A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival

I wasn’t planning on attending the 2014 Jane Austen Festival this year, but when the weekend rolled around, I couldn’t stay away. In fact, I’m still kicking myself that I missed some big events, like hearing Jo Baker speak about her smash hit Longbourn, or having John Mullan sign my copy of What Matters in Jane Austen, or catching the regency style show.

But I felt itchy Saturday morning—despite our packed schedule—knowing this event was transpiring in my very own zip code, so I headed over to lovely Locust Grove to catch a little bit of the action. I’m so glad I did.

Photos from the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

welcome to the Village Green

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

lovely ladies browing the Shoppes of Meryton. these gowns are gorgeous from afar and to-die-for up close. even Caroline Bingley would approve. 

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

taking a rest from shopping to gossip a bit

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

men socializing outside Bingley’s Teas

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

at the naval encampment

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

so much goodness on display here

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

Darcy and Elizabeth Keds, of course

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

after hearing John Mullan speak for 2.7 seconds, I bumped What Matters in Jane Austen to the top of my stack. He’s fun, informative, and very funny: I can’t wait to dive into his book. (on sale now for $1.99 in the Kindle store.)

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

more bonnets than your typical Saturday afternoon crowd

A peek inside the 2014 Jane Austen Festival | Modern Mrs Darcy

I laughed out loud when I caught sight of these genteel facilities

I hope you enjoyed the photos! (Head over here for a glimpse of last year’s Jane Austen Festival.

P.S. A gift guide for the Jane Austen fan, and redefining the accomplished woman.

Why I traded my quiet time for a room full of fourth graders.

Why I traded my company's "quiet time" for a room full of fourth graders {How She Does It} | Modern Mrs Darcy

We’re continuing a guest post series on the blog today called How She Does It (just like the book). 

Today’s post comes from my real-life friend Dawn Mutterer. I so appreciate her sharing her experience here today, and am fascinated by her workplace’s policies. Please join me in welcoming Dawn to MMD. 

I’m a full-time professional with an engineering/manufacturing firm, and that means I have to be present at the office forty hours per week.

I’m also a mom to three kids, ages 11, 9, and 3, and I’m trying to balance all this with some of my own interests and identity too.

When my son started having behavioral issues in school last fall, I was determined to be more active in his education. I wanted my son and his teacher to know that I’m a mom who cares, and that his behavior would not go ignored or be condoned. I wanted in at his school, which holds classes from 9:30-4:00, smack in the middle of my work day, and is a 30-minute drive away from my office.

I devised a plan and presented it to my supervisor. My office already has a “core hours” policy, but allows for some flex time. I agreed to make Monday a long, 10-hour day. I needed special permission to leave thirty minutes early one day per week, but proposed to go during “quiet time” on Wednesday afternoons. My engineers have that time set aside to work undisturbed, so demand for my presence in the office would be very low. I also agreed to make up time on Friday if I was behind at the end of the week.

My supervisor agreed, saying it was a reasonable plan, and my son’s teacher was willing to have me during the only day I could get in, so it all worked out.How-She-does-it-3d-White

I spent one hour per week volunteering at my son’s school from 3:00-4:00 and the other hour going to the gym in the morning twice per week (30 minutes each). It made a huge difference for my son. His behavior was in-line and any issues were brought to me right away. My presence meant he was on his best behavior, and he knew I would hear from his teacher if he stepped out of line. I would drive my son home from school on those Wednesdays, which turned into a special time for the two of us that weboth looked forward to.

Getting to the gym has made a big difference for me, too. I feel more accomplished, refreshed, and focused on those days, and it helps me blow through any drudgery waiting for me at the office.

The school-year plan worked for my company, my son, and me. Now that school is out for the summer, my schedule is mostly back to normal, but I still get to the gym using standard company core-hours. Ideally, I’d like to help my office adopt a results-only work environment system which would allow more flexibility for everyone, but until then I’m rising early to be out of the office by 3:00 for some longer afternoons with the kiddos.

