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What Jane Austen book should I start with?

Discussion in 'Book Search & Suggestions' started by smarie8691, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    I borrowed a complete book of Austen's British Literature. It includes: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan.

    Which one would you suggest for my first time reading an Austen novel?
     
  2. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    hmm I have a particular fondness for Pride and Prejudice, but Sense and Sensibility as well as Northanger Abbey are also good.

    Unless some one else has some other advice I don't think there is any particular book that is better than others to start with. Her style in general is pretty accessible.
     
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  3. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    I suppose Pride & Prejudice is the best known one so for that reason you could start with that. Northanger Abbey is a satire on the then contemporary gothic horror stories - I found it very funny.

    You might want to keep in mind that both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously by her brother.

    If you want to read them chronologically then start with Sense and Sensibility. Though chronology is only as far as publishing dates are concerned, Austen had a habit of shelving the novels years prior to publication (or her publishers did it for her, as with Northanger Abbey).

    More information on Austen and her works can be found here.
     
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  4. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Thank you. I guess I will just pick one!
     
  5. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Thank you for the information as well. I was considering Emma for some reason. My mom keeps telling me to read it lol.
     
  6. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never read Emma so can't comment on that. I did read Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice, mostly for uni (I studied English literature).
     
  7. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Very interesting! Well, the great thing about this book is it has all the novels in one anyway, so I can read multiple ones and they are all right there.
     
  8. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool. Let us know how you get on! :)
     
  9. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    I am a little scared that it will be tough to read. I keep thinking it's going to be similar to Shakespeare and I don't know why!!
     
  10. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    It isn't similar to Shakespeare at all.
     
  11. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    No it isn't similar to Shakespeare .... for a start the language is 200 or so years younger than Shakespeare :)

    As I said it is pretty accessible and she was clearly a close observer of human behaviour and people are people no matter who, when or where, so what she writes about is entirely relateable.
     
  12. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Started reading it, definitely wasn't.
     
  13. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Definitely wasn't like Shakespeare. No I know it was. I meant in the aspect of comprehension, not the actual language. I didn't mean in the actually way it was written i.e. iambic pentameter, soliloquies, etc. I meant difficult to comprehend when first reading it since it isn't written the same way as a current book. However, I started reading it (first 4 chapters) and I didn't like it. I might try one that my professor recommended: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Seares.
     
  14. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    yes well. When I said that Austen is pretty accessible I meant that her writing isn't difficult to comprehend. After a few chapters you get into the flow of it as it isn't written in a very difficult style. I find Dickens to be far more incomprehensible than Austen and he isn't particularly difficult to follow either.

    But not everything is every one's cup of tea.

    Which one did you start with btw?
     
  15. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    I started with Emma. Thanks.
     
  16. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    I wouldn't give up on Austen based on one book. Emma is a little dry. Other of her books are better. Dip into a few more before you say you don't like her at all.
     
  17. smarie8691

    smarie8691 Member

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    Thank you, I think I will try Pride and Prejudice instead.
     
  18. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    How can you not enjoy a book that starts with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”? The subtext being 'whether he knows it or not' :D
     
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  19. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're still (thinking of) reading Pride and Prejudice, it is August's book of the month so come and join the discussion. :)
     
  20. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    yeah yeah :)
     

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