I write books about loving books. Sure they are about other things too… But my addiction to books pervades every story. I’ve listed a few here that I turn to again and again.
Pride and Prejudice: Who wouldn’t want to embody the indomitable Elizabeth Bennet with her quick wit and fine eyes for the time it takes to read her delicious story? And P&P is not a simple love story. There are complex currents of international tension, marital rights/status, opportunities for women/or lack thereof and so much more. You think Austen has you stuck in a drawing room, watching a small drama, but she brings the world to your door – but only a crack in so far as her characters see it too.
Emma: Austen feared that only she would like Emma. But we all do. We laugh, we sigh, we see ourselves in her and we squirm. Deep beneath, it’s a novel about finding/learning humility and Emma wears the journey well. She states at the beginning that she “can not really change for the better” – and yet she does. And so do we for reading her story.
Sense and Sensibility: Austen’s most obvious juxtaposition of two opposite ways of thinking, feeling and living. But, thankfully, Elinor and Marianne meet in the middle – and so do we. There is a lot going on it this novel. At some moments it feels like Austen’s most reckless and fun and, in others, you’re reeling from the first pangs of heartbreak. Through it all you feel a fierce loyalty to your siblings… Well, maybe only your sister.
There of course are more… I need not list them all here, but I’ll say this. Persuasion is my favorite Austen. Not only does she let us know that our “bloom” can return later in life (I’d like to forget that her “later” is the tender age of 27) but she shows, without diminishing Anne’s reality and hardships, true love exists and second chances can be more glorious than first.
Let’s move on…
Be sure to put Jane Eyre on your list. Nothing like Austen – this classic tale is dark and tempestuous and a delicious read. And as we celebrate Charlotte’s Bronte’s birthday, we should give her a little time.
The Count of Monte Cristo – talk about an epic story of revenge! Edmond Dantes is robbed of everything of meaning, by his best friend no less, and left to die in a horrid prison. But wait – he escapes, he finds a treasure beyond measure, he devises a ruthless, elegant and sophisticated plan for revenge… So satisfying. And Dumas underpins this adventure with strong threads of faith, hope, reconciliation and forgiveness – giving it even more layers and substance.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Even if you’ve seen the movies, grab this one. Percy Blakeney, the true master of disguise and a dashingly handsome hero, trips across the pages and into your heart smack in the center of the French Revolution.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Considered YA, and still a classic tale. This red-headed orphan will make you feel young again, even as she dies her tresses bright green.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Pull this one out a Christmas. A short read, and always satisfying. This year I also thoroughly enjoyed Lovett’s follow-up The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Margaret Hale and John Thornton. I return to these two again and again. Such lovely antagonism and a look at two different ways of life in England, just as each were changing.
These are a few, very few, of my favorites or this post would go on and on and on…
What are some of yours? Lovely little reads you adore. Oh… Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. A lovely little addition I almost forgot. See? We must end this or I’ll never stop.
Now it’s your turn to add to my TBR pile…