Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Jane Austen Book Club

OK, I have got to admit, I really like this movie. I love the small parallels to the Austen novels and the insights that the characters have on Austen's novels. I love the idea of having a book club that focuses only on Austen, for six months.

If you were to host a book club, what novels would you read? The idea behind the Austen book club was "let's pick books we've all already read". That premise does make a certain amount of sense. What books have all young people today read? Perhaps Harry Potter, although a book club on that might be unproductive as I feel like all it's secrets have been delved.

Going off the idea of Jane, Louisa May Alcott wrote several little pieces and eight (I think) main novels, all of which are fairly predictable but filled with old- fashioned goodness.Then, of course, there's Lucy Maud Montgomery. She, according to Wikipedia, wrote 20 novels. I think you'd have to choose which of her 20 to read, in order to keep any kind of book club short, but most of them come in sets of twos or threes (except the incorrigible Anne).

And speaking of Lucy Maud, if anyone wanted to get me a present (I don't see why you would, but just to make conversation), I would LOVE this book:
http://roomofbensown.net/the-blythes-are-quoted/

According to Wikipedia, LMM wrote this book just before her death to include snippets of the Blythe's lives after the devastating war in Rilla of Ingleside. This book was shortened and edited and published in 1974 as "The Road to Yesterday" (which I actually have, I bought it for myself around 4 years ago). However, a newly released "unabridged" version is now available in paperback, and it allegedly includes some poems that Walter Blythe wrote to Una Meredith (any non-Anne fans will be confused at that point).

While we're on the subjects of unknown novels, Austen herself wrote an unpublished novel that I would consider adding to the mix if I were to host an Austen book club. It's called "Lady Susan" and can be found in most complete collections of Austen novels but is not published alone (at least, I can't find it). Also, Louisa May wrote three novels under a pseudonym. I think those would be fascinating to read - they must not have been her normal style if she felt the need to write them as someone else.

And now, a question - do all writers leave work behind? It seems to me that every writer has something that was published posthumously. Why is that? Part of me thinks that we shouldn't publish works posthumously, because what if those works were not meant to be published? But then the selfish side of me, the side that wants to see more into the lives of the characters, decides that it's alright.

1 comment:

Liz said...

If I were to host a book club on just one series or set of related books that most of my friends have read, I would, most predictably, choose works by Tolkien.