Jane-a-Day: 5 Year Journal, by Potter Style – A Review

Jane-a-Day, by Potter Style (2011)This charming journal completely missed my radar when it was released last November. Not surprising, really. Who would know from the title listed online that it was inspired by Jane Austen?

The actual cover is more helpful; it has a subtitle, 365 Witticisms by Jane Austen, that was unfortunately omitted in the online listings. Bingo! Janeites will also recognize her silhouette in the cover design, but the uninitiated will be clueless. Honestly, Jane-a-Day could be for any famous Jane, like: Jane Eyre, Jane Marple or Calamity Jane! Regardless of this miss by publisher Potter Style, who have brought us a slew of beautiful Austen ephemera like: Jane Austen Puzzle: 500-Piece Puzzle, Jane Austen Mini Journal and Jane Austen Notecards, this is a gem that Janeites should be made aware of.

This classy new 5 year diary has a lot of pluses in its favor to make up for the title flub. Here is the publishers blurb from the back:

Let the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen guide you throughout the next five years. Each journal page features a memorable quote from the iconic author’s oeuvre that can be revisited each year. Created to help you make a time capsule of your thoughts, simply turn to today’s date and take a few moments to comment on the quote. When you finish the year, move on to the next section. As the years go by, you’ll notice how your commentary evolves.

Of course the best thing, besides the opulent binding, gold leaf on the edges and the prayer book size (how apt), is the selection of quotes. The unnamed editor who selected them from Jane Austen’s novels and letters did a superb job. Even this die-hard Janeite was pleased to discover a few that have not been featured in every Jane Austen quote book since time began. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man.” – Pride and Prejudice
  • “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” – Pride and Prejudice
  • “Women are the only correspondents to be depended on.” – Sanditon
  • “Where youth and diffidence are united, it requires uncommon steadiness of reason to resist the attraction of being called the most charming girl in the world.” – Northanger Abbey
  • “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” – Personal Correspondence
  • “His cold politeness, his ceremonious grace, were worse than anything.” – Persuasion
  • “There are people who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.” – Emma
  • “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” – Mansfield Park

For those book lovers (like me) who would never think of defacing a book by writing in it, this journal may sit on your Jane Austen book shelf looking pretty forever. If you are a doodler and want to keep track of your annual reaction to Jane Austen’s pithy quotes and quips throughout the years, I can think of no finer way than including Austen in your life every day for the next five years!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Jane-a-Day: 5 Year Journal: With 365 Witticisms by Jane Austen, by Potter Style
Crown Publishing Group (2011)
Hardcover (368) pages
ISBN: 978-0307951717

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Adams: The Sunday Salon Review

Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Adams (2009)What makes Jane Austen’s writing so extraordinary? Why is she considered by many to be one of the greatest authors in the English language? What does our esteem, or our abhorrence of her reveal about ourselves, and our culture?  

In Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, one hundred personalities from actors to intellectuals have their say on literature’s queen of wit and style offering their own pithy, impassioned and often candid insights on what makes Jane Austen so special and how she influenced their own writing and lives. If you thought that you had already read most of the famous quotes on Austen over the years, then you just might be surprised by what author and editor Jennifer Adams has selected. Here are a few of my favorites to give you a teaser.  

Admirers 

There are some writers who wrote too much. There are others who wrote enough. There are yet others who wrote nothing like enough to satisfy their admirers, and Jane Austen is certainly one of these.” Margaret Drabble, 1974, Novelist 

How did this early-nineteenth-century novelist become the chick-lit, chick-flick queen for today? It is not only because she is an enduring writer. So is Melville, but bumper stickers and T-shirts read “What would Jane do?” not “What would Herman do?” Caryn James, 2007, Film Critic of the New York Times 

I think, the fact that we have fallen in love with Elizabeth Bennet … means, in effect, that we have fallen in love with Jane Austen; and once we do that we are lovers for life.” Frank Swinnerton, 1940, Literary Critic and Novelist 

Nay-sayers 

Edmund and Fanny are both morally detestable and the endorsement of their feelings and behaviour by the author … makes Mansfield Park an immoral book.” Kingsley Amis, 1957, Novelist and Poet 

Jane Austen? I feel I am approaching dangerous ground. The reputation of Jane Austen is surrounded by cohorts of defenders who are ready to do murder for their sacred cause.” Arnold Bennett, 1927, Literary Critic 

The function of the British army in the novels of Jane Austen is to look cute at parties.” Salmon Rushdie, 2005, Novelist, Political Figure 

