Friday Morning Bookclub

December 26, 2009

Reading Jane Austen

Filed under: Literary Tidbits,Pride and Prejudice — Esther @ 11:58 am

My daughter loves Jane Austen.  She has read all of her novels, more than once, and has them categorized in order of her favorites.  “Sense and Sensibility” is number one.  That novel sits on my night table, it’s place for, hmmm, about a year and a half, ever since my daughter foisted it upon me and said “Mom!  Please read this – you will love Jane Austen as much as I do!”  The truth…..I just couldn’t get into it.  Now comes Book Club – my wonderful group that has introduced me to the pleasures of so many books that I ordinarily would not have picked up.  Our January novel is “Pride and Prejudice”, perhaps the most well known of Miss Austen’s novels.  I’m going to give it a go.  Okay, here’s the setting.  A rainy Saturday morning at the beach.  The house is quiet.  A cup of coffee, curled on the sofa in front of the fire.  I open “Pride and Prejudice”.  Okay, here goes……and I just can’t get into it.  I’m having trouble distinguishing Mr. Bennett from Mr. Bingley.  Let’s see, Lizzy, Eliza and Elizabeth are all one and the same.  Is it me, or are all these people incredibly class conscious?    Am I going to care about what happens to them, when they don’t even call each other by their first names?  I really, really, really would like to be a Jane Austen reader.  I know that there are book clubs that are solely dedicated to the reading of her books.  I’m going to really try to get into this one.  For now, however, I think I’ll do a crossword puzzle.

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4 Comments »

  1. I think this is one of those books that it may take a little bit of time to get into it. I just started P&P and find that I really have to pay atention to what I am reading. It is quite charming though! It has been around for 200 years and is considered a timeless classic so it must be good! Put down that crossword puzzle and start reading!

    Comment by susanbright — December 26, 2009 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  2. I am feeling the same way. I think it is because of the old fashion way it is written that we have to concentrate more with this book. I am enjoying it but can not have the TV on in the same room while reading this one!

    Comment by Bonnie — December 27, 2009 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  3. Esther,
    I started reading P & P about two weeks ago. I told Susan I was having trouble getting into it- then my Mom passed away, didn’t read for a week. We left for Deep Creek on Christmas Day, I tried to read it again-just couldn’t get into it.
    I brought other books with me since we’ll be here till Jan. 3rd. Started reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, couldn’t put it down.
    I read your comment and felt exactly the same way!!! Except that my daughter hasn’t read the book, and we’re in the mountains instead of at the beach- we do have a fire going, and I am doing crossword puzzles, playing scrabble and putting together jigsaw puzzles. Anything but reading P & P!!!
    Sorry, book club members– I did try.

    Comment by AUDREY — December 31, 2009 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  4. I started reading P&P on my way to and from NYC ( with NY Times so not entire way) and still have 60 pages that I’m looking forward to finishing late tonight. What really helped me get into it were the intro and notes by Carol Howard (Barnes & Nobel classic edition). It sorted out the P&P story from all the other Austen novels — all of which I read in high school and the characters and story lines were a jumble of bits and pieces in my mind. It gives the historical “world” of Jane Austen — what was happening in the world during her lifetime and the social manners of the period which helps explains how this world effected Austen’s actual life as well as the “world” of her characters — such as Austen’s attention to money and class and why Mrs. Bennet was so engrossed in getting her daughters — or at least one daughter — married well (to a wealthy man). It also has endnotes and footnotes on archaic words and passages that I would have interpreted differently and not understood as Austen intended. I could not get into the intro initially and started the novel but found I was irritated at all the attention to internal and social dialogue — so I went back to the intro and after plugging through the 30+ pages found the novel easier and engaging (with a few sluggish pages here and there). The book is $4.95 and I highly recommend it.

    Comment by ann — January 2, 2010 @ 7:09 pm | Reply


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