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Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons For The Modern Woman Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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“Jane Austen has been my life coach since I first discovered Pride and Prejudice thirty years ago. After reading Lori Smith’s lovely The Jane Austen Guide to Life,
I now understand why. Part Austen biography, how-to-guide, and all heart, this engaging book will sensibly explain the mysteries of relationships, life,
and love that Jane Austen so excelled in on the page and in her own life.”
—Laurel Ann Nattress, editor, Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Austenprose.com
“Highly engaging. . . . Lori consults Jane Austen’s novels and letters and allows the author’s sparkling wit, straight moral compass, and wise words to guide us in the 21st century. At times I could almost hear Jane speaking directly to me.”
—Vic Sanborn, Jane Austen’s World blog
Praise for Lori Smith's A Walk with Jane Austen
–Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
–Emma Campbell Webster, actress, author of Lost in Austen, and founder of lostinaustenblogspot.com
“With wit, charm, and rare honesty–of which I have to believe Jane Austen would have thoroughly approved–Lori Smith weaves her personal life experiences throughout her journey into the life that was Jane’s. Infused with faith, romance, loss, and a search for self, A Walk with Jane Austen makes for that rare book that keeps popping into one’s thoughts and beckoning one back.”
–Tamara Leigh, author of Perfecting Kate and Splitting Harriet
From the Inside Flap
Austen’s stories give us relationship advice that still works today, but her life offers us more wisdom than just that pertaining to love. In our fame-obsessed culture, it’s refreshing to think that Austen preferred to remain anonymous. Ironically, Jane Austen—master of love stories—never married and can teach us something about being single. She also endured many painful circumstances and managed them with grace and humor.
In this light biography and guide, author Lori Smith surmises about Austen’s sensible advice for twenty-first-century women—on everything from living our dreams, being a woman of substance, finding a good man, managing money, and more.
As such an astute student of human nature, Austen can teach us much about ourselves and about what it means to live well.
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The most important thing is family. Jane was blessed with a large, supportive tribe. They encouraged her talents, reveling in her tales, giving her time to write, and enjoying her books as she was writing them. With much love and support she was able to pursue and develop her talent in an age when such a career was not easily open to women. When she began to write as a girl, Jane had no idea that she would ever make money from her talent, much less find the time to pursue her career. Some lessons to extract from her persistence in writing are: Do what you would be willing to be poor for; temper your expectations; and share your gifts with the world. Lucky for us Jane never gave up and weathered the dry giving for posterity six incomparable novels.
Lori Smith's Guide moves from the essential to the romantic. It is hard to find true love if you don't know what you want. So, Jane's advice via Lori is: Be accepting of yourself. Be self-aware. And be sensible. If you're never satisfied with yourself, then you can't please others. It's an axiom that Jane and her heroines followed: "Not only do Austen's characters find love, they find themselves, and they improve themselves. They see their faults in ways they haven't before. They realize what kinds of things they are capable of -- and that at times they are capable of doing things badly -- and this awareness spurs them to change."
Regarding romance, once a woman is open to changing her mind, she is receptive to so many possibilities - of the fact that she was wrong, of opening her eyes to others, of finding the right man. In Jane Austen's era, a sense of community and belonging helped to guide a woman in the right direction. Jane's characters (and the author herself) lived in a small, connected society, where friends and relatives knew many details about each other. This situation no longer exists for many of us today, as Lori explains: "I think [Jane's] greatest advice to us would be to keep our eyes open and watch carefully, to not commit too quickly before we really understand a guy's character."
Spoken like our wise mothers. The Guide continues to cover such topics as saving and spending, gratitude and enduring hardships. In the end, Jane shows us to live life to the fullest and to enjoy every moment. She was capable of making fun of herself and laugh even when things were not going her way. "Even the smaller things, that for most of us would only annoy us and lead to complaint, Jane approached with humor. She told Cassandra, "I will not say that your Mulberry trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.""
In the end, no one can live our lives but ourselves. We can only follow our inner guide and the principles we have chosen to live by. Lori Smith's "The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman" continues to inform us about our lives through the lessons that Jane Austen and her characters can teach us. Like her first book<em>. A Walk with Jane Austen, Lori's clear writing style is a delight to read. One can almost hear Jane speaking through her words. This book is a wonderful gift for mother's day, for mothers to give to their daughters, and for men to understand the mind of a fine woman. It is also delightfully illustrated.- Vic, Jane Austen's World blog
In many ways Austen was ahead of her times. And in other important ways she was firmly moored to principles which transcend the ages. Aside from her unforgettable writing, surely this combination is what has made her works continue to endure. Smith's book draws from the best of both aspects of Austen's writing and her own life to give us "The Jane Austen Guide to Life." The perspective is refreshing, and the writing is lively. This is the next best thing to tea with Jane herself.
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