It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Jane Austen fanatic must be in want of a day to celebrate. Born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon, a rural village of Hampshire, England, the famed author lived until 1817. Jane Austen’s birthday, December 16th, is the perfect day to celebrate!
The easiest way to honor Austen’s birthday is to read (or reread!) something she wrote. If you’re feeling ambitious, try reading one of Jane Austen’s novels in her own handwriting: http://www.janeausten.ac.uk/index.html.
Need something shorter to read? This poem, as published in the biography by James Edward Austen-Leigh, was written by Jane Austen to accompany a gift. In 1792, her friend Mary Lloyd moved to a different neighborhood. Jane Austen gave Mary a small needlework bag, sometimes called a hussif (think of it as an abbreviation for pocket housewife). Here is the poem that she included.
This little bag, I hope, will prove
To be not vainly made;
For should you thread and needles want,
It will afford you aid.
And, as we are about to part
T’will serve another end:
For when you look upon this bag
You’ll recollect your friend.
If you’re looking for something new to read by Jane Austen, check out her unfinished works: Austen …Unfinished