When Lindsey commented on a Top Ten Tuesday post, I didn’t think anything beyond “Yes! Another blogger to follow!” But when she followed me on Twitter, and I saw she owned 9 copies of Jane Eyre, I immediately hammered her with enthusiasm. One thing led to another, and we pretty much discovered we’re near doppelgängers. So why not commemorate this happy accident with guest posts? Visit Lindsey’s blog, Bring My Books, to read my thoughts on Jane Eyre!
My love for Jane Eyre is a weird, weird thing. It is the only book I have ever read in bits and pieces, over a period of years. To this day, I have never read it all the way through start to finish, but rather a chapter here, a chapter there, skip four chapters, read this part again, read that part again, go back to chapter 1, ultimately reading all of the book but in nothing resembling the usual order. I have no idea how this ever happened, because normally I am one book at a time, start to finish. (One of my book goals for this year is to amend this and have a straight through reading!) For some reason, my relationship with Jane has always been anything but ordinary. Maybe it’s because she was anything but ordinary herself? Whatever the reason, I love Jane: her strength, her moral compass, her bravery, her resilience, her independence, her passion, and her inherent goodness.
This tatty edition was the first I ever owned, given to me by my best friend (who, by all accounts, should have never gone near Jane Eyre – it’s not her style at all!). She loved it and told me I needed to immediately read it. (What followed was what was mentioned above: my piecemeal reading).
This edition came shortly after a renewed fervor for Jane & Rochester, spurred on from a late night viewing of the Ruth Wilson PBS Masterpiece adaptation of the novel. My aforementioned friend was home from school on break, and asked if I had ever seen this particular version, and when I said I hadn’t, she told me she was coming over immediately. We settled into watching the 4 hour mini-series at around 11pm; our intention was to watch maybe the first 2 ‘episodes’, if that. About halfway through the 3rd episode (so around 2:30am), my DVD player broke. Did we take it as a sign that we should reconvene at a later date to conclude the watching? Um. No. We went out to a 24 hour Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest DVD player they had so we could finish what would eventually become my all-time favorite adaptation ever. (Sorry, Mia.)
This one came during my Penguin Putnam phase. I wanted everything Penguin Putnam (the Random House merger didn’t exist at this time); mugs, totes, games, postcards, books. I love everything Penguin does – they’ve managed to create so many incredibly iconic images and series. As soon as this edition came into the store, I was drooling over it – and then I found out it was Penguin and it sealed the deal. (Seriously though, gorgeous much?)
This edition was found at a little used book store in Richmond, VA a few years ago. Yet again, I have to mention my best friend. She found it first, and after seeing my puppy dog eyes, let me purchase it instead. (I hope she knows how grateful I am!!)
I found this one at Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon last year. It was a perfect way to commemorate being at that absolutely amazing bookstore, and while it is not my favorite of my editions, it has a pretty good story tied to it. (My traveling partner basically had to drag me out of that place kicking & screaming!)
Keep an eye out for this Canterbury Classics series (published by Baker & Taylor) the next time you’re in a bookstore. They have an incredible feel to them, and I love the quotes on the back. Aesthetically speaking, this is one of my favorites.
This edition was gifted to me by a friend that knows my love for this book. She was surprised she had gotten me one that I didn’t already own (she was betting on having to return it and find a different copy!). I love that my friends know me so well, and are willing to aid me in my obsessions!
This. Is. Amazing. We were looking for fun display ideas last holiday season, and came across these graphic novel adaptations of classic novels. The best part is that they offered a “Classic Text” or a “Quick Text.” The classic text uses graphic novel illustrations with verbatim quotes from the original text, without altering them to better fit within the graphic novel. I love the illustrations and the originality of this edition.
Another used bookstore find, this one from Alexandria, VA. The main reason I picked this one up is because it was a textbook. Not like how you get 1 of 100 paperback copies of Old Man and the Sea with your school stamp put in it, with a note to return it by the end of the school year. This is a turtleback edition with an “Issued to:” “Date Returned” “School District” stamp in the front cover. It would have been an even more remarkable find had it ever been used, but alas – I heard the binding crack as I opened it. (How did it make its way to that bookstore, never once being opened?)
