OK. So it has been months since my last post. I have decided that I will talk about clusters of books, as I tend to go for themed reading … especially when a bit stressed/tired/in the need for a comfort read.
Well, I have really been in a Jane Austen comfort read over the past couple of months. I have chewed through Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Why not the other two? Well, I’ve read them in the past year and I didn’t feel like reading them again quite yet. To be honest I have read Pride and Prejudice so many times I am getting a bit bored with it. Yes, I said it! Bored. But it’s still cool and I love it. Anyhoe, moving right along.
Northanger Abbey. I may have even talked about this lovely book in an earlier post. I am coming to really love this book. It is hilarious. Catherine Morland, the Gothic novel reading heroine, is truly delightful. Henry Tilney is open, friendly, sensible … I think my favourite Austen leading man.
I always approach Mansfield Park a bit warily, because it is so long and I used to think that Fanny was a total sap. I don’t think that anymore. Austen is definitely laughing at her at times. Fanny is certainly put-upon by her infuriating aunt, and ignored by most others. Rather than sap, my more mature eye sees strength. And she is sweet. And the sappiness is actually what her family feels about her, so we shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling the same way.
It’s funny because Mansfield Park used to bore me, and Sense and Sensibility delighted me. I took a long time to get into Sense and Sensibility this time around. This may be because Marianne and Mrs Dashwood are so over-the-top, which is as they should be as this is part of the central part of the plot. The first chapters seemed to plod for me, then it races along nicely.
Emma was a comforting read. Nothing too dramatic and exciting (although, yes, dramatic things for the day happen. It is really a coming-of-age novel, although Emma is already 21. Emma is confident and very sure of her own worth and abilities. Austen laughs at Emma as she stumbles through novel. I remember people hating Emma when I was at University, and maybe it was because the usual Austen heroines aren’t rich and privileged like Emma. Emma grows through the novel. She really is sweet, and caring.
It’s a funny, interesting look at human behaviour. Mr Knightly, a gentleman without being a total snob. Mr Woodhouse, old and funny in his ways, a gentleman without being a snob. I actually picked up new things too this time around.
So there it is. The Austen round-up. Feel free to disagree.