Reading Jane Austen


beth’s Emma



This is my Emma. Five years ago, during the Best Christmas Holiday
Ever, we stopped at a gas station on the way to the beach. There she
was in a Boston Globe Family Classic display amongst the Treasure
Islands and Black Beautys, I just knew I had to have her. The vacation
itself was bright and sunny, walking near the ocean on Christmas day
in 50 degree weather enchanted me in a way I still can’t describe.
Emma has become my touchstone to that past. Her jaunty, knowing smile,
the way she holds her pairs of cards, the way the artist liberally
applied the paint … I look forward to it each and every night.

I haven’t made much progress, though I am trying. After listening to
the audiobook and watching several versions of the movie, I find the
words opening up to me in a way they never did before. I realize now
that it’s funny, tender at times and sweet. As I’m reading I picture
Jane herself writing, crossing phrases out and struggling to say just
what she intends.

I look forward to our time together next month and hearing what
everyone else thinks of our first foray into the world of Austen.


“Emma” vs. Real Life


I had planned on at least starting our first book by now, but I haven’t.  Not even one chapter.  I did manage to find time to buy a copy (the Barnes and Noble edition, which hurt a bit in my anti-corporate heart, but it was my favorite on the shelf at the – ahem – Dartmouth Bkstre.) and read the first line kneeling on the floor in front of two shelves full of Austen: “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

My reading hours have been overrun by review books (paid work) and I see no clearing until late March.  But I’ll still manage to finish by the time we meet in April.  And, as April grows ever larger on the horizon, does anyone have any preferences on dates, times, or locations?  I know there’s a school vacation that month which some of us might try and take advantage of to fly to warmer locations.  Not my family, but other, more adventurous ones.  We can book a room at the Howe Library again, but if anyone has any cozier ideas I’d love to hear them.

Probably the best way to read Ms. Jane is by firelight, with endless cups of tea appearing at your elbow through no effort of your own.  Maybe a light rain softening the view out the windows.  Well, we have the rain.  Like everything else, she’ll just have to find her place in my day.

Here she is, welcoming us…

(My almost three year old calls her Jane Awesome.  Which she totally is.)

Hope you’re all getting more read than I am!


Welcome to Ever Austen

Hello!  We thought a web site would be the easiest way to keep in touch and share information.  Our vision: reading Jane Austen’s books – all the way through! – and sharing our questions, answers, confusions and delight.

“Emma” will be our first selection.  We hope to meet again in early April to discuss the book, but if that feels a bit optimistic as March progresses, let us know and we can amend our schedule.  We all know too well how pesky and demanding daily life can be.

Please feel free to share links, resources, ideas and stories in the comments or email – we consider this a collaborative effort and welcome input!

Cheers, dears,