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Jane Austen: A Life
Jane Austen: A Life
by Claire Tomalin
Edition: Paperback

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive and fascinating, 24 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Jane Austen: A Life (Paperback)
This is a biography that works as a fascinating and moving story in its own right. Claire Tomalin uses every available scrap of evidence to put together a surprisingly convincing portrait of Jane Austen as a (then) largely unrecognised genius and thoroughly professional writer, who was nonetheless an active member of a large and interesting family. The book dispels a lot of myths - including the long-held notion that Jane was writing about her own life in those six perfectly-crafted novels. Far from being a quietly contented domestic being, she is shown to be an observer, almost an outsider, in Regency society - someone who could be quite uncomfortable to have around, with her sharp observations and witticisms - but deeply appreciated by close family members and friends.

It's surprising to learn that her cousin had an affair with Warren Hastings, that their daughter's husband was guillotined in the French Revolution, that a brother founded a bank which crashed, that Jane knew about the slave trade and was in sympathy with abolition, and had probably read Mary Wollestonecraft on the rights of women. This is not an uneventful, sheltered life as so often portrayed! Claire Tomalin lifts the veil and shows Austen to be a modern woman making her way in an uncertain and changing world. The unrelenting pressures of money - or the lack of it - make Jane Austen's meagre and belated earnings from her novels especially poignant, bringing her finally some small measure of financial independence and wider recognition.

Whether you're coming to this book fresh from an Andrew Davies TV adaptation, or are a more serious scholar, this is a fascinating read and a very convincing portrait of a much-loved but still misunderstood genius.


AFFAIR OF THE BLOODSTAINED EGG COSY, THE (Burford Family Mysteries 1)
AFFAIR OF THE BLOODSTAINED EGG COSY, THE (Burford Family Mysteries 1)
by James Anderson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good read, 14 Dec. 2007
A well-written and light-hearted mystery which will appeal to all true lovers of classic detective fiction - excellent holiday reading.


Total I Ching: Myths for Change
Total I Ching: Myths for Change
by Stephen Karcher
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and clearest book on the I Ching, 3 April 2006
I've been an amateur student of the I-Ching for 25 years and have read and used many translations and interpretations. This is quite simply the best. Karcher combines academic scholarship with accessible, user-friendly interpretations of each hexagram. Whether your main interest in the I-Ching is psychological analysis, prediction, self-awareness, or an historical perspective on the I-Ching's symbolism, this book is brilliant. If you have puzzled over other, less insightful interpretations, then try this - you'll return to it again and again.


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