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Jane Austen News - Issue 149

What's the Jane Austen News this week? 


Lost Photographs of Jane Austen's Nieces

Lost 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:
The Tweet went viral and had over 25,000 replies. Of these, said Schofield in an article she wrote on the subject for The Guardian, "65% agree with me, 20% disagree, 3% think we are fighting over a football team and 5% insist Kondo’s position is way more nuanced than I give credit for".
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.

Maggie Wilson, Events and Partnerships Manager

Now comes the question we had to ask; what are some of your top "words to share" words?

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.

Guardian Reviewer, Sian Cain

We loved reading it at the Jane Austen News and thought you might enjoy it too.

Jane Austen Day with Charlotte Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Online Magazine. Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and Jane Austen news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop

2 comments

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!)

chapterette July 26, 2020

That photo album was an amazing find! I especially liked seeing Fanny, as she was so close to her aunt.

QNPoohBear July 26, 2020

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