Tag Archive: austen


Family Movie Night

Dear Jane,

I wanted to drop a quick note to wish you a happy birthday. We won’t mention the year (235) or the fact you have been gone for nearly 200 years. If you are free, you are more than welcomed to stop by for some tea and cake. Just let me know what time you can make it. You need to have a discussion with the person who operates your Facebook page because your birth date is not listed.

Picture from Barnes and Noble.com

 I would love to discuss with you the current “Austenmania.” There are writers who are adding sequels to your novels, turning Darcy and Elizabeth or yourself into detectives and mashing your novels with horror genre monsters. My favorite makes you into a vampire. Plus, you get to have an affair with the most dashing man in English literature.

 Then there are the movies. So many handsome and wonderful men have been used to depict your romantic heroes. Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995) may be the most romantic version of this character. There is a scene in which he reads poetry to Marianne (not a scene from the book) that makes many of us modern women swoon.

 The BBC has put out new movie renditions of your books a few years ago and really outdid themselves. David Morrissey stars as Colonel Brandon, making me swoon in a completely different way. He was given the opportunity to duel a young man on-screen and it was wonderful.

 Colin Firth has been called the definitive Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries. He is quite delicious, especially the scene in which he swims in the lake right before meeting Elizabeth again at Pemberly (another scene not in the book). But there is a part of me that really loves Matthew MacFadyen’s version of Darcy from the 2005 movie starring Kiera Knightly as Lizzie.

Picture by Karyn Bowman

When you come for tea, I will show you the cup I found at a sale this summer that looks similar to one I saw in Persuasion (1995). Ciaràn Hinds is the good captain and I have never forgotten his looks at Anne when he thought she wasn’t looking. He uses a very similar cup during a conversation with Charles Musgrove.

 At this point of the column I usually discuss a Christmas movie to watch for the season. One of my old time favorites is A Christmas Carol (1951) starring Alastair Sims. The Sims version has a non-quantitative something about it that brings joy to the heart and thoughtfulness to the brain.

There are many versions of this story in movie form but the 1951 version is my favorite, completely suitable for all family members with just enough scary moments to remind us of the total joy of Christmas.

 It is based on a short story by Charles Dickens, a Victorian-era writer whose work seemed to constantly explore the theme of not having enough money or charitable spirit.

Picture from IMDb.com

 Another British movie set during the holidays in our modern times is Love, Actually and it stars various actors from the movies based on your books – Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Kiera Knightly.  It is a modern tale of several people discovering their way to love or through love. Liam Neeson is also in this movie and I find him quite yummy.

Please let me know if you can make it for tea. After recently re-reading Lady Susan, I suddenly realized that only Kate Winslet could play her at this time in a movie and we must discuss. If not, please let me wish you a happy birthday on the 16th.

Your sincerely devoted reader.

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Today was one of those days in which I needed to perform miracles or just be a regular mom.

Yeah, I said it. Moms perform miracles everyday.

We get the kids out of the house to school on time after walking the dog, waking up those reluctant children and getting breakfast together. Before the two middle children left for school I made sure vitamins were taken and clothing was suitable.

Once they left, I did a quick bit of dishes, grabbed a shower, woke up the last child and locked up the dog before leaving the house. We went to the babysitter, I grabbed the mail, grabbed a new coffee creamer, dropped off basketball shorts my son was to take back to school last year, picked up dry cleaning, stopped at the drug store for girl stuff, and went to work.

Once at work I do my tasks needed there but it is pretty smooth sailing. When I leave work the load starts again as I will grab a movie or two at the video store that did not open till 10 am, get ingredients for pizza tonight, stop at the resale shop to drop off some clothes, stop at the bank and then head home.

It is days like these that reminds me why I love my Jane Austen books so much. There seemed to be moments of civility all of the time. There were people who did battle in the drawing room and on the dance floor. Careful words could spell doom for a person. But it all seems so genteel.

Isn’t that what we women say we want – something gracious that is not so crazy? Of course that requires having people. It requires paying a staff to look after your mess and keep it all orderly. My staff does not exist to that extent. My children are willing to set the table, reluctantly clean their rooms and make the   run to the store for one last supper item. No one else is going to pick up the dry cleaning or walk a dog that can drag them on the ground.

Once I have people, I can have that relaxing cup of tea while reading in my favorite chair. Once I have people, I can quilt all day and not worry about supper or cobwebs. Once I have people, I can stay up all night writing my once and future novel without worrying about getting the kids out of the house on time.

 But then I would have virtually little or no contact with my family or the rest of the world. I would get lost in all of my hobbies and not care about being in the outside world. And I would be exactly like Mr. Bennett. He might have been an interesting person to talk to but he was a neglectful parent until after it was too late. That is the last thing I want to be in my life.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.