A Giveaway for Jane Austen’s Birthday

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The Joy of Jane - Essays on the First 200 Years of Austen's LegacyIn honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, we are giving away five copies of the recently published essay collection The Joy of Jane. From the book’s website:

Although there were only six completed novels, Jane Austen left an enormous legacy when she died on July 18, 1817, at the age of only 41. The Joy of Jane brings together some of today’s leading writers and authorities on Jane Austen to offer their thoughts on her endearing appeal. They include:

MAGGIE LANE / DEIRDRE LE FAYE / SUSANNAH FULLERTON / RUTH WILLIAMSON / CARRIE BEBRIS / EMILY BRAND / PENELOPE FRIDAY / AMY PATTERSON / NIGEL STARCK / MARGARET SULLIVAN / KIM WILSON

Why yes, the Editrix has her share in the conversation, and we are honored to be included in this outstanding group of writers. Our essay is about Jane Austen as a professional author, and a little bit about what she might have thought about her current celebrity (and all the stuff that goes with it, she typed as she sipped tea from her brand-new “Janeite” mug). If you would like to purchase the book–it would make a tremendous holiday gift for any Janeite in our humble opinion–there are links at the bottom of the website linked above.

To enter the contest, post a comment below and be sure to leave a working email address in the email field. (If you are signed in to WordPress.com, that is sufficient.) U.S. and international readers are invited to enter this giveaway. Thanks to Landsdown Media for providing us with copies of the book.

ETA: to clarify how the giveaway will work, we’ll pick five random commenters below using the Random Integer Generator to match up with the comment number. Only one comment per person (the first one) will be counted as an entry. You can enter until 9 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on Saturday, December 17. Check the email address you left in the comment on Sunday morning to see if you are a winner–you will have to send me your address to receive the book. The email will be from the AustenBlog email address.

Jane Austen Travel Guide on Kickstarter

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Dutch Janeite, journalist, and photographer Karin Quint has put up a Kickstarter to have her travel guide, Jane Austen’s England, translated to English. If you pledge at least €20, you will receive a copy of the book (with an additional charge for shipping).

We know many Janeites are planning a pilgrimage to the UK to commemorate the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death in 2017, so this book will come in handy.

They are very, very close to reaching their funding goal, and there’s a couple of days left to get in on it. We’ve backed this project–won’t you?

(And being from Philadelphia, we are on board with the Rocky references!)

UPDATE: The goal has been reached! But you can still get in on it, and get a book when it’s done.

Free eBook: Furniture and Draperies in the Era of Jane Austen: Ackermann’s Repository of Arts

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Free on Amazon. The link is for Amazon U.S. Check your local site if you can’t get it. Sorry, the book is no longer free.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UTVCYE0/

REVIEW: Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

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among_the_janeites_coverDisclaimer: I was interviewed for this book, becoming acquainted (dare I say, friendly) with the author in the process. I disclose that for the sake of transparency; it did not affect my opinion of the book. -MCS

When we read Claire Harman’s book Jane’s Fame back in 2009, we were quite disappointed by what we perceived (perhaps somewhat defensively) as the condescending and dismissive way that Ms. Harman reported on the 21st-century Austen fandom, especially as compared to her treatment of Austen fans in earlier eras. She didn’t come right out and call us tea-sipping, cat-stroking, bonnet-wearing wet shirt fanatics, but one didn’t have to do much reading between the lines to get the impression she was barely holding back. At the time we wrote,

It would have been really interesting to have One Of Us, a Janeite who is “not afraid to be seen wallowing” as Ms. Harman put it, write an overview of the State of the Fandom, even a constructively critical one.

Gentle Readers, Jane Austen must have been smiling upon our wish, for it has been granted–and then some! Deborah Yaffe’s book, Among the Janeites, is all we hoped for when we wrote that review and more. Written with wit, intelligence, and tremendous affection, this “Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom” is the most thoroughly enjoyable Austen-related book we’ve read in some time. The subject interests us in any event–we like to say we are a frustrated sociologist, which is probably at least part of why we enjoy Austen’s work–but in the hand of the wrong author, one who is not quite as much in sympathy with the tribe of Austen, it could have been, like Ms. Harman’s book, a real missed opportunity. Fortunately that is not the case. Continue reading

REVIEW: A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz

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A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz Review by Kathleen A. Flynn

Part of the appeal of Jane Austen is that people read her work with very different kinds of pleasure, according to their level of understanding and what they seek. Some love the satisfaction of the smooth working-out of the love stories; others enjoy the wit and irony; some savor the mental journey to a world that seems more placid and stable, more refined and stately, than our own. And a few, like William Deresiewicz, a noted literary critic, find a guide to life. The premise of A Jane Austen Education is that reading the novels of Jane Austen taught him to be a better – kinder, wiser – person and was a vital part of his growing up.

