When Should I Start Worrying About My Pride & Prejudice Obsession?

Guys, I have a sort-of-awkward question to ask you.

Since the start of the New Year, I have consumed over a dozen Pride and Prejudice adaptations, with no signs of slowing down. In addition to listening to the original text on audiobook (beautifully performed by Rosamund Pike), as well as Bridget Jones’s Diary, I’ve watched:

  • the 1995 BBC miniseries,
  • the 2005 Keira Knightley version,
  • (twice),
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,
  • Austenland,
  • The Jane Austen Book Club, and
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I’ve also read:

  • Eligible, last year’s atrocious modern retelling,
  • Epic Fail, another lousy adaptation set in a Los Angeles high school,
  • Austenland (the book), and
  • The Jane Austen Book Club (ditto).

Oh, and I bought myself these adorable post-its.

I can’t decide if there’s something deeply wrong with me, or if this is the best use I’ve ever made of my free time. It seems impossible, even to me, that I have not yet tired of this story and these characters—despite the occasional unfortunate rendering. But there’s no such thing as a healthy addiction, even to Jane Austen… and the rest of my TBR is growing resentful.

So, inevitably, my question is this: When should I start worrying? Where is the line between everyday-fan-of-a-beloved-classic and devout-disciple-of-a-new-religion? Is it when I begin referring to my husband as “Mr. Darcy” and asking him to call me “Miss Elizabeth”? Is it when I stop leaving my house? Is it when I start acting out scenes from the book with my Pride and Prejudice post-its?

Because, you know, I’d like to be on the lookout. The moment cannot be long in coming at this point.

P.S. If you have any recommendations for P&P adaptations not listed here, please send them my way. Thank you in advance.

I May or May Not—No, Wait, I Definitely and Doubtlessly—Have a Huge Crush on a 63-year-old

Remember when I tried to sell you all on Nick Hornby?

Well, consider this my official sales pitch for Bill Bryson, travel* writer to the stars. Hilarious, astute, and terribly, wonderfully relatable, Bill Bryson is an exceptional travel companion, a discerning guide on adventures both far and near, and a cautionary tale (in all the best ways).

*He’s also written on a diverse list of non-fiction topics like science. I couldn’t figure out a clever way to work that in, though.

I’ve only read a few of his books, but only because I’m saving and savoring them with as much restraint as I am capable of. I can’t bear the thought that, eventually, he will die—probably before I do—leaving a finite bibliography behind him, and that at some point in the future, I will finish reading every last word he ever penned.

Earlier this week, I began reading A Walk in the Woods, one of his most beloved travelogues, in preparation for the soon-to-be-released movie version starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson. The book is so funny, and charming, and warmly written that I catch myself daydreaming about what my own eventual hypothetical hike along the Appalachian Trail will would be like.

The point is: Read Bill Bryson as much and as often as you can. He’s like a lollipop for the soul. And if you don’t believe me, I dare you not to laugh at any of the excerpts below:

From I’m a Stranger Here Myself:

‎For reasons I cannot begin to understand, when I was about eight years old my parents gave me a pair of skis for Christmas. I went outside, strapped them on, and stood in a racing crouch, but nothing happened. This is because there are no hills in Iowa. 

Also from Stranger:

The other day I called my computer helpline, because I needed to be made to feel ignorant by someone much younger than me.

From The Mother Tongue:

It was the practice of aggrieved citizens at that time to scratch a curse on a lead tablet and toss it with a muttered plea for vengeance into the spring. The curses were nothing if not heartfelt. A typical one went: ‘Docimedes has lost two gloves and asks that the person who has stolen them should lose his minds and his eyes.’ 

From In a Sunburned Country:

It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect.

And, finally, from A Walk in the Woods:

Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.