I love to talk about how Jane Austen has changed my life and wrote about the impact of her books in my memoir, Jane & I: A Tale of Austen Addiction. There’s a new book out on the same subject which is so beautifully written, moving and illuminating – I can’t recommend it too highly!
The Jane Austen Remedy by Ruth Wilson is a book about how rereading Jane Austen can cure problems and provide therapy. Ruth had reached a point in her life when all should have been going well, but she felt a malaise she could not explain. She regretted missing out on some of life’s opportunities and felt that, as a woman, she had been pushed into gender-specific roles which did not satisfy her. And so, she set off to live in a cottage in the Southern Highlands on her own and there she embarked on her Jane Austen remedy.
The novels taught her many things – about herself and about other people, and she learned different lessons from each of the six novels. Her journey is a fascinating one and it had some amazing results. In her late 80s, Ruth embarked on a PhD about the importance of teaching Jane Austen in the classroom. She was then asked by a publisher to write this new book. My words of praise are on the cover and I feel proud to have an association with such a thought-provoking and insightful book.
Dewey was dumped in a book return bin, but was rapidly embraced by library staff and the public, and spent the rest of his life promoting reading. Books were published about Dewey (he died in 2008) and the joy he had brought to library patrons. The 1997 film Puss in Books: The Adventures of a Library Cat was a charming movie about various library cats around America. The cats featured have delightful titles – The Boss, Librarian in Charge of Rodent Control, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Library Mascot, and Library King. Some of them have wonderfully bookish names: Stacks, Pages, Browser, Libris, Bibliocat, and Homer are some examples.
Resident library cats demand a managerial role and for their status to be officially recognised by staff and visitors alike. The role can be a demanding one, requiring supervision of the premises from strategic vantage points (generally up high), ensuring books retain that ‘book aroma’, and customer relations (accepting pats from patrons). The position attracts a salary in the form of regular meals and sunny corners.