Lost Photographs of Jane Austen's NiecesLost photographs of Jane Austen's nieces and nephews have been discovered in an old photo album which was purchased on eBay. Karen Levers, 51, bought the book of Victorian photographs for $1,000 (£780) from eBay, expecting it to be full of pictures of 19th century aristocrats. Instead she found it to be filled with photographs of Jane Austen's nieces and nephews. The album was compiled by Lord George Augusta Hill, an aristocrat who married two of Jane Austen's nieces, Cassandra and Louisa, both of whom were daughters of her older brother Edward. What a find! Historians are currently examining the album and it is hoped there will be an exhibition of the photos in the future.
The Joy of Holding Onto Books Tidying guru Marie Kondo, whose latest series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has just been added to Netflix, is, on the whole, an excellent advisor when it comes to decluttering your house and your life in order to bring calm. Her advice is that if you feel anxious and out of control, making your home less of a tip might help to bring you comfort. However, in one episode of the new Netflix series Kondo helps two male writers declutter their very tidy home. Her ruling on their book collections that “books are a reflection of our thoughts and values,” and to decide whether to keep or keep rid of them on the basis of “will these books be beneficial to your life moving forward?” was not one which was well-received by book lovers. One avid reader who took to Twitter to voice her dissent was Anakana Schofield:
Books are not a reflection of our thoughts and values, because more often than not they reflect someone else’s, whether it is Lolita, Mrs Dalloway or Snoopy. [...] The question of whether my books will be beneficial to my life moving forward requires a biblio-telepathy I do not possess. Success is, eventually, actually reading your unread books, or at least holding on to them long enough that they have the chance to satisfy, dissatisfy or dement you. Unread books are imagined reading futures, not an indication of failure.We thought this was an excellent alternative stance to take when it comes to books and whether to keep them or not. We also fully support Schofield's closing statement:
Rather than following Kondo’s rules, I’d like to suggest another: it should be obligatory that all living spaces come with built-in bookshelves. (And a hammock.)
Words We Love This week while compiling the Jane Austen News, we came across an excellent article from the magazine Paper City. In it, various members of the magazine team had been asked to name their favourite words/words they want to share - as a sort of "word of the day" type of exercise, only with a more personal touch. These were a few of our favourites:
Word of the Day? I love discovering new words. I usually find several new, wonderful words when I am reading books by English writers.
My latest discovery and my word of the day is palimpsest. Meaning a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for other writing, but of which traces remain.
Linda Kenney, Account Executive
For my answer, maybe I’ll focus on alliteration and allow myself only a few today starting with the letter v: voracious, vapid, veracity, vexing, vehement.
Billy Fong, Culture and Style Editor
A parvenu...“one who has recently or suddenly risen to an unaccustomed position of wealth or power and has not yet gained the prestige, dignity, or manner, associated with it.”
Rebecca Sherman, Home Design Editor.
My word is gumption. I was reminded of this word after watching The Holiday. It’s a word I want to use and embody more in 2019.Now comes the question we had to ask; what are some of your top "words to share" words?
Maggie Wilson, Events and Partnerships Manager
This Week's Recommended Read This week's recommended read is a book which, if you follow book awards, you've probably already heard a bit about. It comes from 27-year-old Irish novelist Sally Rooney, who has won the Costa Novel Award (the youngest person to ever claim the prestigious award) with the book. It's also won the Specsavers National Book Award in 2018, and was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. The book in question is called Normal People and it's Rooney's second book. Normal People, is a coming-of-age love story which the Costa Novel award’s judges said would “electrify any reader”. The book is about Connell and Marianne who both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there though; they are from very different worlds. That said, they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years. Normal People is now favourite to win the Costa prize for overall book of the year at the end of the month.
It is the first novel I have read that has convincingly captured what it is to be young today: often overeducated, neurotic, slightly too self-aware.We loved reading it at the Jane Austen News and thought you might enjoy it too.
Guardian Reviewer, Sian Cain
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I love forward to visiting Bath this Saturday, hopefully I will be able to see where Jane and Cassandra lived (and the Jane Austen gift shop!)
That photo album was an amazing find! I especially liked seeing Fanny, as she was so close to her aunt.