The book of too many words (North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) has come to a long and winding, drawn-out end. The conclusion, while over-due and slow in arriving, was ultimately satisfactory - the lady and the gentleman declared their true affection for each other and the reader is free to imagine their unending happiness.
I compared this book rather unfavourably to the practically perfect work of Jane Austen. Poor Mrs Gaskell, she cannot respond in her own defence but must be mute against my harsh judgement. I enjoyed the story despite the endurance factor in the reading of it, and would like to sample another of her novels.
Are you a regular patron of your library? How do you approach selecting your reading material? Do you go in with a preselected list of book you want to read, or do you troll the shelves, trusting that chance will provide intriguing material?
Chance recently led me to the books of Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict; and, The Rude Awakening of a Jane Austen Addict. How could I resist? Would you be able to pass them up? In the first, a 21st century woman from LA wakes one morning in Regency England - Jane Austen's time period. The second title deals with the reverse: a Regency woman in modern Los Angeles. LVR clearly is a Jane Austen aficiando and strikes an authentic tone - the language is nearly pitch perfect. If the reader is able to swallow the 'how' of people exchanging places with each other 200 years apart, the stories are fun frolics that toy with Austen themes, borrow Austen dialogue, and quite overtly admit to Austen fandom.
One negative I would mention is that the author here addresses certain details that we tend to speculate about when we consider life in another time - such as hygiene. Some things are best left to speculation. Another negative is that the two stories are nearly mirror images of each other. Having read one, we know what to expect from the other, and there are no surprises.
If you are an admirer of Austen and have dabbled in fan-fiction, give at least one of these a go. They're perfect for a lazy afternoon of reading with a pot of tea... and will hopefully inspire you to pull the real thing off your bookshelf.