And. Oh my goodness, and. This. This is by far my favorite edition, and one of my most treasured books that I own. (I don’t care how big the fire is; me, my cats, and this book are coming out unscathed.) This is a box set of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights & Charlotte’s Jane Eyre printed in 1943 by Random House. It has absolutely stunning wood carving illustrations created by Fritz Eichenberg, and I could not imagine a better way to illustrate this two novels. The pictures are spooky and haunting and simply mesmerizing. I went to an estate sale with my boyfriend a few years back, and ran across a box set of these books that I proceeded to purchase for $4.00. (ERM. WHAT?) I was in a phase in my life where I thought I would enjoy cultivating an Etsy shop selling books: older editions, unique covers, quirky and whimsical titles. So what did I do? I sold it. Then about a week later went into a book induced depression after realizing that I loved that box set more than any sane person should, and I never should have sold it. About a month later, my boyfriend shows up at my door with another box set, this one actually in far better condition! (I’m telling you, that guy really is the best.)
So there you have it. My Janes.
I’ll leave you with this: I think the one resounding thing that has always stuck out to me about Jane Eyre is her dogged determination to be better than what those around her expect her to be. I have such admiration for that quality. Having had moments in my life where I felt the need to go beyond other’s expectations for me, I find it incredibly reassuring to know that she is waiting at home for me, reminding me that I have the strength to be my best self (even when it’s not the simplest course of action).
I will now leave you with a picture of me holding my Penguin Putnam Jane Eyre mug, wearing my Jane Eyre quote scarf, and carrying my Jane Eyre tote bag. #obsessedmuch
Do any of you own multiple copies of the same book? Has it ever led you to someone else with the same obsession?
31 thoughts on “Reader, I Found a Friend: Guest Post From Lindsey!”
That’s great! It’s wonderful when the internet allows us to make those kinds of connections with people.
I love Jane Eyre, but not enough to have nine editions of the novel. Is the text different in any of these editions (apart from the graphic novel)? I have a couple of copies of Jane Eyre, but I’ve never noticed who published them, and the most recent version I read was electronic. I read that version last year, just after reading Margot Livesey’s retelling, The Flight of Gemma Hardy (which I didn’t think lived up to the original, but how could it?).
(When Lindsey finds time she’ll respond to this too.)
As far as I can tell, none of the editions contain different text. The only thing I’ve noticed is that occasionally Jane is called “Joan” by her nasty cousin. That was considered a poor and degrading nickname. Some publishers keep it, others take it out to avoid confusion.
I didn’t think Livesey’s retelling lived up, either. It was a good book, but I think it mirrored JE too closely and fell flat. There was something about the time and setting that the JE plot just didn’t fit with.
Yeah! I agree that Jane Eyre really loses something when it changes time and place so dramatically (I wrote about the retelling on my blog on Feb. 6, 2013). The relationship between Sinclair and Gemma was icky, the reason for Gemma’s flight didn’t make as much sense as the reason Jane left, and it felt like Livesey really waivered on whether to make Gemma plain. It was a good attempt at a retelling, though.
I didn’t know I loved it enough to own this many copies until I was reorganizing my books and realized I owned 5 copies! Now I’m always on the hunt for more – I like to check at estate sales and indie used bookstores, when I find them randomly it always seems like it was meant to be 🙂
And I’m glad both you and Laura felt that way about Gemma Hardy … I had it on my TBR pile for a while, but then I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t want a retelling so I took it off my list.
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Raised A Reader
Wait, wait, wait. There’s a graphic novel edition of Jane Eyre? When did this happen!? :0
I love Jane Eyre, and it was so cool to see all the different covers!
OMG Yes. There is a graphic novel edition. I was completely blown away when we first came across it, and as soon as it came in the bookstore I bought it (I don’t think it had even touched the shelf yet 😉 I’ve never read a graphic novel before, so it was interesting trying to figure out how the speech bubbles were supposed to go, but I love it so much. The classic text and the darker illustrations … it’s almost as though Jane Eyre was always supposed to be adapted into a graphic novel! 🙂
Raised A Reader
That sounds amazing. I must go track a copy down for myself. It seems like the perfect companion to the original Jane Eyre novel.
I loved seeing all the different covers. Have to admit, I’ve heard of people going back and re-reading passages or chapters of books, but only books they’ve finished. You’re the first person I’ve heard of who hasn’t actually finished the book! I read Jane Eyre many years ago in middle school and you’ve inspired me to read it again.
It’s really the strangest thing ever, and I’ve never done it for any other book! (I normally can’t even read two books at once, it gets me all discombobulated!) The craziest thing is that, in essence, I have read the whole book. Just not in the correct order. So weird! It’s actually one of my goals this year, to read it straight through, all proper like. 😉
I hope your next visit to Thornfield Hall is as wonderful as every visit of mine has been!
