Share This

Dear Thursday: The Jane Austen Book Club [Book 13 of 2010]

Now two books behind on my reading goal, but this might be a good thing as I can do a whole week of book reviews if I keep it up. Go Team! Anyway, let’s get back into the swing of things with a book I’ve been meaning to read for over five years. Ah well, better late than never.

Why I Decided To Read It: Saw the audiobook at the library and was like, “Oh wait, I’ve been meaning to read that for years now!” So I picked it up.

What It’s About: Six Austenites of different ages and lifestyles form a book club.

What Makes It Different: Austen homages are huge now, but I think this might have been the first.

What I Loved: Well, being in the “she’s awright” camp on the whole Jane Austen fandom thing, this book didn’t irritate me with it’s super-fandom. It was also twee and light — yet surprisingly deep at parts.

What I Didn’t Like: This book is very, very, very white bread — I mean really white bread. And the dialogue wasn’t stellar. Everyone kind of sounds alike.

Writing Lessons Learned:

Find your passion. This novel shouldn’t have been my cup of tea. It’s vignettey, and nothing much happens, and it has like zero-diversity — but I thoroughly enjoyed it because the characters (and obviously the author) were so very passionate about Austen. Passion makes up for a lot.

Sweat the little stuff. What’s really interesting about this novel is that all the interesting stuff happens between the chapters. If someone gets hurt, in an argument, or broken up with, we don’t see it. So there’s lots of emphasis on the little stuff like memories and social hiccups, and that lack of conflict makes for a surprisingly enjoyable read. Sometimes it’s nice to just read a cozy novel without all the yuckiness that comes with actual conflict.

Strange Structure. The novel I’m working on now has a strange structure that I’ve been wanting to implement for over eight years — basically 24 chapters that take place on one day in a month over two years. So it was nice to see someone else implement a strange structure successfully. This novel is structured around six book club meetings, in which each of Jane Austen’s six novels are discussed. It allows for loose storytelling that never roams too far afield, because it’s tethered to the book club meetings.

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: People Who Just Read Something Really Intense And Need A Palate Cleanser, English Majors, and Jane Austen Buffs (though if you’re really a buff, you’ve probably already read this).

Click on the cover pic to buy the book!