Happy New Year 2016! It’s that wonderful time of year where we get to start with a clean slate and begin a new chapter in whatever areas of our lives are calling to us for a fresh start. A great time to set new challenges for ourselves and to think about how we can accomplish these challenges, because in order to succeed with our new goals, it’s great to have a plan! Welcome to 2016…
Here at Just Jane 1813, in 2016, I hope to be able to bring you a bit closer to your reading goals, which in turn, may also help you achieve some of your other goals. A few of the ways that I’m setting myself up for a great reading year in 2016 include:
- Setting a reading goal for myself on Goodreads. After you set your goal and start to post books, Goodreads will let you know where you are according to your goal. It’s fun to see what goals your friends have set for themselves and to challenge yourself in regards to your own reading goals. This year, I set my goal at 100 books, even though I read 135 last year because some of my reading times are now devoted to this blog, so I thought 100 books felt more realistic for me.
2. Getting social with my reading and joining a virtual reading group, such as the Austenesque Lovers TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2016 Group. Last year I joined the 2015 group and it was one of the best reading decisions I ever made. This group is moderated by the talented Sophia Rose, and within the group, she has set up many areas to explore and learn about, including newly published JAFF, JAFF giveaways, online fanfiction stories, and relevant JAFF news throughout the year. The members of this group are very supportive and knowledgeable about Jane Austen and JAFF. It’s also a very active group, which means we are frequently involved in conversations around JAFF.
3. Planning to read new JAFF titles that already look promising to me. These include:
- Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth by P.O. Dixon
- Elizabeth: Mistress of Pemberley, by Cornelis de Jong
- “One More Chance” by Ola Wegner (due out in January)
- “Darcy’s Deliverance” by Carolyn Whyte (due out late Jan./early Feb.)
- “Darcy By Any Other Name, by Laura Hile (due out late Jan./early Feb.)
- An excerpt from Beau North’s new companion piece, “The Colonel,” (later this year)
- “Sufficient Encouragement, by Rose Fairbanks (due late Jan./ early Feb.)
- “Darcy and Elizabeth: A Promise Kept,” by Brenda Webb (early this year)
4. Getting ready for some JAFF in the movies, by reading the following titles:
- “Unleashing Mr. Darcy,” by Teri Wilson (Hallmark Film Premiere, 1/23/16)
- “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls” by Steve Hockensmith (prequel to movie, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
- “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” by Seth Grahame-Smith (Lionsgate Movie Premeire, 2/5/16)
- “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After,” by Steve Hockensmith
5. Posting a new blog series titled “We Still Need Her: A Year-Long Journey Through Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” This will be a weekly group read for 2016 of “Pride and Prejudice,” where I hope my blog readers will join me in reading and discussing a new chapter from “Pride and Prejudice” each week. I’ll also post pictures, songs and other related ideas to bring the themes and ideas of each chapter to life for us.
I’d love to hear suggestions from readers about this idea, because what will truly make this year-long series memorable, are the reflections and ideas that my readers are willing to share related to “Pride and Prejudice.” Can I sustain a year of interest in this book? I am going to try really hard to, because after spending a great deal of time reading JAFF last year, I still love being immersed in all things Austen, including my tremendous love for “Pride and Prejudice.” I think as we read a new chapter each week, we will enjoy learning about how this book still touches our lives in so many ways, as well as how this book can really serve as a mirror into our own relationships with the people we love, as well as with the people we find barely tolerable in our own lives.
After more than 200 years and hundreds of variations, spin-offs, prequels, sequels, and movies, I believe “Pride and Prejudice” is a story that never really stops speaking to us: yet the voices we hear while we read it change based on where we are within our lives. I first read the book as a newly married, 29 year-old woman, which is quite a different reading experience from how I read it now, as a 45 year-old mother of four children.
I believe the beauty in this idea is how we will all contribute to bringing new ideas and new understandings to “Pride and Prejudice.” I plan to post a new chapter each Sunday morning (which may change to Mondays some weeks) and I look forward to my readers having their share in the conversation. If any of my readers are willing to host a chapter with me and collaborate on the conversation for that corresponding week, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to have readers join me in the fun!
Not sure about this series? Don’t worry, I’m a little apprehensive too. I’m not an Austen scholar, and welcome any to please join us each week, because I don’t know everything there is to know about Austen, Yet, I do have a passion for Jane Austen and I like to think of reading each chapter as a way for us to reflect on own journeys through life this year, while taking a bit of time to share with each other our collective wisdom about how Austen’s words still affect our own lives today.
I was also inspired by Glamour’s interview with Rosamund Pike, where she shares her brilliant insights about “P&P” and why she believes Austen’s work today is so relevant to us in the modern world. After reading it, you’ll understand where I came up with the name for this series.
As I look at this post, and the year ahead in JAFF, I really have to smile when I think about how Jane Austen would receive all of this attention and admiration for her work. To Austen purists, some of these attempts to channel Austen into the modern world probably seem a bit far-fetched and over-the-top. However, I choose to believe that this witty and humorous young woman who gave us the tremendous gift of her stories is smiling somewhere, glowing in the love and respect so many of us still carry for her and her work. I also want to give a tremendous thank you to all of my blog readers and the JAFF authors who have contributed to the growing success of my blog.
Happy New Year to my Just Jane 1813 readers and to Janeites all over the world. May Jane Austen continue to inspire us, unite us and humor us through another memorable year!