“It is such a happiness when good people get together—and they always do.”

Local readers are invited to Main Library this Friday to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility:

Sense and Sensibility title page

It has been two hundred years since a book was published in England “By a Lady,” entitled Sense and Sensibility. On October 30, 1811, Jane Austen’s first novel was published, creating a literary phenomenon that continues to this day. Join us in the Special Collections reading room on the third floor of the Main Library on Friday, October 28 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, when we will celebrate this event with an informal gathering. Our copy of the first edition of Sense and Sensibility will be out for viewing, along with a few other Austen pieces. End your week with some good books and good company.

Those of you unable to make it here in person can enjoy a virtual discussion of Jane Austen fandom in this 2004 reading by Karen Joy Fowler from our Live From Prairie Lights archive:

Karen Joy Fowler reads selections from her novel The Jane Austen Book Club. She explains how she conceived the idea for the novel while at reading at an independent bookstore. Fowler recounts how she had seen a poster on the wall that had proclaimed “The Jane Austen Book Club”, and was excited to purchase the book with that title. When she realized that the poster was for an actual book club instead of a book, Fowler knew she had to pen a book with that title. During a question and answer session, Fowler explains the format of her book–the book club in her novel covers six of Jane Austen’s works over the course of six meetings. She goes on to discuss the tendencies of the characters in her book to relate specifically to characters in Austen’s works. Fowler, who is also a successful science fiction writer, feels that she has two separate careers in two completely distinct genres. She explains that she purposely keeps her two careers “separate” so that each fan base does not feel put off by her other works. Fowler goes on to recount her own experiences in a book club, and how these experiences informed her novel. She outlines her respect for Austen and Emily Dickinson, and her awe at their contemporary style of writing.