For Austen fans and lovers of wise words, Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom: Words on Love, Life, Society, and Literature compiled by Andrea Kirk Assaf, provides a genuine treasure trove. While “little,” this is a chonky volume: 4.25 x 5 inches and a full inch thick with 400 pages. Still, it is perfectly weighted for tossing in a bag without getting lost, and this is definitely one to take along. The book is divided into eight themed sections: Love & Longing; Friendship; Home & Society; On Being a Woman; Life, Death, and Spirituality; The Arts, Intellect, and Literature; Good Manners, Virtue, and Vice; A Philosophy of Life. Each page houses only one quote, making this the perfect “prompt” book for writing, mantra, and meditation. More than I anticipated, and much to my delight, in addition to quotes from Austen’s novels, there are also many entries culled from “her prayers, poems, and amusing, self-deprecating personal letters, most of which were addressed to her best friend and sister, Cassandra.” At the close of the volume are thirty-two blank pages for readers to pen their own favorites or reflections or ‘overheard gems,’ making this a perfect companion only in want of a pen to be complete. Assaf has curated a wonderful collection here, her other works encompassing popes and saints, precisely in line with the reverence Austen deserves.
Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom by Andrea Kirk Assaf. Hampton Road Publishing, March 1, 2023.
Reviewer bio: Denise Hill is Editor of NewPages.com and reviews books she chooses based on her own personal interests.