Long Beach

Reading Group

 

Next Meeting

December 15
Jane Austen birthday celebration
Location: Pamela’s Tea Room, Garden Grove
RSVP required by December 12.

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

Contact

Sherwood Smith

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.

About

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

History

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. 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.

2019

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

2018
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

2017

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

2016

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)

2015

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.)

2014

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.)

2013

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.)

2012

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

2011

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

2010

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

2009

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

2008

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