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Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

October 20, 2005

Every once and awhile I participate in the Barnes and Noble University. I have read several books along with the book clubs that they have offered there, including Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Attwood and Wicked by Gregory McGuire. I also did a book club for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so I could get other ideas on Snape theories. Most recently I read The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler. There are two really great things about the online book clubs; 1) they are free, 2) the author is part of the book club giving insight it their work.
JABC was a good book, especially if you’re a big Jane Austen fan. I haven’t really read much Jane Austen, but found the book interesting because it was a book about a book club. Kind of like a play within a play. It had been on the Best Seller list for a while, and I had seen it around so I figured why not give it a go? I haven’t quite decided it the book was plot, or character driven. JABC starts out with five women and one man who meet once a month to discuse Jane Austen. The characters are intriguing, each of them bringing a slightly different perspective to the group. We learn about each character from their own perspective when they host the group, and because of that I felt that the book was mostly about getting to know the characters, and how they would grow from participating in the book club. However, the ending was what shook me. Without giving to much away, the book ended because of the events that were taking place around the characters, instead of by some sort of personal growth like I expected.
One of the main themes for this book was how similar characters could be even if they were separated by 100 years. Jane Austen and Karen Fowlers’ characters are very concerned with how they are supposed to do things. Not only are they highly concerned with this, but the major plot lines are around romance and marriage, similar to Austen.
I really enjoyed my book club book about a book club. (Say that 10 times fast) I’m hoping to do Son of a Witch by Gregory McGuire in November, but we’ll see how busy I get. I highly recommend the Barnes and Noble book clubs, especially if you enjoy seeing what is new in the literary world.

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