Austentacious Study Group News

California, Greater Sacramento

Angela Schroeder

Have you wondered how to start a special interest group?  Read on and discover the story of the first 10 months of the Austentacious Study Group that meets in Elk Grove.  It began with an organizational meeting on February 23, 2019, and the first book discussion on April 6.  The new group is organized and led by Mary Adams-Wiley who has been strongly supported by Program Chair Bonnie Mischo-Allinger, Movie Adaptation Expert,Joy Prevost, Regional Coordinator, Lynn Ossolinski, and Elsie Mak, a Librarian at the Elk Grove Library. 

Judy Bukowski

“I couldn’t have done it without Bonnie, Joy, Lynn, and Elsie” says Mary Adams-Wiley.  Bonnie’s recommendations took the group from Jane Austen for Dummies, byformer JASNA President, Joan Klingel Ray, on the first Saturday in April, through 2 sessions on Pride and Prejudice and a movie adaptation, before a July break.  August through October were especially busy with 2 sessions on Northanger Abbey, plus the movie, and a stage play (organized by Lanni Butterworth).  In November the Greater Sacramento Region did a special program with 2 speakers on Northanger Abbey, and the study group discussed William Deresiewicz’s_A Jane Austen Education

Bonnie  leads all the book discussions; Joy introduces the movies, tells the group what to watch for, leads the movie discussions afterwards and takes a fan rating.  Lynn keeps the group updated on all JASNA and regional activities and supports it’s efforts in every way she can.  Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious.  Elsie makes the meeting space a welcoming place and assists with the logistics and publicity.  Mary keeps organizing, reporting via email on the last meeting, reminding members about the next one, preparing agendas and sticking to them for the business session after the discussions.

Mary Adams-Wiley (left), Lynn Ossolinski (right)

On the first Saturday in December a special holiday-themed session focused on A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions, by Maria Grace, as well as the first book review for the group.  Judy Bukowski reported on An Unexpected Merry Gentleman: A Pride and Prejudice Christmas Novella.  The author of the book and member of the group, Anngela Schroeder, explained how she came to write it, and read a few brief passages.  A holiday party followed, not only celebrating the joyous season, but also the end of the first year together, and the friendships being built while learning more about Jane Austen.  Several members brought food and beverages, the room decor featured a Christmas tree of Jane Austen buttons, and holiday cookie favors underneath the tree.

Attendance averaged 12 from February through November, but the Holiday program and party drew a larger group — 18 members and 5 guests.  About 35% of the members were already part of the Sacramento Reading Group and now attend both meetings.  The distance between the two meeting sites is 16 miles.  Of the other 65%, most are either new to Austen or haven’t read her books in several years.  This mix works well, and membership is still growing.

A Royal-tea Celebrating Jane Austen

The program will include “George III: Sovereign of a Lifetime” From Jane Austen’s birth in 1775 until her death in 1817, she knew only one sovereign: George III, who was king from 1760 to 1820. He ruled during times of world-changing events: the Seven Years War, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Napoleonic wars. Despite that, most Americans only know him for two things: what was said about him in the Declaration of Independence and the fact that he went mad. James Nagle will explain the man, his impact, and his tragic end.

Local costumer and owner of Etsy store, Thither, Anna Morton will present on what Jane Austen might have worn upon visiting Carlton House, the Prince Regent’s London residence to visit his Library on November 13, 1815. Expect to see Regency fashions on live models!

We will also hear “Jane and Kate—Austen’s Royal Relation”, partake in a basket drawing , a tribute and camaraderie.

Tea is served by Sacramento tea purveyors, The Novel Tea. 3-tiers of delicious delights and a custom–blended tea honoring the glorious, Jane Austen.

Please feel free to come in Georgian or Regency-style apparel to add to the splendor and grandeur of the day. Arrive early to check-in and find a seat at a table beautifully set by member hosts.

