Sharing the Love of Jane, by Katherine Reay

Sharing the Love of Jane, by Katherine Reay

Last year my daughter joined a volleyball that practiced thirty minutes from home three times a week – so we drove. And for the required fifteen tournaments a season – we drove. I wondered what we’d do with all this time. One can listen to much rock, pop, country or even classical music…

Out came the audiobooks! My search for our perfect first book began with a chat about what she was reading in class… Okay, she was twelve, but still… There was no Austen, Montgomery, Bronte, or Twain.

So I set out to rectify this educational deficit. First, Daddy Long Legs – after Dear Mr. Knightley, I couldn’t help myself.

Then we moved on to Persuasion. I’m still not sure if that was the place to start, but it’s my favorite Austen.

At first understanding was tough for her. But the more she listened, the more attuned she became to the language, the movement within the story and the nuances of emotion. And with understanding came real interest. We’ve since moved on to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

Through this experience, I realized that if I don’t share the things I love, my daughters may never understand them. I don’t mean kindness, thoughtfulness, self-control etc., I mean the more simple pleasures of a well-written classic novel, a nice chocolate chip cookie or a walk on a fall day. And to appreciate what society may now deem as “old” as something still brilliant and capable of teaching us something new.

I know if you’re visiting here – and thank you for that – you adore Austen too. And if you have any other ideas for me as I work to engender a love for great books in my children, let me know.

Volleyball season has begun again. And so has the driving. And as launched yesterday, we’re beginning with Jane Eyre. But soon… I sense we’ll spend time in Northanger Abbey.

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November 8, 2015 12:59 PM

How wonderful for you both. I was about that age when I chose Pride and Prejudice as a Sunday School prize – loved it! If she hasn’t already read them I would also suggest the childrens classics ‘What Katy Did’ & ‘What Katy Did Next’ these were other favourites of the time and of course ‘Little Women’!
I managed to instil a love of books into both my children, reading to them from babies. I think it is one of the best gifts you can give them. My grandson aged 2 is following in the same way as both his parents love to read to him. He lives in Australia but I send him books and my daughter buys them and takes him to the library. He will soon have to share them with his baby brother but he has already started to tell him stories!
Good luck with the audio books.

Sharon Lathan
November 6, 2015 6:35 PM

Congratulations on your new book, Katherine!!! So exciting!

Heidi Robbins (@colorvibrant)
November 5, 2015 1:12 PM

I love this! I agree that the language can be a little tough since we’re not used to it but it’s gratifying to appreciate a story that has stood the test of time.

November 4, 2015 7:36 PM

What a great idea to introduce these classics to your daughter. I never read Austen till I was an adult and started watching P&P on TV way before the ’95 version. My daughter got interested at the movie version and is now quite a fan. We’re trying to interest her daughter now.
By the way, Daddy Long Legs was my absolute favorite book as a youngster, and instill have my old falling apart copy!

November 4, 2015 2:18 PM

Thank you for a simple reminder that we need to share what we love with our children and grandchildren. I think so often of the things I tried to instill in my son and how a lot of it seems to have made an impact. Jane Austen’s words are timeless and educational. Thank you for spreading the joy with your books!

November 4, 2015 8:08 AM

Katherine, you are doing a wonderful job of introducing your daughters to the important things in life! Congratulations on the release of The Bronte’ Plot.

November 4, 2015 11:20 AM
Reply to  carylkane

Thank you so much. I’m glad to have that story out there… 🙂

Debbie Fortin
November 4, 2015 6:24 AM

What you are doing is wonderful. In sharing your love I am sure she will share hers with you. It will bring a closer bond. My son and I shared this kind of time together and I learned so much more about him and we still have a close bond and understanding of each other. All your books are on my TBR.

November 4, 2015 11:21 AM
Reply to  Debbie Fortin

Thank you! I must say, I do wish my other kids had this. Not that I’d want all that driving, but this one and I spend a lot of time together and meet books that I know she wouldn’t otherwise encounter.

November 4, 2015 6:08 AM

Love Jane Eyre and I’m sure she will also. After Austen, she’s a favorite. You might also want to try North and South. It’s wonderful what your doing wish I had done that. I’m a post hockey parent and we drove All over even east Oshkosh. Lol

November 4, 2015 11:22 AM
Reply to  chatty1082

It is a remarkable amount of driving. And great advice — I think she’d love Gaskell. Thanks!

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