2021 Reading List

January 9 Flying Colours by CS Forester moderated by Cathy

February 20 The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn moderated by Linda

March 20 The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow moderated by Barbara

April 17 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen moderated by Priscilla

May 15 Miss Austen by Gill Hornby moderated by Luisa

June 19 Not Just Jane….. by Shelley DeWees moderated by Carrie

July 17 Table read of play TBD moderated by Yvette

August Summer break

September 18 Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev moderated by Leslyn

October 16 Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens moderated by Phyllis

November 20 The Regency Years by Robert Morrison moderated by Hillary

December Jane Austen Birthday party TBD

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The Regency Years

For those who don’t know the Regency Era very well, the stereotype is all skin-tight buckskin and heaving bosoms. When this book was first published, however, The New York Times, in its review, reminds us that, ‘These were the years that saw an exhausted, impoverished Britain at war both internally (workers’ riots, Highland clearances, troubles in Ireland) and externally, thanks to many ruinous years of battling against Napoleon and almost three years of war against the United States.’ Goodness. It’s enough to make us sorry for the Prince Regent. Well, almost.

The Regency Years was named an Economist ‘History Book of the Year’ and The Times calls this book, ‘elegant, entertaining and frequently surprising’. What do you think? Hillary will moderate our no doubt lively discussion – supporters of the Prince Regent, come prepared to argue your case!

The Regency Years

by Robert Morrison

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm PST

Our Reading Group will be meeting via Zoom. If you’d like to join the meeting and don’t have access to the Zoom link, just ask permission from our site moderator at:  https://venturajaneausten.wordpress.com/contact/ We welcome all devotees of Jane Austen and the Regency Era.

A Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…… It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known”.

Comprising arguably the most famous first and last sentences in one novel, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities gives us a vivid tale of the French Revolution. But what does this have to do with Jane Austen?

Jane was born in December, 1776. That means she was 13 when the French Revolution broke out in 1789. She was 17 when Louis XVI was executed in 1793. Her formative teenage years were therefore spent in the figurative shadow of the guillotine. Is it possible that France’s continuing turmoil influenced Jane’s writing? – – that her novels of social stability are a reaction to her neighbors’ social and class upheaval?

What we do know for certain is that Jane’s family was personally affected by the events of 1789-1799. Jane’s glamorous cousin (and later sister in law, when she married Jane’s favorite brother Henry) was Eliza Hancock. Eliza married the Comte de Feuillide. Swept up in the country’s anti-aristocrat fervor, the Comte was executed in 1794. Jane was 18 at the time, and this event by all accounts left her with an enduring horror of the French Revolution.

This is probably not the first time we’ve read A Tale of Two Cities. Upon rereading, what new insights can we glean from this sweeping novel of both a society and a protagonist in the process of transformation? Phyllis will moderate our discussion.

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm PST

Our Reading Group will be meeting via Zoom. If you’d like to join the meeting and don’t have access to the Zoom link, just ask permission from our site moderator at:  https://venturajaneausten.wordpress.com/contact/ We welcome all devotees of Jane Austen and the Regency Era.

Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors

This past April, we read (ok, re-read) the original ‘light, bright and sparkling’ Pride & Prejudice. But can this classic be adapted for other times and other cultures?

Our Reading Group selection for this month transports us from Hampshire to San Francisco, and fast forwards us to the present day. This P&P version centers on an Indian American family. It also flips the Bennet/Darcy social status. Trisha Raje (our modern Elizabeth) is a brilliant neurosurgeon. This time, our hero is DJ Caine. No longer the master of Pemberly, our updated Mr. Darcy is now a less than affluent chef.

Does this updating work? Can you change cultures and centuries and transpose social status and still embody the themes that made the original timeless? Well, let’s find out! This month’s discussion will be moderated by Leslyn.

Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors

by Sonali Dev

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm PST

Our Reading Group will be meeting via Zoom. If you’d like to join the meeting and don’t have access to the Zoom link, just ask permission from our site moderator at:  https://venturajaneausten.wordpress.com/contact/ We welcome all devotees of Jane Austen and the Regency Era.

Not Just Jane

We’ve all read all Jane Austen’s novels. Chances are we’ve also read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. But weren’t there any other women writing in Britain for those one hundred years of the 1800s?.

In Not Just Jane, Shelley DeWees weaves history, biography, and critical analysis into a narrative of Britain’s mostly forgotten, female literary heritage. Focusing on the creative contributions and personal stories of seven astonishing women, the author assembles a riveting, intimate, and ruthlessly unromanticized portrait of female life, and the literary landscape, during this era. In doing so, she comes closer to understanding how a society could forget so many of these women—among them pioneers of detective fiction and the modern fantasy novel—who all enjoyed success, critical acclaim, and also a fair amount of notoriety during their time (one was even mistress to the King).

Will we be intrigued enough by any of these authors and their works to put them on our 2022 reading list? Let’s find out! Carrie moderates this month.

Not Just Jane

by Shelley DeWees

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm

Our Reading Group will be meeting via Zoom. If you’d like to join the meeting and don’t have access to the Zoom link, just ask permission from our site moderator at:  https://venturajaneausten.wordpress.com/contact/ We welcome all devotees of Jane Austen and the Regency Era.