Happy American Mother’s Day, everyone! (British Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday, as it’s endearingly known, was over a month ago.) I suppose love of Austen often goes along with love of word games. At least this is the case with my own Austen-lovin’ mama. And when you have to combine your knowledge of Austen with your word game skillz, that’s the best. So, for the slightly procrastinary, here are some Mother’s Day gift options. For the non-procrastinary, I’m sure dads love Austen too!
Pocket Posh® Jane Austen: The six or so varieties of word games in this pretty little volume range from easy to moderately challenging. If you have any knowledge of Austen, some of the puzzles are so easy as to be pointless. However, some, like the word searches, occupy one’s time pleasantly, and others, like the codewords and criss crosses, do require some thought. There are a few quizzes on Austen’s life and books, and these questions vary in difficulty too. I was disappointed, though, that in the crosswords (which have British-style grids), the clues don’t have anything to do with Jane Austen—the Austen connection is usually a set of shaded squares to fill in. Only a few of the puzzles require you to combine Austen-fu with word game prowess. But I would recommend this book to any Austen lover who, say, can’t usually solve the New York Times Sunday crossword.
I would love to see an all-Austen-clued American crossword somewhere. Does anyone know of one? This online Jane Austen Crossword Puzzle has Austen clues, but a British grid.
Speaking of online word games, the Jane Austen Word Search Game is rather hypnotic.
Back in bookland, there’s also the Jane Austen Quiz and Puzzle Book, though this is from 1982, and I don’t have a copy. It sounds pretty cool though. According to Abson Books, “there is one crossword for each Jane Austen novel, all clues being quotations; similarly with the ‘name games’. In addition there are 3 ‘word search’ puzzles together with 13 quizzes on all aspects of Jane Austen’s world.”
But I think my next Austen/word game purchase might be So You Think You Know Jane Austen, A Literary Quizbook. This seems like a literary scavenger hunt of a book. Speaking of which, I see there’s been at least one Austen Internet Scavenger Hunt, but I’d love to do a real-life Austen scavenger hunt, like the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, but in Bath and connected to Jane Austen. Has this happened? It needs to!
Or, you know, you could just play Austen-themed Scrabble with your mom. I think that would be quite hard enough.
Action Jane and I have a confession to make: We did not go to Bath. Jane, you know, never wanted to go there at all, and she convinced me that a fine spring day would be better spent in the countryside than in the glare of a town. I’ve been to Bath before, so my regret is all for you. But there you have it. A fine estate (formerly an abbey!) appealed to us more. For Miss Morland’s sake, we also looked at many real ruined abbeys, and a ruined castle or two.
Lacock Abbey was indeed bought from Henry VIII after the Dissolution and converted into a private home.
Catherine was pleased that, even though most of the building looks like an ordinary manor house, the cloisters and some abbey rooms still remain.
Only the ghosts of Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Snape walk here, though. (At least they did in the first two movies.) Being good guests, we did not search for mad Mrs. Tilney’s bedroom.
To cheer Catherine up, we took her to Tintern Abbey in south Wales. Catherine declared Tintern a little too clean for pure Romantic atmosphere, but at least better than Glastonbury Abbey, which was in the middle of a bustling market town!
However, we all acknowledged Conwy Castle to be a fine, manly pile of a ruin.
Jane and I then returned Catherine to her village to await Mr. Tilney, and headed north on a mission of our own . . .
To enter the Brontë Parsonage by stealth! The sisters’ home was indeed interesting, though they forbade photographs.
Our mission accomplished, we moaned supernaturally in the graveyard, and headed for home.
Photo credits: ©2011 Heather Dever. All rights reserved.
Well, it’s been a long, hard season for our final competitors, and for all of us. I’d like to thank all the characters who played in Jane Austen’s March Madness, and to say, better luck next year, or at home in your own books, or in the pro basketball field – whichever way you choose to go!
I think we all knew, in our hearts, who these two finalists must be. Anne put up the best fight Lizzie’s seen yet, but, let’s face it, there is only one Elizabeth Bennet. And Mr. Darcy has been a fighting machine throughout. So now we get to turn our attention to this most pondered upon, slavered over relationship, and ask ourselves, in a game of Scrabble, in a game of ping-pong, in the lists of love, WHOSE CUISINE WILL REIGN SUPREME??
Excuse me, everyone, I think I’m a little overcome. This is, after all, the shipper battle of the ages. What’s The Taming of the Shrew to Pride and Prejudice, I ask you? Crudity itself, obviously.
OK, beloved voters! Give this one some deep thought and tell us, in a battle of wits, in a duel to the death, in a love fest for the ages, who would win? VOTING ENDS TUESDAY NIGHT!
Photo credit: ©2010 Heather Dever. Some rights reserved. Please credit where used.