I made two discoveries this week that I want to share with you.
1. As the title of a book proclaims, All Roads Lead to Jane Austen. I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday when a Jane Austen knitting magazine caught my eye. I don’t knit and have no idea why I was looking at magazines geared toward people who sew, but there it was. The magazine got me thinking about the explosion of the Jane Austen cottage industry. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that you could read the six novels Austen wrote and then spend the rest of your life reading sequels and prequels and mysteries and so much more. When I got home, I typed Jane Austen into Amazon and here are a few titles that caught my eye: Jane Austen for Dummies, Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, Jane Austen in Boca, Jane Austen in Scarsdale, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, What Would Jane Austen Do?, Jane Austen Ruined My Life, and A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship and the Things That Really Matter. I think the authors of the last two books should meet and come to some kind of understanding.
Here’s my favorite though: a board book version of Pride and Prejudice. Admittedly, this is the only one I added to my virtual shopping cart.
2. My other discovery was a sound. I’m listening (again) to E.B. White reading Charlotte’s Web, and there are a few places where I can hear the pages turning. The first time I heard it, I thought I was mistaken, but I kept rewinding (multiple times) and I’m pretty certain that’s what it is. If not, I don’t want to know. That would never happen today with our 21st century production capabilities, but it’s so incredibly warm. It sounds like White is reaching across the years – there he is, just out of reach, turning the pages as he reads his story. If you don’t remember how perfect his sentences are, here is a passage to remind you:
“In early summer days there are plenty of things for a child to eat
and drink and suck and chew. Dandelion stems are full of milk,
clover heads are loaded with nectar, the Frigidaire of full of ice-
cold drinks. Everywhere you look is life; the even the little ball of
spit on the weed stalk, if you poke it apart, has a green worm inside it.”