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Chawton House Bench Campaign 2019

Dear Greater Sacramento Region,

This year at the AGM, the NAFCH (North American Friends of Chawton House) was showcasing the Bench Campaign 2019.   The Austen Trail and its quotation markers have become very popular.  Right now there are not enough benches in the garden for visitors to linger.  As more visitors come to Chawton House, these new benches will help them to enjoy their visit in comfort, with time to sit and enjoy the views that Austen, too, admired.  The benches are large durable Lutyens benches, which should last for many years and fit the style of the gardens.  The benches are designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed some terraces at Chawton House.  Several members of our Region thought this would be a good campaign for our region to support.   Each bench donation cost is $2,000.

We selected Bench #20, Walled Garden, Orchard View.   So now there are two items left that our Region needs to do to complete this sponsorship.   First we need to raise the Donation Fee: $2,000.   Secondly we need to select a quote.   The quotations are to be from any book that Austen may have read from among the titles in the collections of Chawton House.

So I hope you will consider making a donation toward this worthy campaign.

Kathy Stephens

JASNA Sacramento Region

Greater Sacramento Region News – October 2019

September 14th Program Meeting @ Joy Prevost’s home

It has been an exciting few months for our region. We have recently launched several new interest groups: Jane Austen Fiber Friends- a group dedicated to knitting and crocheting projects inspired by Jane Austen and the Regency Period- has been meeting every month before our regular reading group.  Our new group Austen on Stage has been organizing outings this Fall to regional theater productions of two different plays inspired by Jane Austen’s novels. And our new group The Jane Austen Movie Fan Club lead by regional member Joy Prevost has been particularly active. In July we watched the movie “The Jane Austen Book Club” to tie in with our discussion of Karen Joy Fowler’s book in our reading group. In August the movie club presented the 2005 movie version of “Pride and Prejudice” to our newly formed Austentacious Study Group.

This fall our region has been focusing on Northanger Abbey in order to compliment the theme for this year’s AGM.  We are midway through our series now. In September both of our regional reading groups discussed the novel. On September 14th at our quarterly program meeting regional member Nancy Kleinert gave a presentation on the origins of Gothic Literature in England and its influence on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. That was followed by the viewing and discussion of the moderately obscure 1986 BBC version of “Northanger Abbeypresented by our Jane Austen Movie Fan Club.  Our Northanger Abbey series will continue in October with our members attending a local theatrical production of “Northanger Abbey” and in November with a program featuring lectures from local academics.

Trip to Mills College

       Our bus trip to Mills College in Oakland, CA, was a big success. We had a bus of 24 members (minus 2 cancellations) and 2 members met us in Oakland.Thanks to our treasurer Margaret Murphy for collecting the check and paying the bus!

      At the Olin Library in the rare books room librarian Janice Braun displayed the prayers and discussed the acquisition of them as a donation to Mills College from an outstanding member of the Oakland community. Rachael Dodge put together a basket of JASNA related items for the librarian with our gratitude. Mary Adams-Wiley added some precious mementos too.

      Rachael Dodge gave information about the content of the prayers and her research which resulted in the publication of Praying with Jane. Rachael also said a prayer over us on our trip. The bus driver Alfred said a loud “AMEN”.

     Alice Taylor arranged the bus travel by All West Charter Bus Company. We gave the bus driver a $50 tip from the group. The bus was very comfortable, and the trip went smoothly.

 Thanks to Alice for arranging the bus driver to bring our lunches to us after the viewing. We enjoyed the Tea Shop outdoor seating. Mary Adams-Wiley prepared the Name Badges and the framed table markers. We had time to view the campus and the outstanding architecture of the famous woman architect Julia Morgan.

    Joy Prevost organized our delicious authentic treats from the Book-to-Fork Jane Austen Interest Group. With Lynn’s cucumber tea sandwiches on the way there; Amy’s Rout Cakes for lunch; and Mary’s Berry Puffs on the way home!

Joy representing JA Movie Fans Interest Group also narrated and organized the movie “Becoming Jane” shown on the way home and back. She prepared questions for us to keep in mind during the show. Then we took a vote as a “fan”—with fully open fans as the best rating!