Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Too Much Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

Swinging right back into it, I'm ready for another review - what can I say, it's easier when the books come from the YA section :) Actually, I didn't realize this was a YA book - I got it out because it's written by Austenblog, which is the Austen website I used to read before Austenprose.  Austenblog is a lot of fun, mostly because it's full of interesting Janeite news, but also because the "editrix" is often funny and usually expresses sentiments with which  I concur wholeheartedly (regarding public opinion on Austen and such).  So even though The Jane Austen Handbook is just a collection of facts about Regency England, I was happy to give it a retry (maybe I shouldn't say just, but it's not like there's any story there, or any narrative at all).

Really, it's not like I wouldn't be interested in a book about nineteenth century English life of the upper classes.  I don't know if I've ever read one, which is surprising, since there is more than one available.  But what? It's not like I don't know quite a lot already... and it'd have to be quite a scholarly tome indeed to catch my interest. Or if not scholarly, than certainly not aimed at the lowest common denominator.  Who exactly is that lowest common denominator though? Why, young adults of course :) The handbook to all things Austen does not go much deeper than explaing that whist is similar to bridge and that an entail means the female line can't inherit.  There are little details here and there I didn't know, but overall, it's pretty much nothing new to me.

Besides that, the overall tone is kind of weirdly teeny-boppery.  Like it purports to be a how-to and most of the language if vaguely reminiscent of the 19th century, but then these little things clearly marked at the modern audience break out.  And by modern audience, I do not mean myself :) That being said, it was a short little book with occasional interesting tidbits.  It wasn't really painful, but I have to say it was less interesting than it could have been.  I guess I need to wait for the Jane Austen Handbook NOT for Dummies...

Verdict: 2.5/5

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