Middle school! I’m surprised you read it then, rather than later. How’d that class go? Did the students enjoy it?
Another fellow Jane Eyre book nerd. I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for commenting!! I love being able to share my book love with people, and especially in such unique ways. Thanks to Laura for being so game for a dual post! 🙂
Anything for Jane Eyre!
Lindsey! I love this! Your editions are amazing! We actually had a print of Fritz Eichenberg’s carving of Heathcliff by a tree at an exhibit in the museum I used to work at. I loved it. And the graphic novel edition, wow!!!! That looks soooo cool, I must find that! 🙂 I like that you both posted a guest post on each other’s blog, very fun idea.
Morgan!! I love them so much, and I’m happy you could finally see them! As for Fritz Eichenberg – ohmygodsomuchlove!! I’ve really considered looking for the print above of Jane & Rochester by the tree to hang up in my house somewhere. (But that would be one more thing I’d have to make sure gets out if any fires start, haha.)
Oh, and also, just so you know, this also exists. :))
I’m guessing based on Lindsey’s comment that you’re a Wuthering Heights fan?
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Ha! I’ve been visiting loads of bookshops in London and Oxford this week and every time I saw Jane Eyre I thought of you! I still just have my two (or three, if you count the eBook) copies.
Remember that really nice yellow one you showed me? Apparently only one store sold it for some time. Still on the hunt for it 😉
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I love pretty classics! Canterbury Classics/Word Cloud Classics (because I think they go by both) are probably my favorites because they’re so beautiful and the end pages are perfect. I only own Pride and Prejudice in that edition, but I’ve made it my goal to collect them all and I don’t care if I already own that book. I am getting the very beautiful Word Cloud Classics. I have to admit that I’m an uncultured swine and have not read Jane Eyre yet, but I do own it and will read it by the end of 2014.
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I’ll never forget the first time I read JE. I was 11 years old and I think it was in Autumn 2000. We were going away and I got very bored in the car, (still do!) without a book so my mum gave me the paperback copy of Jane Eyre she owned at the time and placed it on my lap. From the first page I loved it! I remember not being keen on Rochester because of the way he deceives Jane but as I got older I understood Rochester more and more and fell head over heels in love with him. In September 2000 I started high school and I was bullied which made me very unhappy so Jane became my best friend and as I thought myself plain I could easily understand what Jane meant when she wishes she were pretty.
Jane Eyre has also distracted me from my disability and has made me believe that a man will love me for who I am despite my disability like Jane loves Rochester even though he is blind. It also taught me to resist temptation and I was amazed at how strong Jane was in leaving Rochester even though she loved him so much, I remember thinking how hard that must have been.
One of the reasons I love Jane Eyre so much is because Jane stands up for herself and overcomes ever obstacle that people put in her path; I also love her morals too and I also like the fact that she is plain but is such a strong heroine. I love the language in this novel and think it is beautifully written.
Another reason why I love it is because there is a brooding, dark, blunt, rude but a very passionate and gorgeous hero in the novel (what woman doesn’t like one of those?!) which is Mr. Rochester who loves Jane for who she is, is very kind to her and treats her like an equal, I know that he has his faults but I can’t help but fall for him! I also find him a very sympathetic character because he has a lot of very unfair things to deal with in his life.
My favourite parts of the novel are:
When Jane and Edward first meet
The first conversation they have
After Jane saves Edward from the fire
The conversation they have when Jane leaves the drawing-room
When Jane finds out Edward is the gypsy
When Jane asks Edward’s permission to leave Thornfield Hall
When Jane returns to Thornfield Hall
The proposal! (This part is so passionate and romantic!)
When Edward is explaining everything to Jane after their interrupted marriage and is trying to convince her to stay with him (I nearly cry when I read that part!)
The reunion of Jane and Edward
Every time I read Jane Eyre nowadays I still feel like Jane is my friend telling me everything about herself, I love to read it in bed where I can get cosy and fall in love with the novel and Mr. Rochester all over again! My mum often passes me one of my copies when I’m upset or ill. I often forget my worries when I read it. When I can’t sleep I read it, I once read parts of it at 5:00am! It sounds crazy I know! I read it many times a year. Edward Fairfax Rochester is my favourite hero in English Literature. I reread iast month as I was going through a tough time and needed my comfort book. Once again, JE helped me and comforted me. Thank you Charlotte Bronte.
I have no words for you! I agree with EVERYTHING and I just want to HUG YOU.
Thank you. Hug back! I’m glad I can talk about JE with other people. Love this so much! x
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