Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Pleasure of a Good Novel

5 Minutes for Books is hosting a discussion about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice this week. I deliberated about whether or not to make a post about this or not, but in the end, I just couldn't not do it. (Or something like that. Those double negatives'll get you every time.) It's Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy. Happily ever after. Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Mr. Darcy. Ahem.

I do not remember how old I was when I first read this book. Given my track record, I suspect I was probably 12 or 13. I struggled a bit with it. In another year or two I read it again. And then again. And again. And again. And so on every year until this one. I read it at least once straight through and often pick it up to quickly read my favorite parts.

This book has it all: wit, drama, romance, comedy, morals, every day life, and extraordinary events. The characters are as real to me as if I knew them. As it happens I'm personally aware of at least one "real-life" Jane Bennet. And at least one Lady Catherine. A real life Elizabeth and Darcy I've yet to meet, and I do not expect to. They are too real within Jane's pages to ever walk by me at the local grocery store.

If you're going to read a classic novel, let it be this one. Oh, it isn't my favorite Austen (that honor most likely would go to Persuasion, though it's rather like choosing which chocolate I like best), but it will draw you into a world that you will not want to leave. You'll be hungry for more. So you'll read Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. You'll try on Sense and Sensibility. If you are very intrepid you'll tackle Mansfield Park and decide whether Fanny Price is truly good or merely insipid. Then you'll read them again and wish that there were more. You'll try out Jane Austen spin-offs: continuations, parallel books, and "inspired by's".

And when you're too tired to read you can pop this in your DVD player:

When the movie is over you'll open your own copy of the story again. And so it will go for the rest of your life. At least, that's how it works in mine.


Rae Byuel said...

Your Blog looks interesting! I'll have to return to check out your next post!
P&P is my Favorite Jane Austin! P&P + Emma.

Rae Byuel

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I think I'll read Persuasion next. I read Northanger Abbey a couple years ago and loved it. You don't hear much about it.

I think you summed up the movie perfectly. I haven't seen it, but I'm going to watch it next week, and then I have a feeling I WILL want to read the book again. And so it goes.

Nise' said...

So true! I have never listened to the book on tape (its on my to do list).

Kelly said...

Right now I'm trying to pick between Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. They're the only three we have and I don't know where to start. :)

Stephen said...

I thought of you when I saw the original manuscript of Persuasion in the British Library yesterday.

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