Book Nook

Jane Austen Reading Challenge

In Our Gumboots ~ Jane Austen Reading Challenge

If a book is well written, I always find it too short.
Jane Austen

I could not agree more with this quote, except maybe to add: when an author is truly talented, I always find their publications too limited. Especially when that author is Jane Austen.

I love to lose myself in a good novel; reading feeds my soul and provides calm and solitude within a world of imagination. Unfortunately, one thing that often gets lost in my over-committed lifestyle is my ability to sit down and enjoy a few chapters of a good book. Don’t get me wrong, I read multiple books every day but every now and then it’s nice to enjoy a grown up storyline that doesn’t rely on fanciful rhymes or having to “do all the voices” {at least not out loud}. So this year, I’m dusting off the books and allocating time every day to unwind with a literary classic! To help me stick to my goal, I’ve joined the amazing Anne over at The Modern Mrs Darcy to attempt her 2016 Reading Challenge. I’m so excited and have already selected a collection of books for her categories. But, before I get started, I want to complete my own personal challenge first!

The Jane Austen Reading Challenge
It’s never been a secret that I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan! An Austen Addict, Austenite, Janeite, whatever you want to call it! I indulge in her novels and watch the film adaptations over and over again! I’m convinced I was born in the wrong era so I find solace in completely losing myself in her Regency romances. Unfortunately, her publications are limited and while I have no qualms about rereading “classic six” time and time again, I always find myself wishing there were more. Then came that fateful day when I was searching for a hardcover edition of Northanger Abbey {it always feels more authentic reading Jane Austen in hardcover} when I stumbled across a book containing three of her short/incomplete works, “Lady Susan”, “The Watsons” and “Sanditon”. Eeek! I had to seriously reign in my enthusiasm so I didn’t squeal and start bouncing around the bookstore! After snatching up a copy I was dying to get home and start reading! By now I had as much patience and sensibility as Marianne Dashwood waiting for a letter from Willoughby! I have to admit, I have slight OCD tendencies so the prospect of reading some of her work without being able to finish it was a little more than unnerving {relate it to trying to complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and discovering that the cat has chewed up the last piece and you can never finish! Oh, the turmoil!}. But, I braved it out and was relieved to discover that any Jane Austen is better than no Jane Austen! I absolutely devoured every sentence!

So this year, to recharge my reading habit, I decided to kick off with immersing myself in Jane Austen. I started off with a biography of her life and moved on to her adult fiction. Now here’s where my inner nerd is about to get unleashed! I decided that this year I’d read all of her works in order… not in the order that they were published, but in the order that they were written. I really wanted to see the development in her novels across her lifetime {yep, I did warn you I was nerding it up!}. I know there is a lot of conjecture about the order in which she wrote her works, as she was often writing more than one novel simultaneously, but for my purposes I decided to read her works in the order documented by the chapters in Janet Todd’s, The Treasures of Jane Austen: The Story of her Life and Works {referenced below} which are as follows:

“Lady Susan”
Northanger Abbey
“The Watsons”
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park

The Jane Austen Reading Challenge {In Our Gumboots}

Throughout January, I finished Todd’s biography and Austen’s first four works. Granted, I’m not exactly flying through them, but I do have three kids and we had to read The Complete Collection of Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone during the school holidays too! Now I’m cracking open my framed copy of Pride and Prejudice and I’m about to launch into one of my all-time favourites!

If you’d like to follow me on my “Jane Austen Reading Challenge” or even join in the adventure please do! You can find updates over at my Instagram feed or under the hashtag #IOGaustenreadingchallenge

PS ~ For all my fellow Austen Addicts, please don’t think I’ve forgotten about her Juvenilia but as it varies in genres, I thought I’d stay true to her later works. Although, I have every intention of reading Love and Friendship as a bonus at the end!


Book Reference:
Todd, Janet (2013). The Treasures of Jane Austen: The Story of her Life and Work. London: SevenOaks.


2 thoughts on “Jane Austen Reading Challenge

  1. One and a half books read in 2016! That’s more than all of 2015! Can you believe it?! Not an Austin in sight, but loving the chance to relax and indulge in a good book again.


    1. And it’s only January! There’s months and months of literary indulgence to go! Although… No Jane Austen? We have to amend this situation! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s