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The Big Read

Like a lot of people I’m always looking for something good to read. I often ask friends and associates for recommendations but that hasn’t been very successful. Possibly because I have a policy of killing anyone who suggests a book that I end up hating. Lately I’ve been downloading a lot of books off of the Amazon Top 100 ebooks  and Top 100 Free eBooks lists but that has been very hit or miss.  I’ve read some that I like but quite often I get a quarter to half way through a book and quit in disgust. But one thing I noticed on the free list is there are usually a lot of classics available. A part of my brain kept nagging me that people must still be reading them for a reason and that if I want something good to read there they are right in front of me. But to be honest I found the idea of reading a lot of them intimidating. And then one day while surfing the web I came across a list of the United Kingdom’s 200 “best-loved” novels. It was call The Big Read. Continue reading

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen

I think this was Austen’s fourth published novel, maybe fifth. I’m not sure how to count Susan. A quick reading of her bio is kind of confusing. She apparently started and abandoned a lot of books and frequently changed the titles.  Anyway, Emma was first published in 1815 and was the last one of her books published while she lived.

emmaHaving just finished Pride and Prejudice I went into this book fully expecting to enjoy Austen’s writing style and her characters.  Unlike that book I am very slightly familiar with Emma having seen the movie Clueless.

Deep into chapter four. It must be the republican in me, but Emma is kind of pissing me off  with how badly she is putting down Robert Martin. I understand her point of view but everything about the supposed superiority of the upper classes gets under my skin. I still don’t know what this book is going to be about. I’m guessing Emma will be playing matchmaker for everyone around her and accidentally fall in love herself. I will even go so far as to predict that the love interest will be the son of Mr. Weston. The guy everyone is waiting to come visit his dad. It’s still early though, lots of time for new characters to turn up.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Written between October 1796 and August 1797, revised between 1811 and 1812 and finally first published in 1813. It’s amazing to me that Austen was only 21 when she started this book.

Austen saw little of the profit from this book as she sold all rights for £110.

pride-and-prejudiceI didn’t want to start with a book (or in this case 3 books) that I had already read so I went to number two on the list. I’ll admit that Jane Austen is not someone I would normally read. I’ve always thought of her as “chick lit” but looking at the list there are a lot of similar authors, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot, and Leo Tolstoy to name a few, so if I was going to do this I would just have to suck it up. I downloaded the book from Amazon’s Top 100 free eBooks and read it on my Kindle.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started but I was immediately sucked into the story. I love the way Jane Austin writes. The only person I could compare her to that I’ve read is maybe Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest. It was very easy to forget I was reading. Second, I have to admit that I was quickly confused by all the characters. Other than the title I wasn’t familiar with the story at all and was completely lost trying to follow who was who. I was about 20% of the way through the book before I felt I had a firm grasp on all the side characters. But that didn’t take much away from my enjoyment of the book. Everyone eventually came into focus and since we mostly stick with Lizzie anyway it didn’t really matter. Continue reading