Being a fan of JAFF before the days of ereading was tough! I have a whole shelf of paperbacks from many of my favorite authors . . . Linda Berdoll . . . Elizabeth Aston . . . etc. I became hooked on reading JAFF in the mid-2000s when it experienced a resurgence from the 2005 feature film. In fact, I didn’t like the book when I first read it in high school. It wasn’t until I saw that movie (yes, THAT movie, the 2005 one, I love it, actually), then read a few JAFF titles that I was able to go back and read the original Pride & Prejudice, deliciously devouring every line. And for six years, aside from forum reading, all I had were these paperbacks I lugged everywhere I might have to wait, so, everywhere.
::Confession time, how many of us bought purses based on the ability to hold a paperback? I know I’m guilty! ::
You know how people always feel the need to comment on what you’re reading, AS you’re reading the book, when you’re in public? Being young in age with historical looking books, other men and women would always ask me what I’m reading, and I would explain it was a variation or sequel of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Most of the time, I would just get a blank stare, but too many times, far, far too many times, the person would just be downright rude!
The most common response was “Why don’t you read the original?”
To me, that’s like asking someone reading the seventh Harry Potter book why aren’t they reading the first one? I’m not reading Austen’s original because I already have, multiple times, and can quote to you from it! 🙂
Another favorite of mine was when they would accuse the author I was reading of stealing from Jane Austen’s estate by writing stories. I would try to explain about copyright, and the history of the books, how poor Austen didn’t even make very much from her own writing in her lifetime . . . but most didn’t grasp it.
Now, I stick with this explanation:
JAFF is like your favorite TV show never being cancelled.
If JAFF was the Austen Channel on TV, there is so much rich variety and ingenuity that the stories allow us to relive the best moments of her books again and again and again. It reminds me of my daughter who is 5 and wants the same bedtime story every night about an elephant trying to be like all of the other animals in the jungle. We’re now making up new parts of the story, and she has a whole life of this elephant well beyond the pages of the simple children’s story.
It is in our nature to build and adopt what others create to our own reality.
They say there is nothing new under the sun. Today, I can read any book without the person next to me being the wiser. But then we’ll be at some cookout or work party and my husband will introduce me as an author.
“Really? What do you write?” They will ask earnestly.
And I will flash them a brilliant smile, and keep it plastered the whole time.
“Well you see, it’s like your favorite TV show never being cancelled . . .”