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.

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