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All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane
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All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,944 ratings  ·  391 reviews
"An illuminating insight...fascinating."--Amanda Grange, bestselling author of Mr. Darcy's Diary

"A journey through both a physical landscape and the geography of the human heart and mind...delightfully entertaining and often deeply moving, this book reminds us that Austen's world--and her characters--are very much alive."--Michael Thomas Ford, author of Jane Bites Back

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Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks, Incorporated
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,944 ratings  ·  391 reviews


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Ashley Arthur
I am eternally grateful to the Nook “Free Book Friday” program for throwing this book my way. When I turned on my Nook last Friday to see what book was available that week, I downloaded it because A.) it was free, and B.) I love Jane Austen. How did I not know about this book?

Embarrassing confession: I began reading after the briefest skim of the summary that Nook provided, and I had to stop several chapters in to confirm that this book is a nonfiction account of Amy Smith’s year-long trip
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Amy
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am currently studying abroad in a non-English speaking country and as much as I would like to say I'm handling it with the pizzazz of Professor Smith's students who go native, the truth is I more often stumble around feeling lost and frustrated. So every time Professor Smith loses her cool in this book and describes snapping at the people around her, I felt secretly vindicated.
See, Mom? I'm not the only person who whines about feeling beat down and exhausted while living in a foreign country.
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Diane
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I like travelogues and I like Jane Austen, and this is a pleasant narrative of the author's journey through several Latin American countries. Smith stayed in each country for a few months and set up book clubs with the locals to read and discuss different Austen novels. Smith, who is a literature professor in California, wanted to know if Miss Austen's stories would translate well into Spanish-speaking countries. For the most part, the readers enjoyed the books and had good discussions about ...more
Tanya
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Barely 3 stars for me. Loved the premise of learning more about how Jane Austen's stories translate in life and love to modern readers in South America but felt the writer was too busy translating her reports from her yearlong journey than conveying all that could have been shared with the reader. There was no depth and I wanted more.
Ron
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
writer...
Great Jane #austeninAugust reading with this South American travel memoir.
Kathryn
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would based on the premise, which sounded a bit woo-woo (English professor spends a year journeying through South & Central America, organizing Austen-reading groups in each country). Dr. Smith describes her journey well; she blends humor and sympathy, bringing her friends and their homes to life. She didn't mind poking fun at herself when she inadvertently fulfilled an American Tourist Stereotype, but she also didn't insist that all of those ...more
QNPoohBear
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a university professor in southern California, Amy Smith teaches courses on Jane Austen. Not a class goes by when someone wants to assault one of the characters or marry Mr. Darcy (Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney). Amy wondered whether Latin American readers connected with the characters in the same way. Armed with some contacts and studies at a Spanish language school in Guatemala, Amy visited 6 countries to read Austen's three most popular novels Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice and ...more
Lynn Spencer
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
I found this book via a review (I'm guessing either Mean Old Fat Bat or Rosario, not sure which) and finally got around to reading it. What a treat!

Here's the basic set-up: Professor travels throughout Latin America, reading various Jane Austen works in Spanish with reading groups in each country she visits. What follows is an interesting journey across cultures that shows how different each of the countries Smith visits are as well as how universal some of Austen's themes can be. I loved how
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Maria Grazia
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book all through this summer, a chapter from time to time, enjoying and sharing Amy Elizabeth Smith's enthusiasm for Jane Austen and her work and envying her the luck of living such an extraordinary non-academic but enriching experience . All Roads Lead to Austen is a vivacious travelog telling about her experience in different book clubs all over Latin America, but it is also her declaration of love for Jane Austen's work. A travel book full of amusing anecdotes, real experiences, ...more
Heather
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
i have a tendency to find books that "speak" to me when I need them and this one spoke. I really connected with the writer and her adventures. it is wonderful to see that Jane Austen resonates with the whole world regardless of the language.
Allie
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Huston
I was really happy with this book, full of insights into both Latin America and also on reading Jane Austen. The author is smart, intelligent and wise enough not to make this a 'ALL ABOUT ME!' memoir. Along the way I got to learn quite a few things, especially South American authors I should be reading, and of course, Jane Austen. This one had all sorts of surprises. I can happily recommend this one to anyone who enjoys Austen, and travel. Five stars overall.

For the longer review, please go
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Eden
2019 - bk 240. I had purchased this a number of years ago and it lingered on my to-be-read shelf until week ago when I felt drawn to pick this up. The year of Dr. Smith's life visiting countries to the south, improving her Spanish, learning the culture and how to function daily in each of the different countries is interesting. The author and her readership are drawn into the small glimpses they see of the lives of folks in each of those different countries - and how we are all interconnected ...more
Brenda Mengeling
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, library-book, memoir, 54
I found this more interesting than enjoyable, which is fine. The interesting part was how readers in different countries of Latin America responded to reading Jane Austen's novels. The "universality" of Austen's themes were a bit different with each reading group, and they thought of things that as an American reader, I hadn't considered. If you are an Austen fan, it is worth reading for that alone.