Since the first reviews of Austen’s novels appeared in the early nineteenth-century, people have been talking about her – good and bad – leaving a rich field of research for author and editor Jennifer Adams to select from. Here she gives us a glimpse of the most famous and well quoted remarks over the centuries and some totally modern and fresh views from contemporary sources that I was not aware of. Included are an interesting mix of prominent scholars, actors, directors and fellow writers such as Helen Fielding, Ang Lee, Colin Firth, Andrew Davies, Emma Thompson, Karen Joy Fowler, Oscar Wilde, Stephanie Meyer, Mark Twain, Andy Rooney, and Charlotte Bronte. The list is quite impressive, giving due deference to this talented writer. Interestingly, I also found a new nugget of wisdom included in the forward by the author herself. 

To those of us who love Jane Austen, she is like the brightness of burnished silver. Something lovely, with sparkle, that makes our world more beautiful. I adore her. I love the pleasure she gives with a well-turned line, the way she can make you actually laugh out loud, the bite of her sarcasm, how she lets you fall in love again and again.” Jennifer Adams 

Not only is Remarkably Jane packed full of illuminating insights, it is presented in a stunningly beautiful gift quality volume with exquisite black and white illustrations reminiscent of Regency drawings, skillfully honoring and acknowledging one of the most beloved and influential English novelists of all time. For sheer joy of laughter and awe, Jennifer Adams has given us a treasure.

Laurel Ann 

5 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Adams
Gibbs Smith, Layton, UT (2009)
Hardcover, (128) pages
ISBN: 978-1423604785

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Life in the Country: with Quotations by Jane Austen and Silhouettes by Her Nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh – A Review

Life in the Country, by Jane Austen & Edward Austen-Leigh (2008)“We are happy to see Edward, it was an unexpected pleasure, & he makes himself as agreeable as ever, sitting in such a quiet comfortable way making his delightful little sketches.” Jane Austen to Caroline Austen, 23 January 1817 

What ‘CAN’ a loyal Janeite begin to say about a book whose creation involved so much Austen Royalty that I was obliged to curtsey when I opened the parcel from the post. Every hand engaged in Life in the Country is an Austen blueblood from editors Freydis Welland (great, great, great grandniece of Jane Austen) and Eileen Sutherland (Austen scholar and former President of the Jane Austen Society of North America), to contributors Maggie Lane, (author, Austen scholar and former Secretary of the Jane Austen Society), to Joan Klingle Ray, (author and first academic President of the Jane Austen Society of North America), to Joan Austen-Leigh (Austen descendent and co-founder of the Jane Austen Society of North America) all heightening my anticipation with a sense of awe and wonder. And to that a stunningly beautiful presentation of Victorian era silhouette art created by Jane Austen’s nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh enhanced by eloquent Jane Austen quotations and you have a masterpiece of Austenalia. 

Silhouette, James Edward Austen-Leigh, Barton Cottage

As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles.

Sense and Sensibility, Volume I, Chapter 6

Not wishing to diminish their wonderful achievement in any way, I must point out that editors Freydis Welland and Eileen Sutherland had great material to start with. The beautiful silhouettes created by James Edward Austen-Leigh for the enjoyment of his family in the 1830’s are quite lovely. Exhibiting great style and skill in execution, the scenes that he chose reflect the English countryside through hunting, fishing, harvesting, animals and people engaged in activities that would have encompassed their country lives. It seems a perfect pairing to add Jane Austen’s quotes from her letters and novels which she admittedly preferred involving “three or four families in a country village.” Here is one of my favorites images from the book coupled with a quote by Elizabeth Bennet when she comes upon Mr. Darcy and his two sisters walking through the shrubberies in Netherfield Park.

Silhouette by James Edward Austen-Leigh, deer in parkland

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered, “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly group’d, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth.”   

Pride and Prejudice, Volume I, Chapter 10 

The text includes a preface by the editors, a biography of the Austen family by Maggie Lane, an essay on silhouette art by Joan Klingle Ray and an afterward on James Edward Austen-Leigh by Joan Austen-Leigh adding just the right amount of information to support the images and the interesting history behind them. Any Jane Austen enthusiast or collector of silhouette art will be thrilled and honored to include this lovely volume in their library. Happily, it continues the tradition in the Austen-Leigh family to publish a book based on their unique family heritage. 

Life in the Country
with quotations by Jane Austen & silhouettes by James Edward Austen-Leigh
Edited by Freydis Welland and Eileen Sutherland
The British Library, London (2008)
ISBN 978-0712349857

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