*This is a reposting of a post that I wrote for Indie Jane in 2011 and that was lost in the crash last year. I hope you enjoy it!*
There are lots of really great research books out there, books that will tell you everything you want to know about the Regency era (and cost you an arm and a leg). While these are great for research, personally, I prefer to learn by doing and by having fun! Here are a few of my favorite “Jane” related fun books, or as I call them Fun with Jane books. . . and you can learn somethin’ too!
The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black
I love this! My mom got it for me for Christmas a few years ago and it is actually has a place of honor with my other cookbooks. It’s so much fun. But then again, I am the kind of nerd that has “recreated” the food served at the First Thanksgiving (somewhere, right now, Rebecca aka RivkaBelle is getting ready to call me a homeschool nerd . . . I can actually feel her thinking it as she reads this). Some of the recipes in this book are truly mind bending, but the author manages to set them in time period and context so that they are easier for modern minds to grasp.
Jane Austen’s Sewing Box by Jennifer Forest
This books is gorgeous, and amazing, and gorgeous. Did I mention gorgeous? I drooled over it for the longest time, but it wasn’t available in the US for under $100. My friend in Australia actually sent it to me for Christmas last year because she is awesome and she loves me. Of course, now you can buy it from Amazon sellers for 17 bucks plus shipping. But I digress. I am a sewist and so was salivating to try some of these projects. They range in difficulty level, but even if you are brand spankin’ new to sewing (as in you bought the book and have never sewn anything before) you will find some great projects to learn with. These are the kind of items that Jane and her sister, or Lizzy and her sisters would have had with them during the day to work on while they were sitting around not tweeting, playing angry birds, or facebooking their days away. It also has an amazing page of cravat tying styles. Love. Did I say it was gorgeous? Oh, I did? Well, good cause it is!
In the Garden with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
This is the one book in this post that I don’t have . . . yet. It is most definitely on my wish list. From the publisher: This book strolls through the sorts of gardens that Jane Austen would have known and visited: the gardens of the great estates, cottage gardens, gardens in town, and public gardens and parks. With lush photos, social history, excerpts from the novels, information on her life, and period drawings, In the Garden with Jane Austen brings Jane Austen’s world and Georgian and Regency gardens to life. The book also includes gardens featured in film adaptations of Austen’s novels and provides instructions on creating one’s own Jane Austen garden.
Creating my own Jane Austen garden? Yes please! It might help if I had a yard . . . but this is a minor detail my friends. Minor. Detail. I think understanding the gardens of the time period are essential to understanding how people lived, and if you are writing an Austenesque novel it helps to be able to visualize the setting! According to Amazon this book is currently out of stock, but will be coming back into stock, so I suggest you snag it when it does. Before I do!
Which is your favorite out of the books that I’ve highlighted? Do you have any of them, or are any of them on your wish list? Do you have any other suggestions for Fun with Jane books?