I confess I am not a fan of Jane Austen's writing. My first brush with her work came during the run up to 'O' levels when I was 15 and we were sent home over the school summer holiday with a brief to read Mansfield Park and Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and decide which of the two we would prefer to study for our exam.
When returned in September, the result was unanimous. Brighton Rock won without a single vote of dissent. The boys in the class were especially relieved!
I don't recall much about Mansfield Park. I think I probably started it and had wall-banged by the end of chapter 3. But then I was only 15 and many people have told me it's not the best Austen on which to cut one's teeth.
I have tried to read Austen on several occasions throughout my adult life but whatever the novel, I have never got past the early chapters. I have realised that it is her voice. She might be a thoroughly witty, talented author with secret and complex things to say, but for me, her voice is like the incessant whine of a small mosquito or the high-pitched tweety, tweeting of a little fluttery bird. It irritates me beyond belief. I accept that it's me and a personal taste thing. My agent and editor are both horrified and stunned that I don't get Austen. But I don't. I'm not tuned in and that's just the way it is.
However, I have found enormous pleasure, nay hilarious joy, in the way she has inspired the creativity of certain others. I thought I'd share with you a couple of my Youtube Jane Austen procrastination favourites. They make me laugh, they lift my mood, and they are such fun.
The first is a tour de force. Whether or not it was inspired by various Austen mash-up novels I don't know, but I can watch Jane Austen Fight Club on a repeat loop.
Without Austen's original works, I would never have had the delight of these two wonderful spoofs!