I heart George Saunders.
What my book choices say about me I don't know.

A dance with Jane Austen.

It is a truth pretty much universally acknowledged that I am a sucker for all things Jane Austen.

In addition to having read her books, re-watched most film adaptations of her books way more often than is good for me (damn you, YouTube, time-waster extraordinaire), and reading any modern-day adaptations of her novels that I can find, I also pick up any nonfiction titles about her that I see pop up in my local library catalog. My latest such find was Susannah Fullerton's A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball.

It literally is just that: a book about dancing in Jane Austen's day, with extensive quoting from her novels to see how Austen incorporated balls and dancing into her fiction and plotlines. There is also a ton of good basic historical information, such as which dances were popular when, how people in that era learned dancing, what kind of music was played at balls, and how many different types of balls there were (as well as many more topics). At first I couldn't really get into this book; I just read bits of it here and there, but then over the course of two nights I got really interested and read most of it straight through. I particularly enjoyed the information on how suppers were held along with balls (I never really understood that when reading the books) and the different types of balls that were held and how people got invited to them.

But my very favorite part of the book was learning about Jane Austen's own personal experiences of ball-going and dancing:

"Jane Austen enjoyed these [Assembly] balls so much that she was disappointed if she had to miss one. If she was away from home, then she placed her 'spies' so as to get all the news. Catherine Bigg could be relied on to share gossip about who had danced with whom, who had too much to drink, which lady had opened the dance, and all the other juicy titbits of news the evening could provide." (p. 52.)

I enjoyed picturing ol' Jane dancing and placing her spies. I enjoyed that a lot.