These days, it seems you can’t go into a bookstore without bumping into a vampire, a werewolf, a zombie or some other creature that goes bump in the night. Savvy publishers are even turning to classic literature, putting slogans like “Bella and Edward’s Favorite Book” on the cover of Wuthering Heights or rewriting history with mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Poor Jane. She must be rolling over in her grave at the mere hint of zombies taking over her most popular work. It’s bad enough that Lizzie and Jane have to deal with having no fortune and silly sisters – now they have to fight zombies too?
Luckily, here in the 21st century, some of my favorite Austen bloggers are coming to the rescue with a month-long “Pride & Prejudice without the Zombies” group read. Hosted by Laurel Ann of Austeprose, Janeites across the Internet are “reclaiming the classic” and celebrating it as it was meant to be. If it’s not broke, why fix it?
The group read officially started on June 15th, but there’s still plenty of time to catch up. Throughout the month, there will be group read blog posts, in which fans can discuss the book in depth, chapter by chapter – Austenprose even put together an impressive list of reading resources. Other posts will feature guest bloggers discussing the history, fashion, culture and societal norms of Jane’s time, while others will review the various print, audio and video adaptations of Austen’s most celebrated novel.
And what’s a group read without a few good giveaways? From now until mid-July, Austenprose will be giving away tons of Pride & Prejudice related goodies, from audio books, films and all sorts of other fun swag.
Naturally, being a devoted Jane fan, I find this a tremendous amount of fun. The last time I read Pride & Prejudice in a group setting, I was a sophomore in high school and, by default, strongly disliked my English teacher, which meant I didn’t give Lizzie and Darcy the fair shake they deserved. Fortunately for me, I “rediscovered” it a year or so later and ever since, it has been one of my favorite books. I’ve been enjoying re-reading it again (for the 10 millionth or so time) with a group of fellow Jane fans via the Internet. It really is remarkable how the Internet can bring a random bunch of people together, all because they love the same book.
“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.” (Ch. 17)
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