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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen Book review’

A WalkWith Jane Austen is a lovely book, full of unexpected insights and revelations. Lori Smith’s revealing and personal account is a pure joy to read. As a single, independent and talented woman she is in want of a man, but will not compromise her principles or her quest to experience romantic love in order to simply be with one. Sound familiar? This is one of the many parallels of Lori’s life to Jane’s. However, the one distinct difference between the two women is that Jane lived a geographically circumscribed and rather “eventless” life, whereas Lori is a seasoned world traveler who has embarked on a risky but life-altering journey.

In Part One of this very personal three part account, Lori travels to Oxford. Sitting in a church, she muses about Jane Austen’s faith. As I read Lori’s words, it occurs to me how universally loved Jane has become. Studying the world map sitting on my blog, Jane’s fans live in China, Korea, Italy, South Africa, Chili, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Bahrain, and of course, all the former British Colonies. How is it that Jane is able to attract a close following from so many countries and faiths? As Lori points out, while Jane is religious and operates from a moral foundation, she was spiritually reserved. “‘She was ‘more inclined to think and act than to talk‘ about her faith.” Lori is so right, and I wonder if Jane’s reserved approach to faith in her novels is one of the reasons she is so universally approachable and loved. In addition to our admiration of Jane’s enormous writing talent, her novels about families, friends, and love gone awry and set right again resonate with people from a variety of backgrounds and religions.

At Oxford Lori meets several guys from D.C., one of whom is named Jack. At first impression she likes his easy going humor and affability. And although Jack confesses that he had just begun to see another woman and wasn’t expecting to meet someone else, Lori cautiously and inexorably begins to fall for him. Her analysis of life as a single woman and quest for a man to share her life echo those of many single women. This includes Jane, who also preferred to spend her life single rather than settle on a mate just for the sake of getting married. Part One of the book ends with Lori spending a wonderful evening with Jack and friends, one that is filled with conversation and laughter.

Part Two of the journey begins with Lori thinking the whole world beautiful. But I’ll reserve a more detailed analysis of this section for another time. Ever the optimist, I had hoped to review this book chapter by chapter, however my current schedule simply will not allow it. Look for my next synopsis of this wonderful book over the weekend.

Visit Lori’s website here: Jane Austen Quote of the Day
Visit Lori’s other website here: Following Austen
Pre order the book here: A Walk With Jane Austen, Lori Smith

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On the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – she died 190 years ago today – I thought I would put a different spin on things and celebrate her life. Jane means so many things to so many people, and her popularity, instead of diminishing, increases each year. What is it about Jane that attracts so many to her? It seems that every time we turn around, another book about Jane’s life sits on a shelf in a book store and she is more popular than ever.

In her new book, A Walk With Jane Austen, author Lori Smith describes the first time she encountered Jane Austen in college. She discovered Pride and Prejudice in a used book sale, and so, over Christmas break, her love affair with Jane Austen began. My own relationship with Jane’s novels started during my fourteenth summer. Like Lori I have read Jane’s marvelous words ever since. But I digress. This post is meant to be a review of Lori’s quest to strengthen her relationship with Jane and, in doing so, gain a better sense of her own life, which was whirling out of kilter.

During a critical juncture in Lori’s life when she faced a personal crisis, she chose to do what many of us yearn to do but few actually dare, which is to leave everything behind and embark on a life altering journey. Lori’s account about her search for Jane is written on several levels, as a memoir and personal journey of faith and discovery, as a search for the places where Jane Austen lived and trod, as a straightforward history of Jane’s life, and as a way to deepen her understanding of the author.

One January not long ago Lori gave her notice at work. “In February I walked away from meetings and coffee breaks and lunch breaks and paid vacation and health insurance to the gloriously terrifying world of writing full-time.” Lori did not choose an easy road when she decided to walk with Jane Austen. Writing a memoir might seem straightforward on the surface, but…

There are enormous difficulties in reconstructing anyone’s life, for however copious the evidence of letters, diaries, journals, and eye witness accounts, there is always the problem of interpretation, of the subjectivity of witnesses, and of the basic contradictoriness of the human being. Moods and emotions are volatile, but when recorded on the page are often forced by posterity to carry a much greater weight than was ever intended by their author. The Art of Writing Biography

Lori’s journey is deeply personal, but one she willingly shares with her readers. The first chapter ends with her heading for Oxford, the city where Jane’s parents met and married.

I plan to review Lori’s book chapter by chapter. The book, published by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a Division of Random House, Inc., will be available this fall. Click here to visit Lori’s blog.

Click here for my post about Jane’s last illness.

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How delightful. Author Lori Smith has asked me to review her new book and I said I would be honored. A manuscript arrived in the mail today. So, here is what I shall do – Walk With Jane chapter by chapter and report back to you.

If you want to know more about Lori, check her wonderful site, Jane Austen Quote of the Day.

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Book Review: The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World, by Margaret C. Sullivan (Editrix of Austen Blog)

This book is both informative and a hoot. Two of us Janeites on the James looked through it today at lunch with delight, knowing we had found a fun, informative, and handy Jane guide. I loved the appendix most, and the glossary alone is worth my money. Ms. Leellie, a tad younger than moi, just couldn’t get enough of marriage proposals, engagements, and the like.

If you would like a quick reference about attire, carriages, getting around, playing card games, servants by duty and rank, treating the sick, giving dinner parties, and attending balls, then this guide presents information about them all in an easy and accessible format.

I think this book would be a particularly useful introduction for young Janeites who have just discovered their passion for Jane Austen. As for those of us who are slightly longer in the tooth and who have loved Jane for almost as long as she’s been buried, this is a must-have, quick pocket reference.

My Rating: Three Regency Fans
Run, don’t walk to the bookstore and purchase this guide.

Click here for order information.

 

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Seraphic Secret includes a quiz in their post, The Annoted Jane from a book titled So You Think You Know Jane Austen: A literary quiz book.
Take a partial quiz here.
And find the answers here.

Buy the book at Amazon.com.

Here is a quote from a March 16, 2007 New York Times article:

This challenging quiz book, intended for professional-grade Austen readers only, arranges questions, in four ascending levels of difficulty for each novel. Some questions are short, factual and to the point, like “How old is Darcy?” (The answer is 28.) Others require interpretation. Why, for instance, does Wickham elope with Lydia, since he is a mercenary cad and she has no fortune? The authors, John Sutherland and Deirdre Le Faye, need more than a page to answer this one.

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