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What Would Jane Read? (Episode 2: LFL5491, Custis Ave.) Alexandria, VA

July 3rd, 2014 (11:13 am)

P1240295JaneaboveCustisLFLsign,30% cropped vertFor the second installment of "What Would Jane Austen Read?" I ventured just a few blocks away to Custis Avenue here in Del Ray, home of Little Free Library #5491. Besides my own, this was the first LFL that Jane had visited, and she was impressed. The Custis Avenue LFL is made from a converted bee house! If that isn't cool enough, it bears several homey touches that impressed Jane very much. She expecially liked the bird feeder made from a teapot, hanging in a nearby tree. And the flowers planted nearby reminded her of a garden outside an English cottage.

I was trying to decide which book Jane might choose, of the ones that were in the LFL that day. And I've decided she'd like Anne Brashares' Second Summer of the Sisterhood best: four strong female protagonists in their teens, dealing with suitors (or the lack thereof); family squabbles; and their own changing friendship. I suspect Jane would be a bit scandalized by the blue jeans, but she'd get over it; I think by the end, she'd envy the characters their ability to wear comfortable, casual clothes without losing their social status.

(I should mention here that I actually know Anne Brashares. When I first started writing Sweet Valley High books, she was the editorial assistant at the publishing office. She was the one who sent me my first SVH materials so I could "try out" as a writer for the series. As I wrote many books in the following years, she moved up through the ranks of the company until she was one of the most senior people working on Sweet Valley High. But we communicated by mail, e-mail, and phone. I never actually met her in person until several years after we had both left the series.)

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