Monday, September 23, 2013

Jane Austen Reading: The Details

I'm thrilled with the number of you interested in doing an Austen reading! I have a list of about 10 of you who responded on Facebook saying you were interested, and there is definitely room for more. So if you'd like to join us, please do!

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Jane Austen's Writing Desk, Jane Austen House Museum Source

So let's talk details.

First, which Austen novel do you want to read?  

To refresh your memory, here's the list:

Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey

There are plenty of plot summaries and online texts available if you don't have a paper copy of the novels, such as the ones at The Republic of Pemberley and Project Gutenberg.

Please let me know in the comments which one -- or ones -- you'd prefer to read. Maybe a first choice, second choice, etc. Or if you have absolutely no preference, you can let us know that too!

Second, please let us know if you are doing a re-read or if this is your first time reading Austen.

In other words, should we be careful not to give away any spoilers, or have you already read the books and/or seen the movies? :-)

Third: Schedule

Since I've never done a group reading before, I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas about how to set up the schedule. How often do you want to have discussions? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Let me know in the comments any preferences or suggestions you  have as to how often we should discuss and how much we should cover during each discussion.

Thank you!!


  1. 1) I am honestly fine with whatever book we choose to read. My top interests are Pride & Prejudice and Mansfield Park.

    2) This will be a re-read for me. I lean toward allowing spoilers (I think?!). :-) But I'm fine with not allowing them, if necessary.

    3) I like the idea of a weekly discussion since that would allow us to discuss smaller chunks of the novel. You might have some questions or observations for us to interact with; or you might get us started, and we in turn share our observations/thoughts/questions; or some weeks you could have one of the participants do a guest post and submit it to you to be posted (that might help share the burden of a weekly post?).

    1. Thanks for the ideas, Andrea! I think what you've suggested sounds very workable. And I had thought about giving some of the other participants the chance to do guest posts as well---It would be great if you could do one. ;-)

  2. I, too, am leaning towards P&P and Mansfield Park, mostly because those are the two I'm more familiar with out of the options. I'm a little more intimidated by the others since I've not actually read Jane Austen before, but I'm also up for a challenge. It will be great to learn from the great company of Austen pros participating in this! :-)

    Weekly discussions would probably keep everyone on track better. It's easier to get back with things if you only miss a week, whereas I'm inclinced to think that a biweekly discussion would be harder to keep up with because of the lapse of time (counterintuitive?).

  3. 1) I don't know anything about any of them! I've only ever heard of P&P and S&S, and occasionally Emma. I'm up for anything.

    2) This will be a first reading for me, so I vote no spoilers :)

    3) Weekly sounds good to me. How long are the chapters? If they are average-length chapters, one a week would be good. If they are short, two a week would work, too. is a good example of an online book-club-esque thing. It's a little different since he's reading the books for the first time, but most of the commenters are reading along with him, and you can see how he allows "coded" comments about spoilers using ROT13 and how he breaks books down.

    1. I'm excited you're joining us, Jessica! It's been so long that I can't really remember what it was like to read P&P for the first time, so I'm looking forward to getting your perspective and reaction to a story that is super familiar to me. :)

  4. This is Jessica Baker.
    1) My top 3 picks are Persuasion, P&P, and Mansfield Park.
    2) I have read and own all her book. I have seen most of the movies.
    3) My schedule is pretty open so anytime works for me.

    1. I'm glad you figured out the commenting thing, Jessica. ;) I love Persuasion would be great to do a Persuasion reading sometime in the future.

  5. I would love to actually finish Emma, Persuasion, or start Mansfield Park. I'm with Andrea that I don't mind spoilers, but I'm fine with whatever. I'm also good with weekly. I know Andrea from church and thanks for letting me join the discussion!!

    1. I'm very glad you want to join the discussion! Very nice to "meet" you. :-)