'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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May 28, 2014

Celebrating Mansfield Park, with friends



      Between ten and eleven Edmund and Julia walked into the drawing room, fresh with the evening air, glowing and cheerful, the very reverse of what they found in the three ladies sitting there, for Maria would scarcely raise her eyes from her book, and Lady Bertram was half-asleep; and even Mrs. Norris, discomposed by her niece's ill-humour, and having asked one or two questions about the dinner, which were not immediately attended to, seemed almost determined to say no more. For a few minutes the brother and sister were too eager in their praise of the night and their remarks on the stars, to think beyond themselves, but when the first pause came, Edmund, looking around, said 'But where is Fanny? Is she gone to bed?'
      'No, not that I know of,' replied Mrs. Norris; 'she was here a moment ago.'
      Her own gentle voice speaking from the other end of the room, which was a very long one, told them that she was on the sofa. Mrs. Norris began scolding.
      'That is a very foolish trick, Fanny, to be idling away all the evening upon a sofa. Why cannot you come and sit here, and employ yourself as we do? If you have no work of your own, I can supply you from the poor basket. There is all the new calico, that was bought last week, not touched yet. I am sure I almost broke my back by cutting it out. You should learn to think of other people, and take my word for it, it is a shocking trick for a young person to be always lolling upon a sofa.'
      Before half of this was said, Fanny was returned to her seat at the table, and had taken up her work again, and Julia, who was in high good humour, from the pleasures of the day, did her the justice of exclaiming, ' I must say, ma'am, that Fanny is as little  upon the sofa as anybody in the house.'
I confess that I have been idling away all the evening(s) this week upon my sofa, reading and listening to and reading and listening to Mansfield Park.  I wanted to read it again (for only the second time) in honor of the 200th anniversary of its publication in May 1814, and though I would always have said it was sixth among the six novels, it's growing on me.  I love Lady Bertram, and even though I know how it's going to end this time around, there's something fresh in getting to know several of the characters while already knowing they're going to get what's coming to them. :)

I'm also having fun with the actual process of reading it, thanks to our friend JoAnn and her tempting ways with technology. I now have a Kindle {after being sure I never would} and even though I do have a little bit of buyer's remorse I love that my Audible audiobooks end up on it without all the cumbersome transferring into and out of ITunes, and I can listen them to them without hooking anything up.  And then Audible said that if I bought the Kindle book I could get the Audible version for only $2.99 (or the other way around), and there went my resolve to never buy a Kindle edition but just borrow them from the library. And then JoAnn kept mentioning how she would switch back and forth between an audiobook and the ebook, and the Kindle would keep her place in each.  So I treated myself to the combination in honor of M.P., and I think I shall find myself on a very slippery slope, now that I've tried that.

Seriously, though, I thought it might be distracting, but it's kind of great.  I can read for a while, then listen while I check on dinner or stitch a leaf, and then pick up the book again the next morning on the bus. {You can even play the audiobook and read the ebook at the same time, and the Kindle will highlight the printed words as you go.  I totally do not see the point of that, but it was fun to know that I could do it. :) }

So I've been too much upon the sofa, sometimes reading, sometimes listening and taking up my work, and greatly enjoying M.P.  And our other friend Fleur/Jane just said that she is planning to revisit all of six novels, but this time as audiobooks. I definitely think she's onto something!

{Mansfield Park covers (and postage stamp} found here.}

10 comments:

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

Whoa, I had no idea that the technology linked like that. Very cool!

JoAnn said...

Hurray!! Isn't it wonderful how well technology and classic literature can work together? I may not have made it through Middlemarch without the combination. Now I'm curious, did you get a kindle fire? I read on on a kindle paperwhite, but them listen on my phone (love how the devices can communicate). Don't think the paperwhite can actually play audiobooks. Maybe I should upgrade;-)

JoAnn said...

Another tip... many classics are free on amazon and even if you download a freebie to your kindle, that triggers audible to offer the audiobook for a reduced rate. Usually $2.99

Audrey said...

Hi, ladies...
I did get a Kindle Fire (and I do like it, I think, mostly!) I didn't even know that it would play audiobooks when I got it but that's its saving grace imho. And thanks, JoAnn, for that tip...I'm pretty sure this combination is going to be addictive. :)

JoAnn said...

My kindle paperwhite is a little less advanced technologically, but I love the e-ink screen and ability to adjust backlight for reading in bed. The kindle fire lets you see covers in color (I miss that on the paperwhite) and play audiobooks, but the drawback for me is that it's more like reading on a computer screen. Will be curious to hear more about your experience.

fleurfisher said...

Well done JoAnn! I'm not quite so sophisticated with technology - and we don't have quite the same setup with Audible over here - bur I'm quite happy with Open Library books on my Nook and audiobooks on my phone. Once I've finished with The Signature of All Things I have to make a difficult decision - either Juliet Stevenson again reading Austen or Timothy West reading Trollope ...

Audrey said...

Now. that is a difficult choice! All I can say is that Juliet S. just made a scene between Henry Crawford and Fanny Price seem QUITE racy! Who knew?

JoAnn said...

That's such a tough choice, Jane! Juliet Stevenson is such an excellent narrator and I'm always inclined to choose whatever she is reading, but Trollope is wonderful...

Vintage Reading said...

I love Lady Bertram, too. A woman so indolent she rarely moves from the sofa! Kind-hearted, though. The part where Fanny is made to cut the roses and gets a terrible headache is brilliant I think. MP tends to grow on you over the years!

Lory said...

I have never gotten into audiobooks but this makes it seem quite tempting. I just reviewed my collection of illustrated Jane Austen books on my blog; I like your cover collage of MP. Enjoy your rereading!

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