’s reaction to Catherine’s concern about the situation?

I probably would, privately, like I suspect Henry did. After all, siblings are needed for encouragement and the occasional prodding! Isabella NEEDS some advice, but I don’t think she would take it!

I think Henry is very discerning and good for Catherine! He can clearly see Isabella’s inconstancy.

2. After reading all about Northanger Abbey, what are your thoughts of the place? Is it anything like you were expecting? Would you ever want to visit or live there if you could?

I’m not sure….I think it is like I expected! I am all for visiting, but I don’t think I would want to live in such a large place even if I could.

3. How do you feel about Catherine’s thoughts and behavior in this section? Was it all harmless intrigue, or do you thinks it’s possible to be too caught up in daydreams and fictional worlds?

It’s definitely possible to be too caught up in daydreams. I thought her added anxiety was a bit much — especially concerning Mr. Tilney (the father). She doesn’t have any grounds to go on making assumptions or even accusations toward him. I think it will get her in trouble!

 

Check out Amber’s Week 4 post for everyone’s answers/links to other posts.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Read-Along Week 3

I’m participating in the March Read-Along of Northanger Abbey hosted by Amber over at Seasons of HumilityWe’re on to chapters 11-17 now!

Northanger Abbey Read-Along Graphic 2016 (2)

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and three questions for each week’s reading.

Favorite Quotes

…it is very well worth-while to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it. -ch 14

Catherine…enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney, listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him irresistible, becoming so herself. -ch 16

General Impressions

I’m somewhat concerned about John Thorpe’s comment that he would not drive his sister in a carriage to the country because “she had such thick ankles.” It’s almost comical in considering his remark with our modern vocabulary! His blatant rudeness is no surprise to me, though. Similarly, the insincerity of Isabella is starting to grate on my nerves.

Please don’t think I’m not enjoying this story, with my little observations! Perhaps I’m just impressed (again) with Austen’s ability to write such vivid characters. We KNOW the Thorpes are fickle, Catherine is impressionable yet starting to stand on her own, and Henry Tilney is charming.

Happily, I found a version of my name in chapter 17: Mr. Tilney (the elder) mentioned a General Courteney!

Questions

1. How do you feel about the way Catherine handled herself with John, Isabella, and James when they pressured her into ditching her walk with the Tilneys in favor of their own outings? How do you feel about the way she explained herself to the Tilneys?

I was proud of her! I’m so glad she showed some spunkiness in refusing to let them sway her. And, I’m happy she sought out the Tilneys to offer an explanation.

2. Henry, his sister, and Catherine have an interesting discussion about books and education on their walk. What was your favorite part of that conversation? Did any of their opinions on novels, history, or the difficulties in learning to read resonate with you?

I ❤ the whole conversation about books, reading, and education! Particularly that Henry was so proud of confiscating his sister’s book to read it himself! That showed a playful side of him. As I mentioned on Twitter, he is such a grammar snob, and I like him for it. 🙂 As for their opinions on education, I thought it was a wise observation of regarding the effort and lifelong benefits one can have by reading.

3. We’ve been given more glimpses into Henry’s character – as well as Catherine’s infatuation with him. Do you think Catherine has fallen too hard too fast? Or do you think Henry is proving himself worthy of such admiration?

Hmm. Because I know a little of how the story will play out, I’m going to say I don’t think she’s fallen too fast. So far, they have an amiable relationship which she would like to grow, I think. One way he is proving his character is by how he’s treating his sister (and in later chapters, how he speaks of his brother).

What are your thoughts? Head over to Amber’s Week 3 post for everyone’s answers/links to other posts & to enter the new GIVEAWAY !

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Read-Along Week 2

I’m participating in the March Read-Along of Northanger Abbey hosted by Amber over at Seasons of Humility. We’re already in chapter 10! This discussion post covers chapters 4-10. 

Northanger Abbey Read-Along Graphic 2016 (2)

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and three questions for each week’s reading.

