Amy's Reviews > All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane

All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
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's review
May 07, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: 2012
Read from July 06 to 15, 2012

While I do not profess to be a Jane Austen buff or scholar, I enjoy movies based on her books. I've read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion as well, so I'm not a total faker fan. I'm not a "Janeite" by any means either. (That term is really stupid, by the way. It sounds like a type of rock. Why not "Janeaholic?" "Austen-thusiast?") I guess I would classify myself as more of a genre fan, rather than a super Austen devotee. Logistics aside, I thought this book was just okay.

The premise intrigued me, but ended up getting bogged down by scope in the long run. If Smith had narrowed her focus, I think the resulting memoir would have been more detailed and interesting instead of the very quick summations presented here. This book also dips into Eat, Pray, Love territory a bit too much with a convenient love story tacked on to what could have been an interesting story just about the book groups. Smith is nowhere near as irritating as Elizabeth Gilbert, thankfully. I enjoyed her narrative style for the most part. I didn't really relate to some of her "book nerd" generalizations, but I think she comes across as likeable. I certainly can't feel sorry for someone who gets to spend a year traveling as their job, though. It was kind of annoying when she'd mention a month (or three!) wasn't enough time to "get to know" a city. Not everyone gets elaborate paid vacations and have to content themselves with two weeks or less. The "Reading Group Guide" in the back of the copy I read seemed a little pretentious, but I guess if it's a book about book clubs, it's sort of an easy correlation.

Overall, I liked the brief glimpses of Latin America provided through the travel essay-ish portions of the book, and it made me want to brush up on my Spanish and read the rest of Jane Austen's books. If you're looking for highbrow literary commentary, look somewhere else, but for a breezy summer non-fiction this will do the job.

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message 1: by Sharon (new)

Sharon yes,but what exactly is janeahol? or chocohol for that matter?

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