Tag Archives: Janeites

5 Reasons To Attend The 2018 JASNA AGM

Every year, for one weekend, Janeites across the country gather together at the JASNA AGM to celebrate all things Austen. This year, the AGM will be held in Kansas City at the end of September.  The subject is Persuasion and with a little luck, Amanda Root, who played Anne Elliot in the 1995 Persuasion will be in attendance.

Below, are the five reasons to attend the 2018 JASNA AGM:

  1. The chance to travel to cities that you otherwise might not have visited. Last year’s AGM was held in Huntington Beach, California. I can say now that I’ve been to California, which I couldn’t say before last fall.
  2. You get to meet Janeites from across the country and across the world.
  3. The speakers are amazing. The variety of subjects that relate to Jane Austen and novels are nothing short of dizzying.
  4. The Emporium is heaven. T-shirts, books, tea, etc. Every year, I have to remind myself that there is only so much room in my suitcase.
  5. Last, but not certainly least is the ball. Not everyone dresses up or dances, but it is certainty the highlight of every AGM, for me at least.

 

This is one trip I am looking forward to. Perhaps I will see one of you there.

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Persuasion

Reading Jane Austen Book Review

Jane Austen and her novels continues to be read and discussed for good reason.

Jenny Davidson’s new non fiction book, Reading Jane Austen, basically explains not only why her novels are timeless, but why we are still reading them 200 years later. While talking about the formal structure of the novels and how Austen created new techniques to develop her narrative and her characters, Ms. Davidson also talks about themes such as the rules of society and how women were seen treated.

This book is well written and enjoyable to read. I will however warn that it meanders towards academic writing at several points and new Janeites may not understand the writing as well as Janeites who are well versed in Jane’s novels.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Feminism, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Writing

Bingley’s Teas

There are two kinds of tea in this world. There is the ordinary bland, factory made tea that can be purchased at any deli or grocery store. Then there is the tea that from the moment you open the bag to the last drop going down your throat wraps you in tea heaven.

This is Bingley’s Teas.

Named for Charles Bingley from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this delicious, loose tea made with a variety of ingredients offers a delectable range of teas to choose from. Opening a bag of Bingley’s Teas is akin to being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter day. Whether it is a black tea to help you get up in the morning or a green tea to sooth the nerves after a long day of work,  this tea is far and away one the best tea brands I’ve ever had.

And of course, their Jane Austen tea line is sheer perfection. My personal favorite is Lizzie Bennet’s Wit.

If you must buy tea, I absolutely recommend Bingley’s Teas. It will forever change the way you drink and appreciate tea.

 

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thoughts On The 2017 JASNA AGM

Imagine if you will, an academic conference, but with a twist. Add in a dedicated fandom with lots of goodies to bring home (and a good amount of attendees playing dress up) and you have the 2017 JASNA AGM.

Held in Huntington Beach, California, the title of this year’s conference was Intimations of Immortality. We remembered Jane on the 200th anniversary of her passing as we celebrated her life, her books and her legacy.

The AGM is more than my vacation. This year it was a chance to visit California, spend time with my friends and celebrate anything and everything relating to Jane Austen. It is a chance to thoroughly geek out and know that the people you are with understand why you geek out. It was a chance to dress up, dance and spend three days thoroughly immersed in Jane.

While I enjoyed the AGM (as I do everytime), it was the company (and the heavenly beach in Southern California) that always makes an AGM worth it.

Next year, Janeites  (as we are commonly known) will congregate for our next AGM in Kansas City where we will be celebrating Persuasion and hopefully not fangirling over Amanda Root (Anne Elliot in the 1995 Persuasion).

I hope to see you all there.

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Filed under Books, Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

The Real Jane Austen Book Review

When Jane Austen died in 1817, she ascended to the status of legend. While we talk about her in terms of her as a giant of literature, she was also a human being.

Published in 2013, The Real Jane Austen, by Paula Byrne, extend’s Austen’s legend while at the same time speaking of ordinary things that made her human. Ms. Byrne writes about the ordinary aspects of Austen’s life: a gold chain, a hat, a notebook, etc. Interweaving aspect of her life with her novels and her characters, the book speaks to Austen fans whom have cravings to learn about the minutiae of her life and only come to appreciate her more once they have read the book.

