Featured Author: Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Like many other Jane Austen readers, I first came upon Austen after seeing one of the many films adapted from her novels. I was in grade school in the late 1990s when I saw Sense and Sensibility—the film with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Kate Winslet. I loved everything about the movie too! The cast, the characters, the scenery, and most importantly, the plot.

Upon finding out the film was adapted from a novel, I looked for Sense and Sensibility in the school library, finished the book in two days, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m under the opinion that one simply can’t stop with a single Austen book. Suffice to say, I was hooked. And I’ve been reading and rereading Austen since.

Austen Bio

 Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 to a country parson in Steventon, Hampshire. Her father, Reverend George Austen, was by all accounts, a supportive father. After Jane showed interest in literature, he encouraged her to continue reading the works of prominent writers like Sir Walter Scott, George Crabbe, and Henry Fielding. Apart from devouring the works of these literary masters, Jane was also interested in creating her own stories. She started with sketches of popular romance stories, and gradually progressed into her full-length novels. She wrote in secret too—in between her household chores. How she found the time to pen six of the most beautiful novels in Classic literature is beyond me!

During her lifetime, she saw four of her novels published—Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Two of her novels, Northanger Abbey (1818), and Persuasion (1818), were published after her death.

Austen fell ill sometime around 1816. She attempted to ignore her illness, but her health continued its slow and steady decline, until she succumbed to this illness on 18 July 1817. In the last century, many medical experts have tried to figure out Austen’s mystery illness. Some have suggested Addison’s disease, others, Hodgkins lymphoma or tuberculosis. Others still, believe that it was a type of typhus called Brill-Zinsser disease.

Either way, the disease was slow in coming and gave Austen time to continue writing. Time, however, ran out before she could finish Sanditon (1817).

Today, Jane Austen is considered one of the most prominent female novelists in history. Her writing is lauded by critics and literary masters like Somerset Maugham and Sir Walter Scott for portraying the‘real’ and ‘commonplace’ in such a remarkable manner, which makes it impossible to dismiss her writings as merely ‘romantic’ in nature. Her exemplary technique of transforming the ordinary into something worth reading shows her mastery over human emotion and the English language.

Though her works are often classified as Classic Romance novels, many believe that they are also excellent social commentaries that border on satirical at times.

List of Novels

  1. Sense and Sensibility (1811)
  2. Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  3. Mansfield Park (1814)
  4. Emma (1815)
  5. Northanger Abbey (1818)
  6. Persuasion (1818)

Featured Author: Philip Yancey

 

In the last few years, I’ve learned that when you talk ‘religion’ with friends or colleagues, 90 percent of the time, you run the risk of offending someone. Yes, faith is a very prickly subject. It’s also highly personal and private. To be perfectly honest, my own faith tends to be ambiguous and ambivalent in turns. So why recommend a Christian author’s works to friends and family members?

Well, for the simple reason that Philip Yancey’s writings aren’t just religious, they’re philosophical. They’re there to get you thinking. In his books, Yancey doesn’t tell you what or how to think; he offers you ideas and leaves the thinking (and believing) up to you. He treats the subject with ample delicacy but maintains integrity when tackling it. His books also offer a fresh perspective to what you already know, or think you know.

About the Author:

Philip Yancey (born 1949) is an award-winning evangelical Christian author. With over 14 million books sold worldwide, he’s one of the most read Christian authors today. He’s won a number of book awards including the Gold Medallion Book Award and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Christian Book of the Year award.

When Yancey was just about a year old, his father succumbed to polio after members of their strict, fundamentalist church convinced his dad to go off life support. They believed that his faith in God would heal him. His father’s death combined with his experience of witnessing contradictions between what the church taught and what it practiced, contributed to Yancey’s loss of faith. It would a take a miraculous moment in Bible College for him to experience a form of metanoia (spiritual conversion).

Since then, Yancey has been tackling some of the most basic and hardest questions and issues on Christianity. He’s penned thought-provoking Christian books like What’s So Amazing about Grace (1997), The Jesus I Never Knew (1995), Disappointment with God (1988), and Reaching for an Invisible God (2000). Yancey has also contributed works to publications like Reader’s Digest, National Wildlife, Publishers Weekly, Eternity, Moody Monthly, Chicago Tribune Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post.

Website: www.philipyancey.com

 Favorite Work: Disappointment with God (1988)

Other Recommended Books from this Author: Where is God When it Hurts? (1977), The Jesus I Never Knew (1995), What’s So Amazing About Grace (1997)

Image: Christianpost.com