Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
I'll admit it. I'm a book hoarder. And sometimes I get a book but don't get to read it. Though nowadays I don't worry about it too much as Mini Me will usually read my books before I do (unless they are adult books and I tell her she can't read it....and hope she listens). So I have a lovely copy of Jane Austen's letters that I haven't read. As well as a few books on Steinbeck.
When the Bookworm girls and I were at the bookstore a few weeks ago, I did some research on picture books biographies about women. Admittedly it wasn't just because I knew that March is Women in History month, but because Mini Me and I are collaborating on a picture book biography about someone. So, one of the best parts about being a writer? Besides happily creating my own work? Research.
One book I came across was Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Qin Leng. It's no secret that I'm an Austenite. I even endured that film about her with Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane). And I took a course on Austen as a grad student that was purely for the delight of discussing all of her works.
So I've always known that Jane Austen was extraordinary. Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen explores the ways in which Austen was able to write and publish her novels despite being a woman. And initially only being able to credit herself as "a lady". Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen covers a lot of Austen's childhood—we see how her love of books and playacting help shape her as a writer later on.
I adored the illustrated cross section of their house (see below) and the delightful Jane the bookworm scenes done in gorgeous watercolor.
If there was one author I could choose to go back in time and meet, it would be Jane Austen. Reading Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen is the next best thing. Besides reading Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion again, of course.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Which writer would you like to go back in time to meet? Which present day author would you like to meet? Let me know in the comments!