Boy readers of my blog are probably less inclined to be interested in this segment of Book Worm, but seeing as 3 of my all time favorite books have been written by this woman, she deserves a day.
I started to read my first Austen novel in 8th or 9th grade and hated it. I wanted fantasy and lots of emotion and action and imagery. Austen is full of conversation and thought processes. But being a determined 11th grader, I decided I needed to like these classics. So I sat down to read Pride & Prejudice. And I read all day. I couldn't put it down. Elizabeth Bennet was captivating. (Libby was 50% named after this character--I will not disclose how long I begged for her middle name to be Bennet) The dialogue was smart and witty and compelling.
Soon I gobbled up the rest of the books. Sense & Sensibility was next. Same scenario. I couldn't get over the character development and the twists and turns. It also helped that there were happy endings. The right boy got the girl. Happily ever after. But the style of writing was so thought provoking and engaging to me. I loved it.
I can say that Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park were my least favorite. But it is like comparing ice cream flavors. I LOVE all ice cream. I LOVE all Austen novels.
So here is my break down.
- Pride & Prejudice (all time favorite book - I have read it at least a dozen times and watch the 6-hour mini series as often as my schedule will allow. It helps that I think Colin Firth is lovely to look at :)
- Persuasion One of the more unknown novels-the story of regret. It is lovely to see how love finds a way to work even when you think you have pushed your luck too far.
- Sense & Sensibility...deep sigh. Elinor. Oh I love this book. I love Hugh Grant in the movie. I love the sorrow of the wait and the joy of true love in the end.
- Emma One of the reasons I love Austen novels is how they transcend time. Clueless is based on this book-and the story is just as true now as it was in Austen's day. I don't connect with Emma as much only because the main character is so self-confident and independent.
- Sanditon: the last novel written (and finished by someone else). You can tell the ending was not really Austen's, but this seaside novel is fun to read.
- Mansfield Park. Reminds me a little of Jane Eyre--with the poor young Fanny put next to her more wealthy cousins. I really enjoyed her relationship with Edmund, but the novel felt darker than the others.
- Northanger Abbey Darker novel. Still wonderful and brilliant in my opinion. But definitely a departure from my beloved P&P.
Now making a list seems silly. P&P will always be on the top, but really I love the rest of them equally. I want to read them all over again-and I think I will. (After I write this crim pro memo that is:)