Jane Austen has been a good friend to me. Never mind the fact that she lived and died over 200 years ago. She came through for me this summer in a brand new way.
Back in May I wrote a post about my desire to start something new: A book club.
“So, out of pure self-pity and literature withdrawal, I decided to start a Jane Austen Book Club this summer.”
And I did!
The scary thing was, I had never started a book club. I had never even been IN a book club (does Bible study count??). I really had no idea what I was doing.
But after receiving a healthy amount of interest, we started reading Pride and Prejudice in June.
And something happened that first meeting, something new and strange.
I met with 8 ladies in a comfortable living room, ate lemon tart and drank tea and discussed one of my favorite books.
|Some of the wonderful women in our Jane Austen Book Club. We met for lunch for our last meeting at the very English Ploughcraft Tea Room|
And it was weird.
I realized afterwards that it had been years since I had gotten together with a group of women and talked about something other than my home life, work, and especially, my children. I love talking about these topics….but at this first book club….
….I felt like I was exercising a part of my brain and soul that had been dormant for a long time. It was so refreshing….and foreign!
I hoped I’d never be one of “those women” who say, “I lost part of myself when I became a mother.”
I wanted to shake those moms and say, “buck up, woman! Keep a hold of yourself! Remember who you are!”
But, I realized at that first book club, over discussions of Bingley and Jane, Elizabeth and Darcy that while I hadn’t lost part of myself, per se, I hadn’t pursued this passion in a long time, a passion for reading, literary discussion, and everything Jane Austen (Jane Austen’s works were the focus my master’s thesis, after all!). Because sometimes those passions get buried when you are a busy wife and mother.
So, this book club was like finding a part of myself again.
Everything I learned in grad school about Jane came pouring out at our meetings. I dug out old lecture notes, read my marginalia to my friends, and talked WAY TOO MUCH at each meeting.
But I couldn’t help it. That passion was rekindled.
So, thank you Jane Austen for reminding me of who I am and what I love.
And thank you, new friends and old, for joining my book club and reading Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey with me. Meeting with me every week (or whenever you could make it!) was more that just a fun summer pastime.
It fed my heart and soul.