The month of October ends today as does the Northanger Abbey Read-a-Long. It has been an interesting month and thank you to Maureen who stuck through the month and read with me (even when she got behind).
Reading the book slowly was an interesting experience. It was like being back in high school, but with less pressure to be critical of the text so you can get a good grade.
I read though this book thinking of how I would modernize it. This is one of my NaNoWriMo projects this year. I had to think about who these people would be in 2016. I had to think about how these conversations and rules would change. Isabella cheating on James with a man who had no interest in marrying her is something modern women still deal with. Mrs. Allen being vapid and only able to talk about her clothes still applies to some women in 2016. General Tillney’s focus on marriages for his children to increase his family’s wealth and position is still something that happens.
I read it with a new scene in mind: haunting reality shows. I asked myself about who these people would be if they were trying to develop their own reality tv shows. Clearly the Thropes will do ANYTHING to get on television. What about Henry who understands the rules of society, but has disdain for them? I imagine a modern version of Henry would be far more cynical than Regency era Henry. His whole family would be cynical and manipulative about it. They understand the rules better than anyone else in the book, they must play by those rules, and it consumes them.
I couldn’t help but compare it to Austen novels I liked more. I realized that, as the first novel she completed, I could see how she had evolved as a writer. This story was heavy on narrative breaks by the author to rant about something or speed up the story. In fact, that last few chapters are basically just narration. Maturation is something I am already hoping I see in my own writing.
So, what comes next?
I enjoyed doing the read-a-long and I will probably do another one in a few months. Hopefully a few more people will participate! November is all about using what I learned and decided by reading Northanger Abbey to modernize it. For the month of November, Mondays will focus on what is going on with NaNoWriMo. I will be doing far more writing than reading.
Until then… In the comments, feel free to tell me all your final thoughts about Northanger Abbey and anything you think I should make sure gets into a modernized version.