Thursday, December 16, 2010
Happy Birthday, Jane!
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! Jane was born 235 years ago on December 16, 1775.
I came to love Jane late and only started reading her books about a year ago, in November 2009. I started with Pride and Prejudice, of course, being familiar with this story from movie adaptations I had seen. I then moved on and read Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and all the rest. Emma is my favorite. I can see that Jane herself was probably a template for Emma: feisty, independent, outspoken, yet a romantic dreamer. I think the real Jane was probably a bit more sensible, though.
Why do I love Jane? I think her books capture the desires of the hearts of all women--to be loved and cherished, to be respected and a partner and helpmeet to men who truly adore them. How many of us really find that in real life? I also love her descriptions of a simpler time where lives were not complicated by technology and relationships were important. I also admit a fancy to long dresses and shawls, fireplaces and comfy decor!
Are Jane's books "girly" books? I think not, though I know they are probably mostly read by women. But I think they can be entertaining to men--especially as a way to learn how women are, talkative, emotional, involved, relational--in a way that is non-threatening and fun. I've discovered one male blogger on the web who has been reading Jane and admits that it's made him adore his wife even more. That's simply wonderful! I respect him for reading Jane and for sharing his thoughts with us.
In celebration of Jane, here are just a few of the links I love:
Jane Austen Today
Jane Austen's World
Penguin Book's hardcover classic versions of Austen
Cross stitch kits inspired by Jane Austen
Jane Austen's House Museum
Jane is really "everywoman" and embodies these in each of her characters. She is a writer who has eternally captured our hearts because simply, she is one of us. Happy birthday, dear friend!