Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
For those who delight in all things Jane Austen, or those who are fascinated by obsessive subcultures, this book is a treasure chest of fun. Gather a group of Janeites and you'll find yourself in a varied assembly. From obsessive Colin Firth fans to staid scholars, from solitary readers to passionate online discussion group participants, from those who hold conservative values to those who love bawdy P&P sequels, Janeite-ism is a large tent kind of phenomenon and Deborah Yaffe explores it all, taking readers along for a thrilling ride.
I am a long time, regular re-reader of Austen's novels, but still this book managed to reinvigorate my enthusiasm. The accounts of Janeites arguing about issues of great importance, like the relative merits of characters in Mansfield Park or Sense and Sensibility, make me want to go back to the books yet again. Like the author I never considered myself the type of person who'd enjoy dressing up in Regency attire, but after her account of preparing for and then attending the Jane Austen Society of North America's annual ball in a beautiful gown I'm reconsidering. Reading about the founders of that organization, and the Janeites who started websites--most of which I had perused before but as an added bonus some were new to me--was an utter pleasure. Also profiled is a woman who uses Austen's novels for therapy-like sessions, a very determined man who feels certain he's uncovered sinister hidden meanings for all of the books, and a college professor who competes in the rough and tumble sport of roller derby under the alias Stone Cold Jane Austen.
With an echo of Austen's skill as an author, Deborah Yaffe writes in a way that allows readers to feel like they're almost experiencing her adventures in Janeite-ville themselves. Highly recommended for those with discriminating tastes.