GeekMom Gift Guide: All Things Jane Austen

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Image: BBC

As we pass all of the 200th anniversaries of Jane Austen’s life and publishing career (she died 200 years ago this year), more people are discovering Jane’s wit and wisdom, well-crafted stories, and beloved characters. Revisiting her stories is like spending time with an old friend. We often feel a sense of ownership over the worlds, characters, and locations she’s created, even though she only wrote a half dozen novels and a few other things.

For any Austen fan, Jane-themed gifts are usually a sure winner. Even beyond her novels, short stories, and the movies and miniseries upon which they are based, companies have produced stationery, coloring books, socks, and even tabletop games based on her works, her life, and the time in which she lived. I’ve gathered many Jane Austen products together for this gift guide.

Jane Austen’s Novels

Annotated Jane Austen novels – Once you’re familiar with the storylines of Jane’s novels, a fun way to re-read them is through annotated versions. With the novel pages on the left and the extensive annotations on the right, David M. Shapard has done a marvelous job giving background to the time period and context for some of the more obscure references. Pick a favorite, or get the whole set: Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park. (She also wrote a number of short stories, juvenilia, and letters that have also been published, though these aren’t (yet?) annotated versions.)

Novels in Comic Form – Marvel has provided us with some lovely comic book versions of some of Jane Austen’s work, namely Sense and Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Emma. These are simplified story lines, but include beautiful art and are another way to enjoy Austen.

Books About Jane’s Regency Era

Jane Austen for Dummies – Despite its unfortunate title, this book is extremely informative about what society was like for Jane Austen, her characters, and the rest of the gentry class. I found it to be an excellent place to start to help understand the off-hand references to carriages, income, and social missteps that are in her books.

The Jane Austen Handbook – Though not as wide ranging as the Dummies book, this one tackles various life skills and breaks them down into steps to follow. Some of the included instructions are “How to Marry Off Your Daughter” and “How to Plan a Dinner Party,” vital skills for any Regency lady.

Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades, & Horrible Blunders – This book focuses on manners, and how to act appropriately in society, and is based on correspondence between Austen and her niece. Quotes from Jane herself are included to help inspire.

Jane Austen’s Sewing Box: Craft Projects and Stories from Jane Austen’s Novels – Filled with gorgeous photos and 18 Regency-era sewing, needlecraft, and other decorative projects, you can deck out your own home, doing the same kind of work that Jane probably spent time doing.

Jane Austen Biolographies

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed – Learn a bit about Jane Austen’s own life, which was both quite similar and quite different from that of her books’ heroines. She was part of the gentry class, but never did make a love match. Her life had few things in common with the happy endings of her novels.

Library of Luminaries: Jane Austen – This is a gorgeously illustrated short biography of Jane Austen that hits the highlights, and the watercolor images capture the feel of what is described.

What Would Jane Do? – This pocket-sized collection of Jane Austen quotes from her books and letters will help you to always have the right thing to say in any situation.

Activity Books

Coloring Books – With adult coloring books all the rage now, Jane Austen-themed ones were inevitable. Color Me Jane, Classic Coloring: Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice: A Coloring Classic will all keep you in Jane’s world while you color your stress away.

Jane-a-Day 5-Year Journal – If you like to write in a daily diary but only have a few minutes to spare, this Jane Austen 5-year journal shares Austen quotes and has room for you to jot down a few lines per day.

Movies and Miniseries

There are many versions of each of Jane Austen’s works in movie and/or miniseries form. Some are better than others, and everyone has their favorites. Here are mine.

Tabletop Games

The Jane Game: A Jane Austen Trivia Game – Test your knowledge of all things Austen with 300 trivia questions from her novels. Up to seven players can work to become accomplished ladies, gain social experience, or make a prudent match (or stay free and single).

Marrying Mr. Darcy – This game has players trying to match up the major marriage-seeking characters from Pride and Prejudice. Will your match be a good one? Or will you end up with Mr. Collins? There is also an expansion for Emma, and one for the Undead. Because of course there is. Read GeekDad Jonathan Liu’s review of the base game.

Polite Society: The Jane Austen Board Game – Your job is to throw a dinner party and seat your guests around the table in such a way as to preserve and improve your reputation. So that you can throw even more dinner parties! Read GeekDad Rory Bristol’s review.

Toys

Jane Austen Action Figure – One of my favorite desk companions is my Jane Austen action figure. She’s poised, witty, beautiful, and always ready with a bit of useful advice. She’s available with either a pink or green Spencer jacket and comes with a quill, book, and writing desk.

Paper Dolls – Paper dolls are probably as old as paper, and you can get a whole playset in a tiny space. Now you can act out your own love match scenarios.

Austen-themed Temporary Tattoos – Take Jane along for the day with one of these temporary tattoos. There are 22 options, including a painting of Jane herself, a top hat, a book, the Pemberley estate, and even Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt.

Stationery

Jane Austen Literary Stationery Set – If you’re one to write letters, this gorgeous stationery set provides notecards, envelopes, gold sticker seals, a pocket journal, and a keepsake storage box. Just provide the quill!

From the Desk of Jane Austen – If you prefer postcards, this stack of 100 will keep you in Jane cards for a while. Featuring quotes from her letters and books, you can share your love of Jane with your postcard recipients.

Household Goods

Jane Austen Socks – Because socks. And they feature the Jane Austen quote, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” Perfect for wearing while snuggling up with a good (Austen) book.

Mug and Coasters – This generous 14-ounce mug and these book cover coasters will have you set for tea time. The mug features some of Jane Austen’s most famous quotes, and the coasters look like old fashioned covers of her books.

What are your favorite Austen-themed gifts?