I’m very grateful that so far, my birthdays have not brought on a feeling of malaise and depression, but spurred me to redouble my efforts to both improve myself and have more fun in life. I hope I keep on in this manner…
I like to think birthday presents are a partial reflection of where one is at a specific moment in life, and this year has (without premeditation) been a singularly Austen-themed one! I feel it signifies my reflection of the past, and how I am gleaning new wisdom to apply to my life now from the novels’ well-read pages…
Before I prose on about Jane, I would like to thank my wonderful husband for taking me twice to Starbucks, and to New York Fries for a little treat. Also many hugs and kisses for treating this owner of a battered and half-dying iPhone 6S to a new XS. ♥ I suppose these particular presents reflect that I need more sleep/coffee and the fact that it was high time for a new/functioning phone! 😉
As for my own self-presents — I stuck mostly to stationery and used books as I am on a budget this year but also find myself itching to read, read, read, and write, write, write! Let’s take a look at the glorious ensemble, shall we?
As those closest to me already know, I am in the habit of consigning past journals to the flames, but have of recent years tried to keep choice passages here and there. The hardcover journal will house the latest “edit” of my more recent life, and the softcover journal will probably be for the elusive novel I still intend to scribble and have published. The little journal, I’m not quite sure yet… but I have an idea I’ll turn it into a long love letter in book form for A. We shall see! ^_^
And I also treated myself to these three titles (all from Thriftbooks!):
Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury by Rebecca Dickson
This is such a neat volume. The chapters are sorted mainly into her published novels’ titles, and gives facts and tidbits on areas of interest that are touched on in the novels and how they might have affected Jane in reality as well –subjects such inheritance, women’s rights, Charlotte Brontë’s objections (she was no fan!), and even family planning. I’ve yet to fully read it, but have already enjoyed what little passages caught my eye on the first skim. What makes it even more fun is that there are removable bits of memorabilia, such as illustrations, letters, bits of incomplete manuscripts and portraits… I highly recommend this book and can’t believe I got such a good price for a complete treasury in such good condition! ($5.79 USD)
Jane Austen’s Little Advice Book by Cathryn Michon and Pamela Norris
Published back in 1996, this book is full of quotes rearranged to fit certain themes, such as Social Life, Literary Life, Odd Topics, and even Jane Predicts the Future! The beginning of each chapter is headed off with some short facts on Jane, and then the fun commences. The authors write quite firmly in the introduction that this is a lighthearted book and warn all scholars not to take this mini tome too seriously. At first glance, some of these quotes are appropriated quite wittily, and others seem to be taken very far out of their original context without quite suiting their new purpose.
One of the predictions which I personally find lacking in… err, taste: “On O.J. Simpson”: A new sort of way is this, for a young fellow to be making love, by breaking his mistress’s head! — Persuasion
I am as yet uncertain whether to keep this or not, but my minimalist tendencies are leaning towards bidding it adieu. What are your thoughts on this particular passage? (Note it also touches on the then-ongoing topic of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ divorce…)
The Jane Austen Companion to Love
This is a Hallmark-type sort of book. Like the previous book, it’s a bunch of quotes taken from various Jane Austen sources, and rearranged to fit under the theme of love/marriage. While a pretty book, it’s a pretty quick read, and some of the quotes seem more like fillers in that context than anything of substance. Unfortunately, I will be bidding this adieu as well.
Ah well… two out of four is still a triumph in my books!
I mentioned earlier that I stuck mostly to books and stationery, so here is the one “luxury” item that I allowed myself this year… the ‘Marianne’ Cotton Regency Nightgown by Powell Craft. Just as a side note, the Jane Austen Centre shop calls it the ‘Marianne’, but Powell Craft calls it ‘Valerie’!
It’s a one-size, so a bit more voluminous than most generously cut gowns in one’s personal size, but I found it still looked quite flattering. This is a little see-through, though… hence the lack of a full-length shot on yours truly! You may be tempted to float around in this all day, but beware if you are entertaining visitors! In relation to the seasons, if you’re easily toasty like I am, this is perfect year-round and will come especially in handy during the sweltering summer months!
And one last photo in which you can barely see the gown, but it is nevertheless a part of a scene of domestic bliss.
What do you like to treat yourself to for your birthday?