Favorite Quotes

Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world. -chapter 6

Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter. -chapter 10

General Impressions

As Amber noted, Catherine seems to be drawn away or distracted from her desires at every turn in these chapters. I find it interesting that Catherine met Mr. Tilney in chapter 3 and didn’t have any real interaction again with him until chapter 10. Maybe Austen wanted the reader to miss him or cheer Catherine on with a little absence? Or it’s a lesson in patience for Catherine. Either way, I’m glad she has met with him again. 🙂

The Thorpes are proving to be a bother. While they are, at least, an acquaintance for Catherine to have in Bath, I’m thinking their motives are not for friendship and kindness but are instead self-focused. And is it just me, or does it seem odd that Catherine’ s brother, James, is staying with the Thorpes instead of spending time or lodging with Catherine? (I know he’s obviously infatuated with Isabelle, but still…)

Now for my even more random thoughts. In chapter 5, there is mention of the Crescent (I think referring to this popular Royal Crescent area). And, in chapter 11, we see mention of a castle and other place names. My question is this: did people of that era get excited about mentions of familiar places like I think we do today? Totally random, but I’d like to think they appreciated Austen including them and maybe thought: “oh, I’ve been there!”

Questions

1. Is Isabella a friend or a “frenemy“? Do you think there’s the seed of a genuine friendship between her and Catherine, or is Isabella only loyal to her own ambitions?

First impressions made me think she would be somewhat of a friend, but now I’m leaning towards frenemy. She is not sincere in her attentions toward Catherine (like ignoring her to talk with James Morland, etc.), and I think Catherine is just a means to get to James. Or, Isabelle is treating Catherine as a friend because she has no better acquaintance to spend time with. Poor Catherine! It makes me feel for her and wish she was not so trusting of Isabelle (because she is so innocent, I don’t think she comprehends the deceit or insincerity of the Thorpes).

2. Let’s talk about John Thorpe, whose presence is obviously a problem! How would you advise Catherine in her interactions with Mr. Thorpe?

Run. Away. Now. hehe 😉

All he talks about are his carriage, horses, and money. Really, Catherine doesn’t need to associate with him beyond acquaintance. Like I’ve said, he and his sister seem very self-centered and I don’t think they will be a good influence or example for Catherine.

3. Do you agree with Mr. Tilney’s comparisons between dancing and marriage? And do you consider dancing an important component of romance?

His comparisons are so interesting! I had not thought of connecting the two in quite that way. It’s definitely a passage to come back to and consider after the book’s over. As for the second question, I have to agree with Kara. I don’t consider it a priority today. For the Regency era, I’m sure it was an important part of a social relationship for many couples–  I will defer to another Austen heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, in suggesting that dancing is the best way to encourage affection.

Head over to Amber’s Week 2 post for everyone’s answers/links to other posts & to enter the fun GIVEAWAY !

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Read-Along Week 1

I’m participating in the March Read-Along of Northanger Abbey hosted by Amber over at Seasons of HumilitySo far, we’ve made it through the first few chapters with ease! This is a discussion post for Week 1 which covers the very beginning: chapters 1-3.

Northanger Abbey Read-Along Graphic 2016 (2)

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and three questions for each week’s reading.

Favorite Quote

As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it came, but she did not depend on it. -Chapter 2, of Catherine

General Impressions

I’m impressed with the narrative voice of the story! The “omniscient” perspective of the writer addressing the reader in telling of Catherine is so humorous and witty! I’m also impressed with how different this story is from more well known Austen works. She really was a great author!

Questions

1. What do you find most endearing about Catherine’s character? Do you consider her to be good heroine material?

So far, I appreciate her innocence and what seems to be a kind demeanor. We don’t know much about her personality yet, but I think that will be revealed. I do think she will make a good heroine — after all, the “writer” has declared her to be the cheerful heroine of the story 🙂 .

2. What are your first impressions of Mr. and Mrs. Allen? What sort of impact do they have on Catherine?

Mrs. Allen has been hinted to be distressing to Catherine later. This made me think of her as an antagonistic woman like Austen seems to always include (like Lady Catherine in Pride & Prejudice or Lady Russell in Persuasion). Right now, they have offered Catherine a great opportunity, but they have a great deal of control over her situation and schedule. We’ll see if this proves a good thing.

3. Has Mr. Tilney already stolen your heart, or are you still forming your opinion of his character? Which of his positive or negative qualities stand out to you most? Do you consider him to be good hero material?

I’m still forming my opinions, though his first impression was close to perfect ;). His wit and kindness stand out the most, especially in his handling of Mrs. Allen and her muslin musings. From the movie adaptation and other readings, I know him to be a unique Austen hero because of his positive nature and general demeanor, so I’m excited to see how this is carried out in the book.

 

Well, there’s my thought process! Head over to Amber’s Week 1 post for everyone’s answers/links to other posts & to enter the fun GIVEAWAY !