Warm and Fuzzy Austen

Warm and Fuzzy Austen

I would like to begin by saying I hope all of you are healthy and well.  It has been a trying time.  In trying times we seek solace.  Something to divert us and comfort us, make us laugh, and remind us that even in the deepest darkness there is always a bit of light.

Literature lovers all over the world have been turning to their books right now for that consolation.  And in turning to those books, so many of us are not embarking on new titles.  Those are more daunting and unfamiliar.  We want those books that we know; the ones that give us that warm fuzzy, and take us to that place recognizable where we remember the love, the laughter and most of all the sheer joy of embarking on a truly wonderful book.

I get that completely.  I am a bibliophile from way back.  I have a library of about 500 hardcover books, and my ebook files are in the thousands.  I am always buying.  I buy and buy. I forget what I buy.  Needless to say, I have an array of things I could read.

But right now, in the midst of all this turmoil, I only wanted to read one person.  Jane Austen.

Why Austen? The first thing appealing to me is that Austen’s novels transform the reader to another time. Her novels highlight a simpler world that was smaller and more intimate.  The complexities and the complications of our modern world fall away between her pages.  The scenarios are simpler and smaller.  In reading Austen, we can lose our overwhelmed, overwrought feelings.  She sticks to the basics; love, hate, sadness, joy, humor; things that are not foreign.  We don’t have to spend time pondering them.  We know them.  They are the elements of simple humanity.  Sure, those things can get complicated too, especially in Austen, but in comparison to the DNA of viruses, Stay-at-home orders, and political divides, Austen’s scenarios are a breath of fresh air.

The question was for me which one to read.  I do love them all.  I would think most people would choose their favorite.  For most people that is “Pride and Prejudice,”  But right now, I wanted Elinor and Marianne, silly and snarky Mrs. Jennings and Mr. Middleton, handsome Willoughby, and stoic and solid Colonel Brandon.  “Sense and Sensibility,” is my favorite.  Some say it is nowhere near as well written as P&P or her other novels.  Maybe, for now, that is what attracts me. There is a simple paradigm; one girl is sensible, and the other is not.  Some of the men are, and some aren’t.  It’s about love lost, and love found. And most of all, like all her novels, it’s about everything coming out right in the end, which in a modern world, is never sure.

So in the midst of the whirlwind, I will be looking outside my window, watching the leaves return, filling the world with the rebirth of spring, with Jane Austen’s pages before me, far from the complicated face of the world.

Hope you can turn to your books for that other world as well.  Here’s to all of us finding peace and solace!



8 Responses to Warm and Fuzzy Austen

  1. Nailed it. You described completely how I have been feeling. When I am overwhelmed with being a caregiver, taking on new responsibilities I’ve never done before, and seeing to the care of a loved one, I find myself going back and rereading old D&E favorites. I pick up the stories where their love was strong and abiding. Where Elizabeth was in control of situations that put the Caroline Bingley’s of the world in their place and where Darcy was strong, handsome, and passionate. I want the security of a HEA because I am not assured of that precious element in an unfamiliar story or my own life as things stand. I can go bask in the delights of the familiar. I had never thought of that before and you so eloquently posed that premise. Thank you for this post. Stay safe and be healthy.

    • t Yes, I think we are all a bit untethered right now. Many things were counted on, that grounded us, have been either radically changed or are gone completely. Reading things we have known for many years I think helps alleviate the strangeness we all feel right now. Take care and best wishes!!

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your post, Cyndee. Now I’m going to have to take the time to read ‘Sense and Sensibility.’ So far, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is the only one I’ve read, and I need to correct that. I’m a bit of a pill. I read basically one genre, many times for years, and I’ve been on a P&P variation kick for the last seven years. Sigh! And I’m in the middle of moving from Texas to Illinois, so I’ll have to push myself to include S&S in that. I wonder if I’ll like it as much as P&P. We’ll see. 🙂

    • I think you will probably find that P&P is more skillfully written. S&S was her first novel, and as we all known, our first novel is not as good as our subsequent novels (at least mine isn’t anyway.) But I like the dichotomy between Marianne and Elinor, that one is very sensible and one is not, and how that affects their lives. In many ways it is also a cautionary tale as well, and is a bit didactic. I can imagine a young girl reading it 220 years ago and learning from Marianne’s free behavior. It’s still a good read. Hope your enjoy!!

  3. I go back and forth between Sense and Sensibility and P+P too. I like the characters in both.

    • I’m weird I guess. My two favorites are S&S and Mansfield Park. I like P&P, but I just prefer the other two. Mansfield Park is one of her more mature novels and is more dense in its complexities. One an easy read, one is harder. A little variety I guess!! Happy Reading! Stay safe!!

  4. I go back and forth as to which is my favorite, Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice 🙂

    • I think those two are the reigning favorites with most people. The others are have more complicated characters and plots. As I said, right now an easy read is very appealing. Take care and be safe!!

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