Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: Northanger Abbey

April 25, 2014 Book Club, Classics 38

How Now, Bookworms?

It’s been a little while since our last installment of The Fellowship of the Worms, so it’s about time for another selection, methinks. I was talking to one of my favorite Bookworms (hi Ashley Z!) on Facebook about this month’s book choice, and she mentioned she had a hankering for a classic. I’ve been meaning to read some more Jane Austen for a while now, so it seemed like a serendipitous opportunity. I’ve chosen Northanger Abbey! (Cue applause.)

northangerabbey I have a road trip I’m planning to make in May so I’m considering listening to the audio version on the long drive. I don’t typically listen to audio books except in the case of a road trip, so it’ll be an adventure. Here’s the synopsis via Goodreads:

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

I’ve heard that this book is one of Austen’s cheekier novels, so I’m looking forward to it. An exciting perk of choosing this book is that you can download a Kindle version for FREE. That’s zero dollars and zero cents, and there should be copies-a-plenty at your local library. I will be posting discussion questions and my thoughts on May 30. As always, I will be relying on your participation to make me feel less alone in the universe. If you’d like to join in the discussion (please, oh please?) you can leave comments on the post, answer the questions I pose in a blog post of your own, or simply link up a review you’ve written of Northanger Abbey

Group reading really is the best way to do the classics, don’t you think? Who’s with me?

38 Responses to “Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: Northanger Abbey”

  1. Megan M.

    This actually sounds right up my alley… and you can’t beat free! I’m excited to start reading!

  2. AMB (Koiviolet)

    I’m in! The title for my blog comes from Northanger Abbey, but it’s been a long time since I last read the novel (while I’ve revisited many other Jane Austen novels over the last year or two). I’m looking forward to the discussion!

  3. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Fun! I just reread Northanger Abbey, so I’m not going to participate, but I’m excited to see everyone’s posts. Henry Tilney is BY FAR the best of Austen’s heroes (in my opinion) — not as stuffy as all the other ones.

  4. Diane

    I am *not* an Austin fan, but am stopping to thank you for the encouragement for the readathon. And what a cute name for your blog, and clever idea for a name for a reading group!

  5. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I’m glad I stumbled on this! NA is my last Austen to read, and it will be great to see everyone else’s thoughts on this. I’ve got a vacation coming up in May that means I’ll fly and be doing a lot of driving with friends, so I think I could finish the book easily with that downtime.

  6. Deb

    I was just trying to figure out my next book to listen to (do many a road trip to BC and like to listen while driving to work). Last book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Was thinking I wanted to do a classic (George Elliot, one of the Bronte Sisters)–could not think of which and now, Northanger Abbey it is. Happy book clubbing this one!

  7. Emily

    This book was not really on my TBR list but after reading the synopsis, I’m reconsidering. I don’t think I’ll read it for this month but I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  8. Cornelia

    I’m so excited to join! I’ve started reading and was expecting a long slog right from the beginning – I enjoy English literature, but sometimes…my eyes glaze over, you know? – but so far it’s fantastic, and it seems really different from what I remember of her other works. Can’t wait to come back at the end of the month and join in the discussion 🙂

  9. Brittny

    I have also been thinking of reading some Jane Austen lately. This will have to make it on my list in the next few weeks! 🙂


  10. Annabel Smith

    My mum had this crazy edition of Jane Austen where all her books were joined together into one megabook. One summer I decided to read the whole thing. I did P&P, S&S, Mansfield Park, and then halfway through Emma I couldn’t take anymore. And, I’ve NEVER gone back. That was 20 years ago. Lately I’ve been feeling sort of guilty for neglecting the classics so much and have been tempted to return. So…maybe.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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