Long Beach

Reading Group

Upcoming Meetings

Saturday, December 14, 12:30 p.m.
Jane Austen Birthday celebration
Location: Pamela’s Tea Shop in Garden Grove
RSVP no later than December 10

Member Christina Llata baked Jane Austen silhouette cookies and put together Austen-themed teabags for the group’s annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea in December 2016.


The Long Beach reading group meets every four to six weeks, generally on Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. Approximately seven to 12 members participate at each meeting, with no designated discussion leader. Everyone is encouraged to just jump in! The intellectual nourishment is supplemented by a delicious smorgasbord of potluck-style sweet and savory treats.

Over the years, the group also has met to enjoy movie nights, attend plays together and even to support a longtime member’s book signing. Recently, prompted by George Eliot’s Silas Marner, a member gave a hands-on demonstration of how to use a spinning wheel. An ongoing and much loved tradition is to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday with an afternoon tea at a local British tea shop. The group’s get-togethers are wonderful opportunities to connect with interesting, clever and thought-provoking people over interesting, clever and thought-provoking books.

New members are welcome!

Alice Villaseñor and Jameson Yu


Long Beach has seen previous Jane Austen reading group incarnations form and disband over several decades. After a lengthy hiatus, the current Long Beach Reading Group was launched in May 2008 by two novice JASNA-Southwest members, Margot Scheibe and Gerda Kilgore, who owed their friendship to Colin Firth’s Darcy since Margot and Gerda first met at a screening of Bridget Jones’s Diary! Margot discovered Jane Austen late in life but was determined to make up for lost time with her boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm and gentle insistence on hosting the group at her home for the majority of meetings until she passed away in 2012. Gerda Kilgore served as host for most meetings until 2017, when she moved to Europe. Gerda passed away in 2019. Sherwood Smith, an original member of the relaunched group, took over as group leader in summer 2017.

Margot’s proudest moment as co-founder was to see two group members—Alice Villaseñor and Jameson Yu—get engaged and then married in 2012, and to subsequently lose them to their new lives on the East Coast!

Reading List Archive

In 2008, the Long Beach Reading Group started out reading Jane Austen’s six novels, her Juvenilia and her unfinished works, her letters and various biographies, before branching out to other authors. Over the years, the group has had lively discussions on many classics by authors such as Richardson, Burney, the Brontës, Eliot, Fielding, Scott, Thackeray, Defoe, Smollett and Goldsmith. Members have delighted in a number of volumes of what they consider their particular, ongoing favorites: Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, Patrick O’Brian and Georgette Heyer. More unusual fare has included Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mrs. Gore’s Pin Money and R. H. Gronow’s Reminiscences of Captain Gronow. While the group mostly reads fiction, members have enjoyed, among other choices, James-Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen; Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things; and a cracking, spirited reading of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, for which group members took on all the speaking parts.


January 26
A Memoir of Jane Austen by James Austen-Leigh

March 2
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

April 20
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
June 15.
Emma by Jane Austen
September 7
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
November 9
Cecilia by Fanny Burney
December 14
Jane Austen birthday celebration

November 17
Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

September 22
Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

July 28
The Rivals by Richard Sheridan

June 30
Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman

May 19
Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte

April 7
Persuasion by Jane Austen

March 3
Evelina by Fanny Burney

January 13
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


January 29
Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope

March 11
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

May 20
Lady Susan and Sanditon by Jane Austen

August 5
The Watsons, Lady Susan and Sanditon by Jane Austen

September 9
Jane Austen’s Writing Advice: Letters to Anna Austen

November 11
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell


January 30
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

March 12
Persuasion by Jane Austen

April 9
Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.): Letters 97-116

May 21
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth

June 25
Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832, by Stella Tillyard

August 13
Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (letters 1-257) by Samuel Richardson

November 5
Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (second half) by Samuel Richardson

December 17
Bitch in a Bonnet by Robert Rode (Pride and Prejudice commentary)


January 24
Pin Money by Mrs. (Catherine Grace Frances) Gore

March 7
Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman

April 19
Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

June 6
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

July 11
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

August 22
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

October 17
Silas Marner by George Eliot

November 15
The Janeites by Rudyard Kipling and a short selection of Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.)

December 12
Lady Susan by Jane Austen and a short selection of Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.)


February 8
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

April 4
Bleak House by Charles Dickens

May 24
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

July 12
Middlemarch by George Eliot

September 6
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

October 4
Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell

November 22
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

December 14
A short selection of Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.)


January 12
H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O’Brian

February 17
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

April 13
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

May 11
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

June 22
Memoir of Jane Austen by James-Edward Austen-Leigh

August 4
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

September 1
The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

October 12
Emma by Jane Austen

November 16
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

December 28
A short selection of Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.)


February 4
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

March 17
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

April 28
The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

June 9
Emma by Jane Austen

July 14
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

August 25
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

November 3
Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian

December 8
Persuasion by Jane Austen


January 29
Evelina by Frances Burney

March 13
Pamela by Samuel Richardson and Shamela by Henry Fielding

April 9
Reminiscences of Captain Gronow by R. H. Gronow

May 21
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

July 16
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

September 10
The Warden by Anthony Trollope

November 5
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

December 17
Persuasion by Jane Austen


January 12
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

February 27
Hard Times by Charles Dickens

April 24
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

June 12
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

July 17
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope

August 28
The Duke’s Children and The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

October 16
Middlemarch by George Eliot

December 11
Vanity Fair by W.M. Thackeray


January 17
Emma by Jane Austen

February 21
Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon by Jane Austen

March 28
Various biographies of Jane Austen (each member read one of their own choice)

May 9
Jane Austen’s Letters (Deirdre Le Faye, ed.)

June 13
Jane Austen’s Juvenilia

August 1
Sanditon by Jane Austen and Another Lady

September 12
Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian

October 24
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

November 21
Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer


June 15
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

July 26
Persuasion by Jane Austen

September 6
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

October 25
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

December 6
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen