Happy birthday, Jane!

Birthdays are a big deal…even more so when you’re turning 236, like the inimitable Jane Austen. I’m excited to participate in Austen’s Birthday Soiree today along with dozens of other Janeites worldwide…and to be giving away a copy of Potter-style Pride and Prejudice notecards to one lucky commenter! 

I’ve done lots of book events over the past few months, and the issue keeps coming up. Why is Jane Austen so revered and so relevant 236 years after her birth?

The answer is probably one that will annoy academics and occupy writers for centuries to come. In celebration of her birthday, I’ll tell you why I find Miss Austen so refreshing, two centuries on.

You see, the more I appreciate her body of work, the more I realize that it’s not Austen’s love stories that interest me. It’s the sense of inner amusement with which the author approaches all of society. Nobody found other people as ridiculous and as gently amusing as Jane, and even today in a world without the marriage market, the fumbling country-dance or the Empire waist, there’s something to be relished in passages that poke at all we once held dear.  Things haven’t changed so much in the many years since Jane Austen helped invent the modern novel, and what better birthday present could you wish for than the gift of timelessness?

Why do you find Jane Austen relevant today (or not)? Comment below and you could win a set of Potter-style Pride and Prejudice notecards!  The contest will close next Friday, December 24, and is open to residents of the United States and Canada only.

Don’t forget to visit the other Austen’s Birthday Soiree participants, listed below, for your chance to win even more Austenesque gifts.  Thanks to Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and  Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn for organizing.

Participants in Austen’s Birthday Soiree

  • Sharon Lathan
    Blog: Sharon Lathan
    Giveaway: one copy of Miss Darcy Falls in Love
  • Emily Snyder
    Blog: O! Beauty Unattempted
    Giveaway: one copy of Letters of Love & Deception 
  • Laurel Ann Nattress
    Blog: Austenprose
    Giveaway: one signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
  • C. Allyn Pierson
    Blog: SemiTrue Stories
    Giveaway: one copy of Mr. Darcy Little Sister (open internationally)
  • Cindy Jones
    Blog: First Draft
    Giveaway: one signed copy of My Jane Austen Summer and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd.
  • Farida Mestek
    Blog: Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England
    Giveaway: one copy of I was Jane Austen Best Friend, by Cora Harrison
  • Marilyn Brant
    Blog: Brant Flakes
    Giveaway: A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags
  • Prue Batten
    Blog: Mesmered’s Blog
    Giveaway: one copy of Georgiana Darcy’s Diary: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice continued, Anna Elliott
  • Erin Blakemore
    Blog:  The Heroine’s Bookshelf
    Giveaway: Pride and Prejudice notecards, by Potter Style
  • Blog: vvb32 reads
    Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites), by Jane Austen, edited by Sophia Bedford-Pierce, illustrated by Mullen & Katz, introduction by Barbara Paulding
  • Karen Doornebos
    Blog: The Fiction vs. Reality Smackdown
    Giveaway: 2 Jane Austen candles and 2 signed copies of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy plus drink coasters and tea!
  • Regina Jeffers
    Blog: ReginaJeffers’s Blog
    Giveaway: one signed copy of Christmas at Pemberley
  • Alyssa Goodnight
    Blog: Alyssa Goodnight   
    Giveaway: one Jane Austen Action figure
  • Deb Barnum
    Blog: Jane Austen in Vermont
    Giveaway: 2012 calendars from the Wisconsin JASNA Region
  • Laura Hile, Susan Kaye, Pamela Aidan, and Barbara Cornthwaite
    Blog: Jane Started It!
    Giveaway: one copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour, by Pamela Aidan; one set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2), by Susan Kaye; two copies of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1), by Laura Hile; one copy of George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2), by Barbara Cornthwaite
  • Juliet Archer
    Blog: Choc Lit Authors’ Corner
    Giveaway: one copy each of Persuade Me and The Importance of Being Emma
  • Jane Greensmith
    Blog: Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
    Giveaway: one copy each of Intimations of Austen, and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated)
  • Jenny Allworthy
    Blog: The Jane Austen Film Club 
    Giveaway: a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)
  • Sitio Jane Austen
    Blog: El Salón de Té de Jane
    Giveaway:  one copy of the Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility and one copy of  DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen. (It’s only zone 2, but it’s in Spanish and English ), and one copy of BBC’s Emma with Romola Garai (Blue-ray)
  • Kaitlin Saunders
    Blog: Kaitlin Saunders
    Giveaway: one copy of A Modern Day Persuasion
  • Becky Rhodehouse
    Blog: One Literature Nut
    Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads
  • Patrice Sarath
    Blog: Patrice Sarath
    Giveaway: one copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet
  • Adriana Zardini
    Site: Jane Austen Brasil
    Giveaway: DVD – Sense and Sensibility (1995) – English / Portuguese subtitles
  • Jane Odiwe
    Blog: Jane Austen Sequels 
    Giveaway: one mug with one of Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and one copy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret
  • Courtney Webb
    Blog: Stiletto Storytime
    Giveaway: one copy of Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)
  • Jennifer Becton
    Blog: Jennifer W. Becton
    Giveaway: one copy of the eBook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. Open internationally.
  • Vera Nazarian
    Blog: Urban Girl Takes Vermont
    Giveaway: a copy of Vera Nazarian’s gift hardcover edition of her inspirational calendar and diary, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
  • Abigail Reynolds
    Blog: Pemberley Variations
    Giveaway: one signed copy of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing
  • Blog: AustenAuthors
    Giveaway: one copy of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester
  • Katherine Cox
    Blog: November’s Autumn
    Giveaway: one $10 B&N Gift-card (US only)
  • Maria Grazia
    Blog: My Jane Austen Book Club
    Giveaway: A selection of Austenesque reads