Ms. Place at Jane Austen Today is running another icon contest to give away a copy of the Becoming Jane DVD. The last one was wonderful! Can't wait to see what you all create for this one. Limit two icons per person. You have until midnight, February 27 to enter. Read all the details here. There are already some lovely entries.
There's a lovely interview with Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, over at Tina Ann Forkner's blog. She actually even mentions A Walk with Jane. (!) I was absolutely gobsmacked and thrilled when Karen took time to read my manuscript and gave us an endorsement. I can't imagine how busy she is -- the fact that she was willing to do that -- and liked it!! -- just meant so much to me. What a gift.
Wonderful interview, and I can't wait to read her new book, Wit's End. She mentions T.H. White's Once and Future King -- that's one that's been on my list to read. Have you read it?
A few snippets:
Karen Joy Fowler: (on including Grigg in her book) Austen is one of our greatest writers. Why wouldn’t a man be interested in reading her? This paradigm in which women read books by and about men, but men refuse to read books by and about women irritates me. The men I like best are not so narrow in their interests. The men I like best are the ones I put in my books.
SPV: There are many movie versions of Jane Austen’s novels. Do you think these are good substitutes for those who don’t have time to read the novels?
Karen Joy Fowler: The movies reduce the ways in which Austen can be understood, often promoting the romance over all other aspects of the books. So no, there are movie versions I quite like (and movie versions I quite loathe) but Austen is, first and foremost, about voice and narration and these are the things you immediately lose when you turn a book into a movie. I go to all the movie versions myself, but they are no substitute for the books, which make you feel as if you’ve spent some intimate time with Austen herself. (. . .)
There's a wonderful review over at Christian Book Previews:
The love story aspect of Smith's tour is wonderfully engaging, and the rarity of such intelligent and poetic writing makes reading this book pleasurable. In her memoir, Smith describes herself as thoughtful, passionate about faith, but uncomfortable with much of evangelical Christianity. Her candor and humor about the human failings of Christians, herself included, are extremely refreshing. . . .
I would recommend this to anyone who is remotely interested in Jane Austen, or to those who simply are hungry for an interesting and well-written memoir. (. . .)
They've also posted chapter one.
My deepest apologies and thanks to everyone who tried to make it out to the Sherwood Library event last Tuesday. What a night . . . I spent three hours in the middle of the ice storm (which didn't seem like it was going to be bad) trying to get there, only to have to turn around at 7:30 when I got to Old Town, Alexandria, which was a parking lot. Stopped at Wendy's, went to the bathroom, got back in the car for a two-hour drive home. Argh. All in all, five hours on the road to go 64 miles, which adds up to roughly 12 miles an hour. I was honored that anyone came out in that mess to hear me, and so frustrated not to be able to make it.
We've rescheduled for March 18 at 7:30 -- hoping for better weather!
I'm thrilled to announce this. A little while back I had the chance to do an interview with Sam Clay, director of the Fairfax County Library system, about A Walk with Jane Austen. The interview has now been posted on BookCast. It was so fun. I have to admit, I was literally giddy to meet the director of the Fairfax County Libraries. I realized that my status as a nerd is completely confirmed. I love libraries! You know, in college, the guys voted me most likely to be a librarian. I don't really think they meant that as a compliment.
(And in a James-Stanier-Clarke-like moment, Sam jokingly asked me if I might consider writing about his life. For the uninitiated, Clarke was librarian to the Prince Regent, and his requests that Jane write about his own life led to a series of very funny letters between them.)
I'll be speaking at several of the local libraries as well, starting tomorrow:
Hope you can join us for one if you're here in the D.C. area.
I've had the chance to do a bunch of radio interviews of late (thanks to the PR team at WaterBrook!) which has been fun. My favorite was when John Young at WNIV in Atlanta asked me if Jane was a good kisser. I think that may have been after asking me if I was a good kisser.
Tomorrow Pilgrim Radio Network will air an interview on all their stations out west, but you can listen online as well. It will run at 2:04 AM, 12:04 PM, and 9:04 PM PST. It was wonderful to have a chance to chat with Bill, who's just getting introduced to the world of Austen.
My niece, Grace, on going to Starbucks with her mom:
"Mom, I want a CRAP-u-ccino."
"You mean a CAP-u-ccino?"
"Yeah, a CRAP-u-ccino."
I'm pleased to report that Family Christian Stores is now carrying the book (though their web site doesn't seem to have it). I stopped by the local store recently to see if they had it, and when I asked the sales person (who looked like he could still be in high school) if I could sign them, he said very nervously, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I'm going to have to see some ID." At which point I struck a pose to see if he would recognize me as the same person on the back of the book. ;-) He let me sign, but I think he was still very worried.
Great piece by Richard Barlow at the Boston Globe this weekend:
From classic literature, religious lessons
Jane Austen, long revered in literature classes and more recently on movie and television screens, has become part of the iconography of another group: Christians.
Austen acolytes' hearts are being warmed this winter with a "Masterpiece" series of television movies based on the British novelist's books. The project boasts a particular Austen-Boston link, in that WGBH 2 produces "Masterpiece."
It is hardly surprising that public television sensed audience interest in the woman who penned such staples of English lit classes as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Pride and Prejudice." What's more intriguing is her particular appeal to Christian writers and readers. Last year, at least three Christian publishers brought out books about Austen.
This burst of interest might surprise some who are familiar with her writing. For one thing, Austen's characters who are clergy are a decidedly mixed bunch, some laudable, some loutish. And more importantly, Austen, in both her life and her literature, was not of the evangelical, religion-on-the-sleeve school.
In "A Walk with Jane Austen," published by WaterBrook, the evangelical imprint of Random House, author Lori Smith admits that some would cringe at the notion of Austen as a Christian writer. (...)