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Since I last blogged about Jane Austen, I've read Emma (and watched the movie); watched Sense & Sensibility for about the tenth time; and read Austen's Northanger Abbey and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I also watched Becoming Jane, the fictional biography staring Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen.

Next up: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I did consider reading Austen's books Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, but I plan to read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
and Mansfield Park and Mummies. After my recent Pride, Prejudice and Zombies experience, I learned that reading an original and its monster mash-up back-to-back can be a bit repetitive.

Not everyone likes the Austen monster mash.

Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

As the mom of four boys, I was of course highly interested in the subject matter of this book. On a daily basis, sometimes right after dinner, I hear cries of "mom, I'm still hungry!". And they're not even teenagers yet. I found the first part of this book, with discussion and ideas and cooking tips, quite interesting. However, the recipes aren't always kid-friendly. There are some basics here, like fried chicken and beef stew. But others would work great for a family that's a bit more "into" food than ours. Still worth checking out, though.

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, by by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.

This is a fun book, short, easy to read. It gives a basic overview of philosophy, illustrated with a lot of really funny jokes.

Interesting review of Ralph Nader's novel "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" by Newsweek's Seth Colter Walls.

I've been on a bit of a Jane Austen kick lately. It all started when one of my Facebook friends posted that she was watching Pride and Prejudice with her daughter - the one staring Keira Knightley. It is a movie that had been on my list for some time, so I decided to watch it and read the book as well.

Being the type of person who likes to thoroughly exhaust a genre or author before moving on, I decided not to stop at just one cinematic interpretation of the novel, but four. Bride and Prejudice is the Bollywood version staring, among others, Lost's Naveen Andrews (who knew he could dance?). It was a fun movie. Then Bridget Jones's Diary which borrows a plotline from Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was just ok; my husband didn't like it at all. Bridget Jones stars Colin Firth, who also played Mr. Darcy in the workmanlike 1996 BBC production of Austen's classic, which I watched as well.

I also started reading Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. When I picked up the book at the library, I was not at all surprised to learn that it was published by Quirk Classics, a division of Quirk Books. Quirk Classics is specializing in the literary mash-up, which aims to "enhance classic novels with pop culture phenomena." The tongue-in-cheek Reader's Discussion Guide at the end of the book explains:
10. Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last-minute addition to the novel, requested by the publisher in a shameless attempt to boost sales....Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?
Grahame-Smith has edited Austen's novel with a light hand, removing some extraneous detail and dialogue, and changing a word here or there to make the language more understandable to modern readers, but without essentially altering Austin's prose (except, of course, as needed for the addition of the zombie action). For instance, at the beginning of Chapter 37, I noted that Mr. Collins makes a "parting bow" rather than an "obeisance". Other changes may delight even die-hard Austen fans, such as the death of the obnoxious Mr. Collins; or the confrontation between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, which becomes a battle not only of words, but one involving swords and ninjas. In places, it's what Austen might have wanted to have written.

What to read next? There are so many options. I could read (or in some cases, re-read) the rest of Austen's novels - I've already finished Persuasion and started in on Emma. I could read one of the many Pride and Prejudice sequels and prequels on the market, but I'm still recovering from the disappointing Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Or I could wait for Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, being released later this month. Perhaps Mansfield Park and Mummies? or Emma and the Werewolves? So many books, so little time...

ETA: Quirk Classics is giving away 50 Dawn of the Dreadfuls prize packs here.

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