Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dragging Out Emma...

In typical anal-retentive reader style, I usually get antsy when a book takes me "too long" to read. As if there is such a thing as "too long" when one is enjoying a book. It's one of those needless guilt things.

After last year's lackluster reading, I decided I wanted to make my reading count in 2010 in hopes of more stimulating, rewarding experiences and perhaps fewer numbers. I guess without really meaning to, I'm "reading deliberately" this year like so many other bloggers.

One of the first books I started this year is a great example of my slowing down to enjoy reading. I started Jane Austen's Emma very early on in the year. In fact, I think it might've been the first book I picked up in January, and I'm still reading it. I started out with a paperback copy that my mom bought for me about 10 years ago (if not more), when I was obsessed with the Gwyneth Paltrow film adaptation. Let's face it, Jeremy Northam did for Mr. Knightly what Colin Firth did for Mr. Darcy. But hormones aside, when my Nook arrived and I Emma was available for free download in e-book format, I snagged that sucker in no time.

Instead of putting my head down and barreling through, I've really been enjoying Austen's prose. My last Austen outing was about four or five years ago when I finally read Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe it was 7 years ago. Lord, time flies! I loved that book and slowly digested it in much the same way I'm digesting Emma. While I find Austen highly readable, I also refuse to give her less than her due. For some reason I need to read Austen's work slowly and absorb the characters, the society, the time period, the language. I dip in and out of other books finishing them here and there, but when I read Austen, my time is all for her.

Lately, Emma is my evening book. I do pick it up during the day sometimes as well when office hours are slow or I can steal a few minutes between meetings, but I love languishing in the living room while the family is doing other things, or just kicking back in bed until I get too sleepy to see straight anymore. These times seem the best ones to read Emma, and while it's taken me a month--and I still have 100 pages left--I don't even care. I adore visiting Mr. Knightly in print and the wacky Miss Bates. I remember the film adaptation clearly, but I'm never bored by the book. I simply get to know Frank Churchill and Harriet and the whole lot much better. We're better friends than we were on film, and I'm in no rush to lose these characters.


  1. Jane Austen is one of those authors definitely worth savoring.

    I admit that I sometimes do get impatient when a book I am reading (and even enjoying) is taking longer to read than I'd like. I always have to remind myself in those moments that it's good to slow down sometimes and smell the roses as the expression goes.

  2. I'm currently reading Jane Eyre in much the same way - in fact I put it down a few minutes ago as I am almost at the end but not quite ready to leave the story behind!

  3. Are you watching the PBS Masterpiece Theater Emma? First half aired on Sunday, and it's on the next two Sundays, too! It's really good :-)

    I completely agree about Austen. She deserves full and complete attention. I plan to re-read Persuasion later this year, and thoroughly look forward to doing so!

  4. Austen really needs time taking I think, or you miss all the fun! Agree you should watch the other adaptation mentioned above, not a great Emma but the rest of the cast makes up for it.

  5. Emma is my favorite of Jane Austen's books (for the time being anyway!) - I'm glad you're finding time to savor it.

  6. Books like this are meant to be savored. You're smart to do it now, while you still can.

  7. Ah, Mr. Knightly. *swoon* He's my favorite, though I'm not sure I could pinpoint exactly why. :-) Glad you're enjoying your jaunt through Emma.

  8. Wendy, she is, isn't she? I get impatient, too, but I'm tryin to squash that urge a bit in the new year. I'm even planning to attack some chunksters which I NEVER do because due to their size I get overwhelmed or feel slow. I'm thinking of trying A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. We'll see.

  9. Stephanie, Jane Eyre is coming up on my re-read pile! I read it years ago, and I might not have even finished it. I want to say I had 20 or 30 pages left and had to return the book. Shame on me. lol

    Aarti, I'm not yet, but I will be! I'm going to watch it online because I didn't even find out about the series until the day after it started airing. Have fun re-reading Persuasion!

    Jodie, I will! Probably start viewing it online this weekend.

    Jenny, I think the Austen I've read most recently will always be my favorite. Right now it's Emma, before this it was P&P.

    Amen, Kathy! It won't last much longer.

    Melissa, he's just so smart and refined without being snooty. Moral! He's moral AND hot. Woohoo!

  10. Emma is definitely a book that should be read slowly... I think it might be my second favorite book by Jane Austen after Persuasion. Although I can't be sure how much that's due to Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightly, since I've come to identify the two together ;)

  11. Awww, I loved the Gwyneth Paltrow adaptation as well. And uh, Clueless :P

  12. Dana, everyone loves Persuasion it seems! I have a copy of it at home somewhere, so it'll be my next Austen or Northanger Abbey. I have both staring at me.

    Lightheaded, I loooove Clueless, too! Love love love.

  13. I'm coming to Austen very late in life! I read Sense and Sensibility a couple of years ago (my first); this year I hope to get to P&P and also Persuasion. I so agree with your "need" to rush through a book and I like your attitude to slow it down. It's not a race, after all.

    Hope you're feeling good and healthy. When's the due date??

  14. Amen to not being a race, Terri! It's rare that I slow down with my crazy ass job and all, so reading is the perfect way to do that.

    Feeling good and healthy. Getting bigger and more uncomfy to sleep, though. He's due April 16th (day before my mom's bday). :)

  15. I totally agree! After trying to cram in 100 books last year and barely making it, I cut down on joining challenges and I'm savoring books.

    I've been reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for about a month and am LOVING it.



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