Emma – Jane Austen

emmaOn the Cover: ‘I wonder what will become of her!’
So speculate the friends and neighbours of Emma Woodhouse, the lovely, lively, wilful, and fallible heroine of Jane Austen’s fourth published novel. Confident that she knows best, Emma schemes to find a suitable husband for her pliant friend Harriet, only to discover that she understands the feelings of others as little as she does her own heart. As Emma puzzles and blunders her way through the mysteries of her social world, Austen evokes for her readers a cast of unforgettable characters and a detailed portrait of a small town undergoing historical transition.

Published: 1815

Why I Chose It: Although I’ve read Pride and Prejudice multiple times, I haven’t given Austen’s other works the same attention. This is my best friend’s favourite Austen novel and I decided to give it a proper read!

 


The Review:

Emma was a surprising and highly enjoyable novel. Emma is a wonderful character who, though misguided, always has the best intentions. I really enjoy the way this novel is written, for while Emma strongly believes she is in the right and is always making the best decisions, the narration of the story makes it clear when she is mistaken and really highlights the humour of each situation.

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I was surprised to find the story as funny as I did. Each supporting character is quite different from one another, and I love the varying levels of poise, etiquette, and class found throughout the novel. These diverse characters really help to add chaos to the situations that Emma creates and I think them very charming and entertaining.

At first I did think the novel was a bit slow, but once I sat down and applied myself I was swept up into the story. It was amusing, engaging, and one twist actually shocked me and left me feeling utterly delighted about the story. I am looking forward to reading Emma again in the future, and I will definitely make the time to read the other works of Jane Austen.

Rating: 5 / 5

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Lying About the Books We’ve Read

This week I read an interesting article in The Telegraph that discussed books Britons most often lied about. Surprisingly, the book lied about the most is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (You can read the original article here.) Others included on the list were 1984 by George Orwell; Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; and War and Peace and Anna Karenina, both by Leo Tolstoy.

A study of the reading habits of 2,000 Britons commissioned by the BBC Store found that one in four bluffed about reading a classic when a TV adaptation of it was shown, with the most popular reasons being not wanting to miss out on the conversation and wanting to appear more intelligent. […] 60 per cent of those surveyed said being well-read made a person appear more attractive.  Telegraph Reporters, February 3, 2016

The idea of lying about books that we’ve read absolutely fascinates me. I would agree that a well-read person is more attractive to me. But rather than presenting me with a list of books you’ve supposedly read, I would like to sit and discuss the books that you have read. Book discussion is the aspect I find most attractive. Reading books shouldn’t be about achieving the most impressive read list – it should be about the conversations that books foster.

However I can see that certain classics would be hard to ignore, especially ones that everyone supposedly reads as a child – like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For example, in school I assume everyone studied at least one Shakespeare play – it’s part of the high school curriculum here. Yet I know that which play they studied varies by school, so while I may assume everyone has read a Shakespeare play, I can’t assume they’ve all read the same ones as me.

One in three admitted they would not correct someone if they wrongly assumed they were better read than in reality. Telegraph Reporters, February 3, 2016

Interestingly enough, people assume that I am a lot better read than I am. I took English Literature in university, and when I talk about classes such as my Jane Austen class, people naturally assume I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s work. Well…no. (I was supposed to…) I also took classes on Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allan Poe, to name a few others. But that doesn’t mean I’ve read everything by them.

In fact, even just mentioning my English degree, people assume I’ve read most of the classics. But there are so many authors I’ve never touched, such as Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, or Louisa May Alcott. And you know what? I’m not ashamed to admit I haven’t read them. I don’t think it makes someone less of a reader when they haven’t read certain classics. I also don’t think it makes me more impressive that I have read certain ones. I’ve read Frankenstein three times. Does that really make a difference?

It is a simple fact that there are a lot of books in the world. It’s okay to admit that you haven’t read something. And if you would rather watch a tv or movie adaptation than read the original work, that’s okay too. You watch the movie, and I’ll read the book, and we can still sit around and discuss the story.

Just don’t forget to bring the popcorn.