Education takes us through the six novels and about seven years of Mr. Deresiewicz’s life, from age 26 to 33, tracing his progress from self-important graduate student, book-smart but incapable of genuine intimacy or independent life, to the moment he finally finds the right woman, having gained the insight that made real love possible.

Each Austen novel has its own chapter; each is presented as a way station on the writer’s journey to maturity. “Emma” looks at learning to see the importance of everyday, seemingly mundane matters. “Pride and Prejudice” focuses on the challenge of learning from one’s mistakes to see reality clearly, unblinded by emotion or self-interest. “Northanger Abbey” is about learning how to learn.  “Mansfield Park” examines how to distinguish what is glamorous and appealing from what is morally right. “Persuasion” addresses friendship, and the challenge of finding and keeping true friends as one moves past early adulthood. “Sense and Sensibility” explores real love versus the false romantic version of it that popular culture bombards us with. Continue reading

The Janeite Times, No. 7

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Stephanie Barron, author of the Jane Austen Mysteries (there is a new one, hurrah! More on that in Friday Bookblogging) wrote a piece for NPR’s Three Books feature, tying them into the bicentennial of the English Regency, which officially began 200 years ago. We have made notes on our reading list.

Lev Raphael, who also has a new Austen-related book (again, more in Friday Bookblogging), wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on loving Jane Austen. Wait, there are people who don’t love Jane Austen?

Carol Adams wrote a piece for the Washington Post enumerating myths about Jane Austen. We suspect there are probably more than five of them.

We weren’t going to mention this until Friday Bookblogging, but everyone’s sending the link. Novelist Joanna Trollope will be the first of (presumably) six authors “of global literary significance” who will each write modern-set adaptations of Austen’s novels, because that’s never been done before. Trollope will take on Sense and Sensibility. Has anyone asked V.S. Naipaul to contribute?

REVIEW: Pocket Posh Jane Austen: 100 Puzzles and Quizzes

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Pocket Posh Jane AustenWe can hardly find words to tell our Gentle Readers how much this little book made us squee. Yes, the Editrix, enthusiast of digital books and eschewer of all things Dead Tree, was squeeful over this pretty (and, yes, posh) little book.

First of all, it’s pretty! We just sat and admired it for a moment, thinking that the cover pattern looked rather William Morris-ish (a selling point in our opinion; we are a big fan of Arts & Crafts), and then turned it over to discover that the (removable) wrapped label stated it is indeed Morris’ Art Rose print. While not period-correct for Jane Austen, it is elegant and fitting. The book, with its curved corners and elastic wrap closure, looks rather like an especially attractive Moleskine journal.

And then inside–it’s a puzzle book! We love puzzle books, so to have a whole book of puzzles about Jane Austen is delightful! But it turned out that all the puzzles are not Jane Austen-related (and apparently we’re not too swift on the uptake, because it took us two or three puzzles to figure that out), but the quizzes that are Austen-related are not dumbed-down by any means. They include a series of questions about Jane Austen herself, places in the novels, and quizzes for each book. AND THEY ARE NOT EASY. LIKE WE SAID.

Non-Austen puzzles include crosswords, word search, Wordwheel, Codewords (our favorite), Arroword (which made us slightly nuts), Kriss Kross, Crossout, and other brain teasers and puzzles.

Pocket Posh Jane Austen would make a great gift for yourself or your favorite Janeite (and we spotted some other Pocket Posh titles in Barnes & Noble last week–Shakespeare and the King James Bible!). It’s summer, and vacation time–keep this little book and a mechanical pencil in your bag or pocket for airplane rides, car rides, the beach, the pool, chillin’ on the patio, and enjoy some laid-back vacation time while keeping your mind in excellent shape.

We received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.