In this (very exciting!) new series, I want to talk about the authors whose books I’ve finished reading. I’m done. I’ve finished reading all of their novels. No more.
Why? Because it’s a bizarre feeling. Save for diving into their short stories, articles and/or poetry, I’m never going to read a book by that author for the first time ever again. And let’s be real, if I’ve read all their novels, I’m probably going to miss that.
I’m going to start with an author’s whose novels I finished fairly recently: Jane Austen. An obvious staple of English Literature, I’m sure you’re all well familiar with her work. With only six full length novels, it was always inevitable that I’d end up reading them all. Of course, she has a number of short stories as well, some of which I’ve also read. But the novels! Let’s talk about the novels.
My adventures with Austen’s novels began in my final year of high school, when my high school English teacher set Sense and Sensibility as required reading. I fell madly in love. You all probably know this already. I raved about it on Valentine’s Day. I raved about it when discussing the books I read in high school. I feel like I rave about it all the damn time. And if I haven’t already convinced you to bump it up on your TBR, I don’t think I ever will. Seriously though. It’s really good.
The next year, I picked up Pride and Prejudice. Like most other people I know, I was well familiar with this story years before I read it. And maybe it was all the hype. Maybe it was the fact that I already enjoyed the characters and the plot. But yeah, I loved the novel too. I know, I know, it’s a little predictable of me. But seriously, who doesn’t love ol’ Lizzie and Mr. Darcy?
The favourite of my good friend, my next choice was Emma. I read this after having watched the webseries, Emma Approved. I loved the webseries. Truly and madly and deeply. The book impressed me just as much. In this novel, what most impressed me were the characterisations. Emma herself totally won me over. I loved her, I loved her story, I loved everything.
I picked up Persuasion a year later. Next? Northanger Abbey. These were both s0-so for me. I don’t really know what it was, to be honest. Maybe I just wasn’t as invested in these in the same way I was the others. After all, with the first three, I’d already been exposed to phenomenal adaptations – onscreen and off – and already loved the story. With these two? I just struggled. I didn’t love the characters or the plot, but I enjoyed them both enough to like the novels overall.
My last Austen novel, then, was Mansfield Park. Having experienced a bit of a lull in my Austen-love, Mansfield Park was a blessed breath of fresh air. All of a sudden, I was back to that good place of actually enjoying Austen. I don’t know what it was about it that made me like it so much, but it had that personal touch that I love so much about Austen.
I don’t know if I’m a better person or reader because I’ve made it through the books of England’s favourite female author. I don’t know if reading these have pushed me towards being one of those people who claim the title well read.
I am, however, incredibly pleased that I have made it. Completing her novels has given me a sense of achievement. And, more the point, I’ve actually enjoyed most of them. One of them is even a dear favourite of mine.
Have you read any (or all!) of Austen’s novels? If not, what’s held you back? If so, do you think she’s worth the hype? Or do you enjoy her writing just as much as I do?