I’d love to hear about your experience (or hopes, dreams, and wishes) with working full-time AND showing up to life’s other important events. Or, your thoughts on workplace “quiet time,” because I’m jealous. Are you?

Head here to view previous posts in the How She Does It series.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it? (Oh, I’ve got thoughts.)

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it? | Modern Mrs Darcy

Last week, Amazon unveiled Kindle Unlimited, a new service that gives subscribers access to 600,000 titles for a little less than ten bucks a month.

I’ve gotta admit: I’m intrigued by Amazon’s simple, hassle-free concept (which is obviously a competitor to Oyster, a service I’m likewise intrigued by but haven’t actually tried, yet). Pay one low fee, access one huge library.

But the question is, of all the titles on my massive To Be Read list, how many of those are actually available through Kindle Unlimited?  

I decided to find out.

I’ve blogged extensively about summer reading here on MMD, and those titles made an obvious choice for my test sample. I hopped on Amazon and researched every book in the 2014 MMD summer reading guide (35 books), my personal summer reading list (14), my summer syllabus (10), and the books I want to read this summer that happen to be YA (11), for a total of 70 books. Not a bad sample.

Do you want to guess how many of these books are available in Kindle Unlimited?



5% of the books I want to read this summer are actually on Kindle Unlimited.

(For the curious, they are: The Giver, The Joy of X, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Main Dish.)

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it? | Modern Mrs Darcy

This isn’t to say there aren’t great books on Kindle Unlimited: there are plenty. I’ve noticed a huge overlap between Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library. Of the 27 great books I list here from the Kindle Lending Library, 26 of those are available on Kindle Unlimited. (Oddly, the only one missing from Kindle Unlimited is Guns, Germs, and Steel.)

And while there aren’t many books from big-name publishers available right now on Kindle Unlimited, there are exceptions: if you want to binge-read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, you’ll find those titles here.

But a large selection isn’t necessarily the right one. If you have a carefully curated TBR list, you’re unlikely to make much progress on it using Kindle Unlimited. 

(Remember my own list: I was 4 for 70.)

For just $10 a month, and a 30-day free trial, it doesn’t hurt to give the service a try. But there are other ways to get great deals on ebooks.

Amazon steeply reduces prices on hot ebooks all the time. Check out the current deals here, and you’ll see that if you average 3 or 4 books a month, your $10 budget could buy plenty of good reading material for the same price as Kindle Unlimited. (Worth noting: of the 70 books on my summer reading lists, there are more on sale right now than there are in the whole Kindle Unlimited library.)

This is a brand-new service and I expect it to evolve. But for right now, it’s not worth it for me.

A few more questions I’ve gotten about the service:

How is Kindle Unlimited different from the Kindle Lending Library?

As far as I can tell, there’s a huge overlap between the two services. But to access the Lending Library, readers: 1. must be a member of Amazon Prime, 2. must have a Kindle, and 3. can only check out one book at a time. Kindle Unlimited readers can access ebooks from any device and don’t have to be Prime members.

What does Kindle Unlimited mean for authors? 

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing the effect on authors will be very similar to that of the Kindle Lending Library, in which the author is paid a fee every time a reader borrows her book. For instance, my own book is in the Kindle Lending Library, and I receive a variable fee of about $2 every time it’s borrowed.

(Surprise! My book is also available in Kindle Unlimited. I didn’t know that until I was doing the research for this post.)

Can you check out more than one book at a time from Kindle Unlimited? 

I sure would like to know, because a key part of my Read All The Books strategy is to have multiple books going at one time. If you have experience with this, please let us know in comments.

UPDATE: you can check out up to ten books at a time with Kindle Unlimited.

Are you thinking you’ll give Kindle Unlimited a try? Have you already experimented with the service? We’d love to hear all about it in comments.  

For grammar geeks.

For your Saturday: this video is so much fun for grammar geeks, with references to Prince, the oxford comma, and my husband’s bete noire: there’s no “x” in espresso.

Happy watching, and have a great weekend!