I really should have read all of Jane Austen's work long ago. I hate to admit I have only read Pride and Prejudice (several times), Persuasion (for the first time last year) and her unfinished works, Lady Susan, Sanditon and The Watsons (for the Slaves earlier this year). How does a bibliophile like me make it to adulthood without having read all her work? Well, somehow I've managed it. I've mentioned before how sadly lacking my reading education was in the classics. I did read them, just not as many as I should have. So for the last few years I have been trying to make up lost ground.
Reading all of Jane Austen's work has been on my mind for a while now. Then I found this great Jane Austen Reading Calendar post (via Eva - thanks very much!). While reading with the seasons sounds like fun, I like Brooklyn Arden's other suggestion:
"N.B.: If you're interested in Austen as a writer rather than as an author -- how she developed her style, her skills, her subject matter and themes -- the best way to read her is chronologically: the juvenilia, NA, S&S, P&P, MP, Emma, and Persuasion. (This is how I read her complete works for my Austen class in college, and it was amazingly instructive.)"
I have been wondering in what order I should read the books, so this post was very timely and very helpful. I am familiar with all the stories except Northanger Abbey. I do know it is a parody of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, which is in part why I am reading it now (I knew I would be reading Austen soon, but it is still a great book to read at this time of year). I have all her novels ready to go, though I do not have any of her juvenilia. What a shame--that means I have an excuse to buy a new book (unless I can find moochable copies). Does anyone know of book that contains all her early work? I do know that Hesperus Press publishes some of her earlier shorter works.
It's always good to have supplemental reading material. I have Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen: A Life, Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels by Deirdre Le Faye (this was a gift from a friend), and Jane Austen's Town and Country Style by Susan Watkins (this is full of wonderful photos!). And yes, there is a copy of The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Susie Conklin (the BBC adaptation). This last one may be a bit frivolous, but it's also very fun.
I'm hoping/planning on starting my little project at the end of the year. A little Jane Austen for the holidays sounds perfect!