We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860
This is the first time I get to tell you that I heard a book. Yes, Love and Friendship taken from Jane Austen’s Juvenilia is the first audio book that I ever listened to. Firstly, the listening experience was undoubtedly different from the reading experience. And much to my surprise I wasn’t guilty of not reading the text. I could just as beautifully perceive an unfledged Austen’s world. So, I’ve actually broken the shackle at last when it comes to audio books at least.
Secondly, I have to give credit to the narrator whose voice was so sweet and enticing to listen to. I was in fact transported to my early school years as I sank deeper into the story being narrated. Back then I was a lovely story-teller or so they said. But I’m convinced about the truth of the matter a tiny bit thanks to the certificates that adorn my drawers. Well, I remember enjoying myself completely while narrating about Cinderella’s enviable glass shoes or the poor old grandma in Little Red Ridinghood to my classmates. Little did I know that I was being marked for the act but anyway it was a win-win situation for me fortunately.
As I listened to the story proceed in my player I realised how much I missed story telling and how many years have flown by without being told a bed time story. I prided in knowing every bit of detail in the mythologies and ancient stories that my grandmother so lovingly told me every night as a child. There was a certain speciality in the was she narrated. She would first get on with story in its entirety, establish the morals and allow the story to instill in my mind before telling me which God/ famous hero that tale pertained to. I remember being delighted on hearing, “And that Prince was none other than Lord Rama!” Childhood is something so precious beyond explanations and I’m not even ashamed of reiterating here. It’s just that nostalgia is so powerful and I’m just having a bout of it now.
Yes and getting back to the audio book- Emotional on one hand and ecstatic on the other I completed listening to the collection in a few hours. And then when I was a little more settled I wondered about the Jane Austen that I had just experienced. I only marvelled at that a girl of twelve could write so fluently in matters of love and friendship. Austen, the literary genius, never failed to deliver even as a child. My veneration for Austen has only increased for even those early works of hers has a lot to offer to the reader and more so for the aspiring writer. Simple though the plot and scenes are there’s much in terms of insight and voice.
Overwhelmed by the whole experience I vowed to continue with audio books and with Austen who happens to be my literary God. In continuation with this renewed Austen fervor, I planned to dedicate January 2012 to re-reading all of Austen’s works in one shot; something like an extravaganza. Reminds you of a certain movie? Of course.
And it’s no fun doing these things alone. So, I request you to join in and make it an event/blogfest. We could have a lot of fun, you know. Who’s to predict where this might lead us all to? Pemberly? Mansfield park? Please let me know, in the comments section if you’re hopping aboard. Add your name, your blog(if you have one) and your reason for participation. I would really appreciate it if you spread word on twitter, FB, etc. and brought along more lovely Austen fans.
Update: Our twitter hashtag will be #JAJ for Jane Austen January.