by Jane Austen
There are two ways to read a Jane Austen novel: with modern-day sensibilities, or by just going with the flow. I recommend option number two. Austen is such a witty writer that it’s easy to forget you are essentially devouring soap opera, and are getting caught up in the feelings, intrigues, and status of characters who are, after all, a bunch of privileged snobs.
The men in Austen books never seem to actually work and often fall prey to the sins of “idleness.” The women are no better, wasting their time on gossip and self-pity. Meanwhile, their servants and other lower-class citizens are barely worth a mention. However … if you do go with the flow and can bring yourself to identify with Austen’s pampered people, it’s a rewarding experience. Also, it’s not often I can claim that a book published in 1811 made me literally laugh out loud – but this one did.
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