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Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman [Hardcover]

Sm Ith Lori

Price: 13.24 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Jane Austen Guide to Life "The Jane Austen Guide to Life" playfully""and poignantly examines Austen's life and novels for the timeless advice that still applies for today's women. Austen may not understand texting or tweeting or platform heels, but as an astute student of human nature, she can surely teach us an awful lot about ourselves--and we might just be surprised by what she has to say. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 1 May 2012
By Catherine Claire Larson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Did you ever wish you could sit down with Jane Austen and share a cup of tea? I'm sure if you're like me, you'd have a million questions you'd want to ask her. Who was your inspiration for Mr. Darcy? Do you have any good love advice? What do you think of the modern-day internet dating phenomenon? Well, if you've ever wished to share your Lady Grey with lady Jane, this is your opportunity. Lori Smith's, "The Jane Austen Guide to Life," is everything Austen is: captivating, winsome, insightful, witty, and fun.

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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming & Stirring 16 Jun 2012
By myjoetogo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Every bit as irresistible as Jane or one of her novels, this book charms, delights, stirs, and works its way into your heart and head. Lori Smith gets Jane, a woman of substance, and gives her to us simply and beautifully. You see Jane at the piano and enjoying her tea as she secretly writes, going for long walks, and amusing her friends with clever repartee. And you see yourself in these pages too. The chapters are illuminating on how to live: learning how to love completely, work through heartbreak, endure the hardest things, cherish family and friends ("my estate," as Jane would write), make your way in this world with little means or money, and find joy and laughter in all circumstance. There is such richness here, and in a volume so beautifully packaged with illustrations by David Grant of Jane in her world. (I loved the charmer on page 122 of Jane and friends at the table, with a little bust on the mantle behind them, the stone expression one of "Oooo," as if Jane has just uttered one of of her infamously clever remarks.) This book is so well done and a treasure, sure to be a friend you will return to for wisdom and share with others.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Jane Austen Can Teach Us 1 Aug 2012
By Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Biography/Guide

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS:
I was intrigued by the combination of a biography and self-help guide
Even though I've read The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After (Elizabeth Kantor), The Jane Austen Handbook (Margaret C. Sullivan), and What Jane Austen Taught Me About Love and Romance (Debra White Smith), I can never get enough of Jane Austen's wise and valuable counsel!
Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose and Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen's World both appear on the back cover giving this book their high praise and commendation.

WHAT I LOVED:
- The Elegance: With fourteen charming illustrations and a simple, aesthetically pleasing hardcover, this novel has a very elegant presentation. In addition, I loved how the prose seamlessly flowed from biography to citations of Jane Austen's novels, from character analyses to modern applications. It was all very graceful!
- The Tone: Sometimes when authors are penning biography or scholarly studies their tone can become a little bit too didactic or formal. I am so pleased that I found Lori Smith's tone to be very approachable and relaxed. It felt like she was having a casual conversation, filled with thoughtful observations and clever connections.
- The Blend: Even though the word "guide" is in the title, this book has an abundance of biographical information. In fact, one could argue that is just as much a biography as it is a guide. I loved how Ms. Smith's prose progressed through the major events of Jane Austen's life and used them as examples of sensible advice and life lessons. Traveling through the story of Jane Austen's life, women can learn and benefit from her experiences with relationships, love, career, and hardships.
- The Knowledgeable Content: So many references so aptly applied! It is clearly evident that Lori Smith scoured Jane Austen's novels, letters, and several biographies written about her to deliver a most informative and thorough guide. I especially loved finding an occasional story, letter, or tidbit that I've never heard of before.

WHAT I WASN'T TOO FOND OF:
- The Slight Disparity: I couldn't help but notice that there were many references, quotes, and examples cited from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion; but not nearly as many for Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of Catherine, Henry, Fanny, and Edmund.

CONCLUSION:
Astute, charming, and elegant - The Jane Austen Guide to Life is perfect for readers who wish they could have a lengthy and candid conversation with their dear Aunt Jane! While some biographies and guides can be a little dense, formal, and preachy, The Jane Austen Guide to Life is everything that is "light, and bright, and sparkling!" I highly recommend!

Austenesque Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen relationship coach 12 Jun 2012
By Laurel Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you could be swept back in time two hundred years ago to have a cup of tea with Jane Austen, what would you ask her? Any question. No bars held. If I had the courage, I might ask her how did she become so wise in the ways of human nature and love? Or, did she intend to craft stories to entertain, or to enlighten?

Since time-travel has yet to be invented, we can only surmise how Austen would have replied. Yet, for centuries she has been speaking to readers in an intimate way without many of us realizing it. In THE JANE AUSTEN GUIDE TO LIFE, author Lori Smith decodes Austen's philosophy on life and love by combing through her novels and personal correspondence for lessons relevant for the modern woman. Is Jane Austen the relationship coach that we should all be learning from? Smith thinks so and has carefully selected key topics that we can contemplate and learn from such as: Living Your Dreams; Pursuing Passion; Marrying Well; Cherishing Family and Friends; Enduring the Hardest Things; and the final chapter Austen's Ethos. You might say this is a self-help book applying the principals and morals that Austen used in writing her fictional characters translated into the nonfiction world. In the introduction, Smith sums it up very nicely...

"This book mines Jane's life and her stories for the lessons she would teach us if she could. Thankfully, through her writing, she can and does speak today." p. xi

I never feel more like Lydia Bennet when someone recommends a self-help book to me. Remember in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE when Mr. Collins reads from FORDYCE'S SERMONS and she gaped in horror? I can totally relate. I deplore being preached to and am quite the skeptic. Even though I opened this book with grave trepidation, I was soon won over by the author's knowledge of Jane Austen and her upbeat, approachable style. Each chapter is well researched offering topics and examples from the novels that modern readers can relate to. My favorite chapter was the last: Austen's Ethos.

"As I've written about Austen, several themes continue to come back to me. They've surfaced throughout the book, but, at the risk of redundancy, may bear repeating, because in so many ways I think they capture her heart. They were lessons her heroines knew, or came to know through the course of the stories, and may in fact be the central, overarching lessons that she would want to pass on to us today. They're also lessons that, because of two centuries that separate us from Austen, we may be less likely to take away from her light stories." p. 197

I will leave you dangling in suspense with that tempting nugget of knowledge yet to be revealed. After reading THE JANE AUSTEN GUIDE TO LIFE I understand more fully why I have been so attracted to Austen's writing since first reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE over thirty years ago. I had the privilege of reading an early advance copy and wholeheartedly can attest that this engaging book, part biography and part self-help guide, it is all heart. Janeites will embrace its common sense and insights into their favorite author, and everyone else should buy it for their daughters and best friends.

Laurel Ann, Austenprose
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jane Austen Guide to Life is delightful and insightful 8 May 2012
By Vic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Nearly 200 years after her death, Jane Austen is more popular than ever with publishers and readers. Many of her fans are attracted to her era, which they identify as one filled with grace, gentility, and good manners.In "The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman", author Lori Smith examines Jane Austen's novels, letters, and life for insights that can help guide today's woman through life's passages. There is much good material to digest.

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
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