The memoir was good, but I found it more uneven. I think some parts of her life were exaggerated
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Beverly
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This actually turned into a more interesting read than I thought it might. Ms. Smith takes a year to tour through the countries of South American setting up book clubs with those who will read books by Jane Austen, buying many pounds of books to send home, constantly letting her mother know that she's not dead or injured yet and looking for a set of Nancy Drew books in Spanish. It was fun to see how the people she met and coaxed to participate felt about the various Austen books they read and ...more
Caitlin
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017, memoirs
This was surprisingly an enjoyable read. It's not what I'd typically pick up, but I read the back and was intrigued. This moves pretty quickly, and Smith provides some historical and cultural context of each of the country she visits as well as admitting her own assumptions and how wrong she was. I also enjoyed reading about what various people made of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma - and some of these comments in fact gave me material that I'll certainly be chewing on ...more
Amanda
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really and truly enjoyed this book. I decided to finally read it (having gotten it as a Christmas present at least two years ago) because I am traveling to Columbia in May and thought, “This is the perfect way to connect my upcoming adventure with Jane Austen!” It was an inspiring book and I highly recommend it for Janeites and travel enthusiasts!
Ross
Feb 11, 2017 added it
I got this book looking for a biography of Miss Austen and the book turned out to be a kind of book club of Jane's work presented in Spanish. Since it was of no interest to me I dropped it and give it no rating.
So I still have to find the biography to learn about her short life.
Ellen Little
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Travelogue meets book clubs! This was great fun & a good way to tie up my listening to all of Jane Austen's books.
Anna
May 28, 2012 added it
Shelves: austenesque
Amy Elizabeth Smith, a college writing and literature professor in California, embarked on a yearlong journey to Central and South America to immerse herself in the culture and host Jane Austen book clubs to see how Austen’s works translated into Spanish and whether the people would identify with her characters…and even if they threatened bodily harm to certain characters that typically get Smith’s students’ blood boiling. In All Roads Lead to Austen, Smith chronicles her trip, including the ...more
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-austen
One Author. Three Novels. Six Countries.

The Mission: To determine if Jane Austen resonates the same in different cultures. Is she as universally accessible as she is timeless?

The Time Assigned to Complete Mission: One year

The Candidate: Professor Amy Elizabeth Smith from the University of the Pacific. Age - 42. Single. Ardent Janeite.

In her honest, humorous, and inspiring travel memoir Amy Elizabeth Smith brings readers to six diverse and vibrant countries – Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Paraguay,
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Patrice Sarath
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the most unexpected Austenesque books I read this year was All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith. Smith took a year to visit in six Latin American countries where she set up reading groups to read the most popular Jane Austen novels. How would women (and more than a few men) respond to that most English of authors? Would Austen’s highly mannered, highly restricted, narrow style appeal across cultures not just once but several times?

Dear Reader, it would. The book is a wonderful
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Alison
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, the author, professor Amy Elizabeth Smith who teaches writing and literature (including a course on Jane Austen) at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, decides to take a year long trip through Latin America holding a book club while in each country on one of Jane Austen's books. I am not an ardent Jane Austen follower like so many people seem to be, but this book actually makes me want to revisit some of Austen's work.
I first became interested when I
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Jodi
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an enjoyable read. A unique idea! Loved the insights from the book groups, so interesting to learn what they thought of Jane Austin's most popular books. Some of the discussions were more insightful than a recent class I took on JA. Also enjoyed learning how Amy developed her Spanish language skills and fearlessly put herself in the middle of complex conversations in countries with such different ways of speaking Spanish. Always fun to read about the trials and tribulations (and tropical ...more
Kirk
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jane-austen
"All Roads lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane" by Amy Elizabeth Smith...4 1/2 Teacups!!! There are many interesting discussions in this book, as the author travels to 6 countries to discuss Jane! The book groups in each country discussing Jane(Books/Films) was fascinating. The Author also talked in great length about authors in each country visited. Occasionally the number of authors discussed in each country became overwhelming to me. However, unlike someone on Goodreads who ...more
Elderberrywine
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
Well, now, this was fun! Smith, a lit professor at a small California college, sets off on a year's journey through six Central and South American countries, with only rudimentary Spanish (at least to start with) and a suitcase loaded with copies of Orgullo y Prejuicio, as well as the rest of the ouvre.

She explores each distinct site, finds amazing bookstores nearly everywhere, and discovers as well as puts together Austen reading groups, and finds nearly every group responds to Austen, though
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Amy
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Full review available here.

I love Jane Austen, and I'm interested in learning more about Latin America. Smith does a nice job providing history and cultural context for each of the six countries she visits. In her preface, she mentions Reading Lolita in Tehran as inspiration. I was hoping Smith's book group discussions would be meatier, more in the vein of Reading Lolita in Tehran. It was still an enjoyable read. I read most of it on the D.C. metro while in town for a business trip. It was a
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Pammie
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
An English professor travels to Latin America to take Austen south of the border. She learned Spanish, and organized book groups to discuss various Austen titles throughout the countries. Along the way, she contracts dengue fever and falls in love. This book made me miss my wonderful book group in Texas as Smith's participants hashed out Austen's message as it translated from English to Spanish, from the Old world to the New, and from her time to ours. Very inspiring--made me want to reread (and ...more
Jeanette
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Rounded UP to a 3 for the travelogue features. There were spots of unique conversation between people of various cultures discussing Austen. BUT, there were also long diatribes by Amy E. Smith about Amy E. Smith and all her druthers. That is quite a love affair. And it was often almost distasteful to me in length and tone.

Most of the analysis of Austen you would be better off, by far, in reading Austen and enjoying her wit in that direction. It's far more original and authentically unique. If
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