Last year, I tried (elsewhere) to keep track of the books I read. I gave up in February when I could no longer type: banishment from the computer meant I was able to read more, but not record titles or my impressions. (Handwriting is not good for sore wrists either, for the record.) Basically I gave up three months into the year.
This year I’m trying again, though I’m weirdly nervous about it. What if I lose track and slack off and this tag only ever has this one entry? What if the internet judges me based on what I read? Or, for that matter, what I haven’t read yet? I was a serious bookworm growing up — less so of late, though I hope keeping track of what I read will encourage me a bit — but I never read much that could count as The Classics. The classics I did read were mostly for English class, and that sort of damaged the joy of reading them for me.
Case in point: Pride and Prejudice. Now, basically all of my friends swear by this book. Several swoon over Mr. Darcy. But I read it for A.P. English and detested it. Which, looking back, was unfair; it had nothing to do with the book itself, and everything to do with the teacher. This was a teacher whose favorite Shakespeare was The Taming of the Shrew — LOL spousal abuse, I guess? — and when we read it in class, who declared, “Becky, you read Kate, because you’re a shrew.” Not so much my favorite teacher.1 So I have been studiously avoiding Austen and all things associated with her ever since.
Like, in this case, Sense and Sensibility. Which I have now read! My sister put the movie on a couple of months ago, and I looooooooooved it. We actually ended up watching it twice in 24 hours. So I decided perhaps I should get over my admittedly irrational avoidance, so I picked up the book, put off reading it for awhile, and finally started it on vacation a couple weeks ago.
And okay, yes. I loved it. Jane Austen: A++, would read again. It was a bit more challenging than most of what I read, because I am very accustomed to modern pacing and structure, but once I fell into the rhythm of the book I quite enjoyed it. I loved both Elinor and Marianne, and I really enjoyed Edward and Colonel Brandon. I didn’t get all of the satire because I don’t know much about what was being satirized — I know just enough to know what I don’t know, basically — but once I shrugged and accepted that the various friends and relations running around and being ridiculous were, in fact, meant to be ridiculous, and stopped worrying about keeping track of who they were related to and how all the supporting characters related to one another, it was delightful. It took me a couple of weeks to read the first section, but once I got sucked in, I sped through volumes two and three in a few days.
So in the end, I feel thoroughly enriched and glad I read it. And now I’m going to watch the movie again, because that sounds perfect for a lazy Sunday, lying-on-the-couch viewing.
- In fairness to her, I was a pretty snotty student. I wouldn’t have liked teaching me, either. ↩