I’ve read a lot about Jane Austen (as anyone who knows me and/or follows this blog). She is one of my writing heroes and never fails to inspire me. What I truly appreciated about this book is that not only is the mostly non-linear narrative, but there is a life to this biography. By writing not just about the large accomplishments, but about the tiny details of Austen’s life, Ms. Byrne has only increased my appreciation for Jane Austen.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, Writing

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

This weekend was the weekend that Star Wars fans have been waiting and hoping for. Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally premiered.

It takes place three decades after Return Of The Jedi ended. The old Empire is a thing of the past. But the dark side lingers. The new leader of the empire is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). He is driven by one goal: to find and kill the last Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). But Luke has disappeared without a trace.

Luke’s sister, the former Princess now General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is still the head of the rebellion. She sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to locate her brother. While his mission is still in progress, Poe is captured by the empire, but a storm trooper with second thoughts about his life choices, Finn (John Boyega) helps Poe to escape. Crash landing on the planet, Jakku, Finn is helped by Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger whose family abandoned her long ago. Poe’s droid, BB8, holds the key to finding Luke.

Rey, Finn and BB8 find the Millennium Falcon while escaping the Empire. This brings Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) back into the fold.

Can our heroes, both new and old, defeat the new empire or will the empire win?

When it was announced several years ago that Disney had acquired the rights to Star Wars and J.J. Abrams was to direct Episode 7, many among the fan community were concerned. As much as I like Disney films, they are a world apart from Star Wars. Thankfully J.J. Abrams (who is also a fan) and co-writers Lawrence Kasdan (who had a hand in Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi) and Michael Arndt wisely returned to the elements that made the first three films instant classics: a solid story, excellent actors and practical effects.

As the director, J.J. Abrams wisely utilized film to shoot as a pose to digital cameras. The film feels very much like the first three films: fresh, fun and entertaining.

One of my favorite elements of the film is Kylo Ren. Unlike Darth Vader, there is still a humanity to him. He is a nuanced villain whose reasons I will not give away, but I will say that he is not simply a villain because the film needed one.  Another element of the film that I loved as a female fan was the element of not just more women, but strong female characters. Besides Rey and Leia,there is Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), a Yoda like figure and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) a female captain of the empire. My only quarrel with the filmmakers was a scene where one the female characters was briefly a damsel in distress, which felt out-of-place for her, but that is all I say.

The movie clocks in at around two hours. Normally I would say that a movie that is two hours should have left some scenes for the extras section of the DVD, but for Star Wars, I will make allowances.

And, if any of my fellow Janeites have also seen this film, they will see a performer who has in the past, played a role in an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Her time on-screen is brief, and I will not give away who she is, but she is there.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is presently in theaters. 

 

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Filed under Feminism, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars

A Dolls House- A Timeless Masterpeice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that certain stories are meant to live forever, re-visited and introduced again and again to audiences.

Such is Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece, A Doll’s House, presently at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music until March 23rd.

Nora and Torvald Helmer (Hattie Morahan and Dominic Rowan, Elinor Dashwood in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility and Mr. Elton in the 1996 Kate Beckinsale Emma, for my fellow Janeites) have been married for nine years.  The play opens just before Christmas, Torvald is waiting for a promotion to bank manager, which will mean a raise. His wife, Nora, appears to be flighty and somewhat dimwitted.

The arrival of Nora’s childhood friend, Kristine Linde (Caroline Martin) reveals that Nora is much more than she appears.  Early into her marriage, Torvald became sick.  Following doctors orders, they traveled to Italy where the warm weather was recommended to improve Torvald’s health. Unbeknownst to her husband, Nora took out a loan which she is secretly paying off and has not told him. One of her husband’s employees, Nils Krogstad (Nick Fletcher) knows that he will be out for a job very soon and tries to use the unpaid loan to get his job back.

This play is amazing. Morahan is perfect for Nora and Rowan is equally as perfect as Torvald.  The tension is there from the moment that it starts. The audience knows Nora’s secret and we all know that it will only be a matter of time before Torvald finds out. The slamming of the door at the final moments of play reverberated throughout the theater.

I’ve heard of this play, but I’ve never seen it.  I hope to see it next time it comes my way.

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Feminism, Reviews