Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shedding My Prejudice or Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy!

Pride & Prejudice

In 2013 I had planned to "watch less, read more." About that...I only cracked open 3 books last year, and managed to not finish any of them. One of the books was about motivation. Oh, the irony and the shame. I adore a good book, and am honestly embarrassed by such a dismal reading record.  Determined to feed my brain, I added read 12 books to my 2014 Amazing Year 100 Things To Do list.

To assemble my list of books to read, I fielded my friends for recommendations. If you could recommend 1 classic work, what would it be? My smarty-pants friends suggested many great books and authors, but I was surprised how often Jane Austen appeared on the list. Jane Austen, really? She's booooooring, I thought to myself.

I think my aversion toward Ms. Austen came from the pitifully brief "women authors" unit I had in high school, where we read a small excerpt from Sense & Sensibility. Ms. Austen's writing style takes some time to get accustomed to, and her wit and humor slowly unfolds. Since time was not invested in reading a whole work, I did not get to fully understand Jane Austen and quickly dismissed her writing as pretentious and trite. How perfectly sophomoric (or Lizzy Bennett-ish) of me. Since so many of my friends raved about Pride & Prejudice, Emma & Persuasion, I figured I may have misjudged Jane Austen.

Clearly I had a prejudice against Ms. Austen, so I decided Pride & Prejudice would be a good place to begin. In all honesty, it took a few chapters before I became interested in the storyline and got a handle on Austen's prose. But then it happened. By chapter five I was completely engrossed in the absurdity of it all. The characters are all ridiculous, the etiquette and civility is over the top in haughtiness, and the banter is ludicrous. Mr. Darcy was my favorite character by far- such a charming ass. I found myself genuinely excited to have time to sit down and read a few more chapters. What foolishness is in store? What snarky thing will Lizzy say? And WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME JANE AUSTEN WAS SO FUNNY? I wondered. No matter, I am a convert now. I certainly plan on reading more of Austen's novels in the future. The big question is: which one?

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