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Oct 24

Jane Austen, I Love You So

It’s been quite a while since I have indulged in reading a classic literature novel. I’ve been reading so many great new or modern authors recently that I haven’t had a lot of time for older titles.

As much as I have loved some of the fantastic new releases that I’ve been reading, I really want to spend more time reading literary classics. The Popular Penguins, Penguin Classics (coming soon) and Vintage Classics (coming soon) Reading Challenges that I have set up here at Reading Upside Down are intended to keep me motivated to include some classic titles in my reading list.

Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenThanks to the great Vintage Classics prize that I won recently (thanks again, Random House) I have a nice selection of books to get me started. For my first choice I decided to read Northanger Abbey, the only Jane Austen novel that I have never read before.

I haven’t read any Austen for quite some time, which is the only reason I can give for why I was so taken by surprise by the pleasure I experienced reading this novel. I was so overwhelmed, I think I may have actually told Meredith that I was “excessively diverted” by the cleverness of it all.

I know that commentators and literary critics have written extensively about Austen’s observational ability and descriptive skill, but I have to confess that I am most attracted to her fantastically wry sense of humour. Northanger Abbey particularly seemed to me to be primarily an amusing story. I may have even laughed out loud at times at Austen’s witty turn of phrase as she not-so-subtly made fun of the literary snobs of her day.

I find Austen’s writing to be incredibly intelligent and insightful. Her elaborate sentence structure and use of language is incredibly impressive and she is, in my humble opinion, rightly praised for her skills as a writer. For me, however, he primary attraction will always remain her lively wit and I can’t help but picture her with a twinkle in her eye as she wrote many of the scenes of my favourite Austen novels.

Northanger Abbey has certainly been a good choice to get me excited about reading more classic literary fiction.

Do you enjoy classic novels or do you prefer to stick with best-sellers and recent releases? Do you try to read a little bit of everything or do you stick to a particular genre or style of writing?

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3 comments

  1. anothercookiecrumbles

    I’ve never read an Austen. It’s one of my greatest embarrassments, and I don’t even know why!!

    I do love good ol’ classics, but, am finding myself reading more and more contemporary stuff lately. Have discovered things like Virago Modern Classics, which I also seem to enjoy.

    I really need to read Pride & Prejudice.
    .-= anothercookiecrumbles´s last blog ..Meme Time =-.

  2. Genna C.

    I do enjoy to read classic novels and read several of Austen’s books in a row a few years ago. Recently I read Grapes of Wrath for the first time and it was amazing. I never would have “gotten” it if I had read it in high school like many people do.
    .-= Genna C.´s last blog ..Christmas Money Planning for Married Couples =-.

  3. Meg

    Oh, I’m a huge Austen fan! Tremendous, really, and I agree that her wit and wry sense of humor are what most attract me to her writing. Like you, I’ve been trying to incorporate more “classic” works in my literary diet which, up to this point, has included mostly contemporary fiction and young adult literature.

    In college, I spent a lot of time reading British lit and liked much of it — especially Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. And I guess I always thought I’d get back to the classics… maybe now is that time! 🙂
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Getting my cousin to ‘Just Listen’ =-.

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