Monday, December 11, 2006

The Jane Austen Book Club

My husband doesn't understand why I love Jane Austen. This is not surprising to me given the fact that he considers the film Team America high quality entertainment. What he doesn't understand is that people of Austen's time (nineteenth century) weren't able to emote the way we do today. There is so much going on beneath the surface of her characters that one has to really pay attention to the dialogue and the dynamics of their interactions with one another.

Jane Austen fans and members of the fiction book discussion group here at the Kankakee Public Library got together last week to discuss a book about a Jane Austen book club, appropriately named...The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler. As good book discussions often do, it went beyond the characters in the book or even in Austen herself. We contemplated the lost art of reading the classics, what significance a nineteenth century writer has on today's society and most importantly, why Colin Firth made the most dashing Mr. Darcy in any film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Most of us agreed that we enjoyed Fowler's book, but frankly any excuse to discuss Austen is a treat. My husband still shakes his head in amazement that I (or anyone) would voluntarily discuss an author who has been dead for nearly 200 years. I'm just hoping that people will be discussing her in another 200 years.

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services


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