A Trip to the Emerald City to See William Deresiewicz, Author of A Jane Austen Education

The Wizard of Oz (1939)I have to admit I am a homebody. I like my nest and my creature comforts: my computer, my books, my diet Dr. Pepper, my antique iron bed splayed with pillows, and, my Jane Austen. *sigh*

There is no place like home. So says Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. I could not agree more. Dorothy, her little dog Toto and I would have been BFF’s if we had been cast in the same novel. I would of course introduce her to Jane Austen and she would discover (to my delight) that Lady Catherine de Bourgh was in her story too, but, wore black bombazine and flew on a broomstick.

It takes a lot to pull me away from my comfort zone, especially after a long day at work, AND, one of the ten days of the year in the Pacific Northwest when the sun is shining and it is not raining, (I kid you NOT). However, I was determined to drive into the Emerald City (Seattle) and attend the reading and book signing at Elliott Bay Books by author William Deresiewicz. He was speaking about his new book, A Jane Austen Education, which I had recently read and reviewed. I had been agog with his evangelical Janeism and loved every word of it. No, I didn’t really need to be converted, but reading about a man’s personal experience of being transformed from a Jane Austen naysayer to one of her worshipers was a compelling tale that any literature lover and Janeite could relate too. He also throws in some excellent literary criticism and amusing personal stories that make the book very accessible and humorous.

A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz (2011)I tore myself away from work and hit the road (NO, I did not follow the yellow brick road) in my trusty carriage with detailed Google maps and driving instructions. In the nine years that I have lived near Seattle I have only driven once in the city by myself. I got terribly lost. The wicked one way streets are merciless. This time I made it in one straight shot. Huzzah! The downside was that the parking was $10.00. I hoped the experience would offset the financial setback!

For anyone who has not been to Elliott Bay Books (and I assume that is most of you) it is Seattle’s legendary independent bookstore. Since I work as a bookseller for the world’s largest chain bookstore, we could say that I was walking into the polar opposite in the bookselling universes. It was a refreshing change. The space was open, eclectic and inviting, and, they displayed thousands of books on their cedar lined shelves. Delightful. Continue reading