Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gift Ideas for that Jane Austen Enthusiast in Your Life

If you are reading this blog chances are that you, or someone close to you, is a fan of Jane Austen. I am such a fangirl that I dragged my ever-supportive husband to Winchester Cathedral to visit her tomb and to Bath, which is full of Austen-connected sites.

If you can't afford a trip to the UK, however, there are any number of books and videos that will be of interest to the Austen fan in your life, and some of them are obscure enough to make a delightful surprise gift.  Here are some of my favorites:

Books

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: from Fox Hunting to Whist - the Facts of Daily Life in the 19th Century by Daniel Pool.  This is a wonderful introductory reference for any author of historical novels set in the 19th century, or anyone who enjoys the literature of the period.

An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray. Another delightful reference that will inform modern Americans about the ways of the upper ten thousand.

Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson and Tom Carpenter. A light coffee-table book that gives some background on the use of tea in Jane Austen's time.

Walks through Regency London by Louise Allen.  I wish I had known about this book before my last trip. Written by a writer of historical romance novels, it is a delightful read, full of quotes from Austen's letters describing places she visited, accompanied by maps of each walking tour, some history of the neighborhoods and pictures of the locations, then and now.

Videos

Austenland starring Keri Russell.  A light comedy about an Austen-obsessed young woman who splurges on an immersion weekend at an Austen-themed resort. It's fun to see Jane Seymour returning to costume drama, and true Austen fans will appreciate the stunt casting of J.J. Field as the Darcyesque hero.

Pride and Prejudice (Restored Edition) starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  Do not be fooled by the Keira Knightley version or the 2004 BBC miniseries.  The A&E miniseries with Colin Firth is the one true adaptation of P&P.

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