Monday, December 28, 2015
Emma ... at last
Now I have read them all...
That's it. No more new Jane Austen novels to discover... and that makes me a little sad.
Jane and I go way back. I fell in love with her novels decades ago after reading Pride and Prejudice, went on to read Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park. About ten years ago, after finally reading Persuasion, I realized I was on the verge of running out of her novels and made the decision to "save" Emma.
So I began to read Jane's minor works (Sandition, The Watsons, and Lady Susan) and reread my favorites Pride and Prejudice (yet again), and Northanger Abbey (Jane at her funniest).
Finally, a few years ago I started to wonder what, exactly, I was saving Emma for. My 50th birthday had come and gone and the whole idea was starting to seem a little foolish. I decided to read Emma and added it to my Classics Club list... that was four years ago.
Sometime last summer or fall, in anticipation of the 200th anniversary, talk of an Emma readalong began. Penguin released the gorgeous commemorative edition you see pictured above, and I knew the time had finally come.
I approached Emma as a read/listen combination - my favorite way to read classics these days. I listened to Juliet Stevenson's narration on my walks, in the car, in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, and then read whenever possible.
I fell into the story very easily and comfortably, found Emma herself to be endlessly annoying, and yet enjoyed everything about this comedy of manners. Very fitting, and totally coincidental, I finished reading Emma on December 16, Jane Austen's birthday.
Now I will savor the pleasures of rereading Jane's works.
All that is left to say is thank you... to Bellezza for hosting this readalong and to you, my bookish friends, for all of your thoughtful blog posts and comments, but mostly just for the pleasure of reading Jane Austen together.