Monday, June 23, 2008

A Change of Scene

This post is not directly related to Jane, but still of interest to those of us with a literary bent.

I have recently become aware of a new site that holds great potential to those of us who like books in any form.
My Mother The Fearless Ebayer recently bought me a couple of CDs that had recordings of two Jane-related works, Jane's Love and Friendship ("Beware of fainting fits, beware of swoons"...ring any bells?) and James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of Jane Austen. She was really excited as both books cost her a grand total of $6 with shipping and handling.

When I put them in my car stereo to listen to them, I discovered they are free recordings made available through a website.
The site,, is devoted to making available free audio recordings of books in the public domain. Of course, this includes works by our favorite author (evidently there is a large group of Janeites active on the forums), but also books by Elizabeth Gaskell, Shakespeare, Sir Thomas More, and many others. I was very excited to find four completed volumes of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Short stories, poetry; basically anything that can be read can be found there.

Volunteers coordinate and read each book from text found at another site,, and then post them- FREE- on librivox. From there, you can click on a link to subscribe to the book via podcast on iTunes, effectively giving yourself a free audiobook recording. The great thing about this is that as long as it is in the public domain, anything can be read, and the administrators take suggestions from anyone who has a book they want read. There is at this moment a project to record all of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, and there is a fourth project reading Pride and Prejudice. Volunteers are needed both to coordinate and to read different chapters. There are forums set up for suggestions and to guide people through the process.

I hope you will all go check this site out. It is a brilliant idea that can bring wonderful writing to people who otherwise have no access to it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

RL has been a bear the last couple of weeks (as evidence by my lack of posts), but one highlight was the opportunity I took of (finally!) watching the recently aired BBC production of Sense and Sensibility, which I Tivo'd at my parent's house.

I loved this adaptation. And I do not like Sense and Sensibility as a general rule, Marianne irritates me to death.

This production was in keeping with the quality of the ITV productions from last year, and were beautifully adapted. There are many improvements over the Emma Thompson version from 1996; Harry Dashwood (perfectly cast!) makes an appearance, and Mrs. Ferrars is a stern and intimidating figure. My favorite casting decision, though, was David Morrisey as Col. Brandon. He is the right age, moderately handsome with an air about him, and exactly as described in the book. Overall, this was a delightful production that I cannot wait to add to my DVD collection.


I, like many of my fellow readers, have been anxiously awaiting the next post of Half Such a Sum. This week, we finally were rewarded for our patience.

And shocked to death when all of a sudden, the words "Epilogue" flashed across my screen.

Half is over???

Shelby had been warning us for some time, but it was still a shock to my sensibilities. This is the end of an era, and I really nearly cried to see it end. The story ended in a sweet way, without answering many of the questions burning in my mind. The epilogue answered all but one of those questions... namely, whether or not Georgiana and Edmund Metcalfe are allowed to marry. I think there is a large contingent of us who would love to see that; as a reformed rake is always the best kind of husband to have.

I loved that Isabella got her comeuppance over Craigmore, that Craigmore got his just desserts (just as good as seeing him die in a pirate's captivity of spattergroit!), and that all who should be together are together in the end. Still, perhaps there will be another story? In which that one question is answered?

Shelby, this is epic. We, your readers, will forever be grateful that you shared it with us.

Half is posted on HG.