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How To Start A Book Club

How to set up a book club

We came across a wonderful article this week, which we thought readers of the Jane Austen News might like to read. It was an article all about setting up your own book club.

Here are the four key steps to setting up a book club.

First, find your book club members

When you look for book club members, “look in the areas of your life that feel most natural to you”. Maybe ask your friends who you know love to read, or work mates who you’d like to spend more time with.

However, the other option is to purposely look for a wide range of perspectives – so you can see different ideas and challenge your own way of thinking. If this sounds like your kind of club, you may want to look for a spread of ages, genders, and ethnicities. How to find members who are different from you? Maybe post a note on the message board of your library or book store.

Second, identify your book club’s purpose

It might sound obvious, but just check when you set up your book club that you all want the same thing from it. Is the focus going to be on socialising? Or is it all about the deep discussion of high brow literature? In order to make sure your new group is all on the same page, take the time to discuss what you want to get out of regular club gatherings before your first official meeting.

There’s the typical friends gathering at someone’s apartment and having cheese and wine. But oftentimes, people will be frustrated with them, because they just turn into a social event rather than focusing on the book.

 

Next, decide how to choose your books

A key part of a book club is, naturally, the books you read. Deciding what books to read can be done a few ways.

Books that work well are ones which allow you to reflect on human nature and on the self. Pacing and character are also important. If in doubt, have a look at recommendation lists like the New York Times bestseller list. That or have a look at particular genres if you need inspiration. It’s also worth rotating who picks the book each fortnight (or month, or so on – depending on often you meet).

Finally, work out where and when to meet

If you all read incredibly quickly, then a meeting once a fortnight could be an option, but generally meeting once a month is a good idea as it will give everyone enough time to comfortably read the book and take it in.

As for where, you could meet at someone’s house, but if you’d rather not have to worry about playing host, then a neutral space like a cafe, bookstore, or library is just as good. The main thing is to find somewhere where you all feel comfortable and which has enough space and isn’t too loud.

The original article, which this article summarises, can be found here.


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

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Jane Austen News – Issue 75

The Jane Austen News analyses genius

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

  Austen Letter For Sale  

letter written by Jane Austen is due to be auctioned for the first time on July the 11th.

Sotheby’s auction house have the letter for sale as part of the English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations sale, in which there will also be for sale two other fragments of correspondence between the two women (the lots are expected to sell altogether for as much as £162,000!).

The letter, dated 29-30 October 1812, was sent to one of Jane’s favourite nieces, Anna Lefroy, and shows how much enjoyment Austen had in making fun of the Gothic thriller genre (as she does to great effect in Northanger Abbey). The letter is addressed as a note, not to Anna herself, but to the author Rachel Hunter, whose 1806 novel Lady Maclairn, the Victim of Villany the two had recently read.

 Although the content was known, the letter itself has not been seen by scholars and it is very exciting to have it become available.

Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in books and manuscripts, declaring the letter a significant document.

 


Pride and Prejudice in Silk

We’ll shortly be adding an exciting new display piece to the Jane Austen Centre. Award-winning textile artist Linda Straw has kindly donated her beautiful Pride and Prejudice wall hangings to the Centre and they’ll be going up on display within the next few days!
In the past Linda has exhibited major works in Waterperry House, at exhibitions across the UK, at San Diego’s International Quilting Symposium, and even as far away as Tokyo! She is known the world over amongst the textile community, and specifically quilt makers, for her highly intricate and detailed machine-made quilts with examples being in the collections of global institutions such as the V&A and Art Institute of Chicago.
She developed her unique quilting method in 1981 by combining appliqué, quilting and embroidery, and the technique (known as the Linda Straw Method) has been widely taught in workshops throughout Britain, Ireland, Europe and America.
In the past Linda used the Pride and Prejudice wall hangings, which feature all of the major characters from the book, to illustrate the technique she spoke about during workshops and lectures, but now Linda has now retired she wanted to find an appropriate home for her work. We feel truly honoured that she chose us.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 75