It was the choicest gift of Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which, by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counterbalance almost every other want. The Narrator on Anne Elliot, Persuasion, Chapter 17
Looking for a gift book for a special Janeite, or as an introduction of Jane Austen to an un-indoctrinated friend? Recently, I was faced with both challenges, and researched a good many gift titles to find the prefect match to personality and purpose.
It can be a challenge to buy for others, but I find books are the finest gift, and heck, if by some chance you mess up and they hate it, they can always exchange it!
In my mind, to qualify as a gift book, the edition must be
- A book that I would buy for myself
- A positive subject, that is informative and uplifting
- Beautifully designed, illustrated, or colorful images
- Under $20.00
Here are a few of the finalists in the Jane Austen gift book roundup.
Tea with Jane Austen, by Kim Wilson, Jones Books, (1995)
Author Kim Wilson proclaims that Jane Austen loved tea. This book is a charmer with antecedents of Jane Austen and her family’s passions for tea, and her use of tea-time in her novels as a social ritual in Regency England. Peppered with quotes from her novels and letters, readers will delight in the period illustrations and images, recipes for syllabub and cakes, and how to make the perfect cup of earl grey tea. ISBN 978-0972121798
Jane Austen in Bath: Walking Tours of the Writer’s City, by Katharine Reeve, Little Book Room (2006)
Illustrated with beautiful period images and maps, this is a fabulous tour guide for the lucky visitor to Bath, or a fun armchair escape from any vantage. Follow in the footsteps of Bath’s most famous resident with four walking tours through the streets of Bath which are much the same as when Jane Austen visited and then resided there circa 1800. This is more than a guidebook, author and Bath resident Katharine Reeve treats us to a fair share of history and Austen quotes from the novels of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. “They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight – her eyes were here, there, everywhere” Northanger Abbey, Chapter 2. My eyes were too! ISBN 978-1892145321
The Jane Austen Miscellany, by Lesley Bolton, Sourcebooks, Inc., (2006)
“The ultimate guide of everything Jane Austen for those who just can’t get enough!” Packed with facts, trivia and quotes about Jane Austen, her novels and characters, this volume is a must have for the Austen addict to stealthily carry with them at all times for a quick and clandestine reference. Slip it in your purse, desk drawer or coat pocket, and prime yourself to impress with quotes and facts so apt and to the moment that your friends, co-workers and family will have no doubt of your obsession with Jane Austen. ISBN 978-1402206856
The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World, by Margaret C. Sullivan, Quirk Books, (2007)
I love this sweet volume because it is just so darn perfect! Fact packed, funny, and fresh, what else could a Janeite wish for in a how to book about Jane Austen’s Regency world? Author Margaret Sullivan explains the challenges and travails of navigating the era so matter-of-factly that we never doubt her advice on how to transform ourselves into an accomplished Regency Miss, ride side-saddle, or turn down an unwelcome marriage proposal! The beautiful period accurate illustrations exemplify every detail adding insight and humor. ISBN 978-1594741715
CONTEST: I am curious to know what other Janeites like to give as Austen gifts, so please let us know by leaving a comment between May 21 and May 28, and you will be eligible for a drawing of a new copy of the Jane Austen continuation, The Watson’s & Emma Watson: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel Completed by Joan Aiken, (reprint 2008). The winner will be announced on May 29. Good luck to one and all, and happy reading.