Celebrating Jane Austen’s Birthday at My Jane Austen Book Club… & A Giveaway!

Austen_vert_compl02Maria Grazia at her Jane Austen Book Club blog is today celebrating Jane Austen’s birthday by posting various writers’ and bloggers’ thoughts on What would my life have been like without Jane Austen? – here is what I wrote…

What would my life have been like without Jane Austen?

Hard to imagine, really, but here goes with a list of what would been missing in my life if Jane Austen had not written her 6 novels, etc:

I wouldn’t have…

1. … befriended an amazing group of women from our first weekend sharing Jane Austen 20 years ago… we continue to have at least once a year “Wild Women Weekends” to discuss our latest reads and to just connect – and it all started with Jane Austen…

2. … had the repeat enjoyment of reading her novels over and over, always discovering something new;

3. … encountered the likes of Mr. Collins, Mrs. Elton, Mary Crawford, Mrs. Bennet, the Wicked Villians, and the Dashing Heroes [well, except for Edmund…];

Collins - P&P Brock - Mollands

[CE Brock, Pride and Prejudice. image: Mollands]

4. … appreciated the English language in quite the same way… the Wit, the Irony, that Free Indirect Discourse! – Who else does it quite like this! [well, after giving Shakespeare his just due…];


5. … read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and therefore would not have discovered Richard Armitage as John Thornton;

6. … had to contend with the various screen Mr. Darcy’s and the endless conversations as to who is the best:

Darcy - wishbonedarcy-allureofbooks

dancing five positions

7. … learned about the fascinating history of the time – social life and customs, British history, military history and the Royal Navy, architectural, artistic, fashion history, etc. – the list is endless, and the learning never stops…;


8. … had endless discussions on the value and virtues of Fanny Price with my very Anti-Fanny friend Sara;

Wentworth letter - Bowler Press 2

9. … read The Letter [i.e Capt. Wentworth’s “pierced soul”] – can one exist without memorizing that Letter?
[a Letterpress Broadside from the Bowler Press]

10. … had the pleasure of re-watching and critiquing the many movies!

bookcover-janeeyre11. … ,as a teenager, figured out the kind of Hero I wanted in my own life – if Jane Austen hadn’t written P&P, I would still be hankering after a Mr. Rochester or a Heathcliff – great reads but not nearly as healthy…;

12. … met so many fabulous and inspiring people in the JASNA community [as well as all the other worldwide Jane Austen Societies];


13. … started a blog and met such amazing people in the Jane Austen online community… and may have therefore had an inordinate amount of time to do something else!

14. … collected books: the various editions of the Jane Austen novels, books about Jane Austen, books inspired by Jane Austen, books about Great Britain, books about the Regency Period and its social life and customs – whatever would I fill my bookshelves with if Jane Austen wasn’t such a part of my life?!

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Happy Birthday Jane Austen! – little could you know of your legacy of enriching so many lives!

Austen Cassandra sketch



In honor of Jane Austen’s 238th birthday, I am offering a set of the Jane Austen Playing Cards, by Prospero Art.  Please comment below on What would your life have been like without Jane Austen?  by Sunday December 22 at 11:59 pm to be entered into the drawing [US entries only, sorry to say – our postage rates have made international shipping impossible…] – I will announce the winner on Monday December 23rd…


“Miss Eliza Bennet,” said Miss Bingley, “despises cards. She is a great reader,  and has no pleasure in anything else.”

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont