The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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April 18, 2020

[Reading about] Jane Austen

... and as for the true lovers ... every quotation from Jane Austen is as good as the complete volume, because it instantly calls up the magic of the atmosphere, the scene, the characters, the details, the flow of life which led up to the incident or the remark, the whole world of Emma or the whole word of Persuasion; nor do they have to apply themselves, these lovers, to the task of meticulously reading every line of quotation; they will know it; the eye will pick up a word, seize half a paragraph, remember the rest, set it instantly in the place as it was meant ... smile swiftly, agree, perhaps; or make a note that they presently they are going to quarrel with me as I do not know in the least what I am talking about ... and then let the eye fly on again. For lovers of Jane, walking in their own garden,  will know that bean-row over there, half in slanted sunshine, half in shadow, without sitting down to count the beans.

Claire was right — I loved this book, on its own merits but at least in part because it has lifted me out of my recent reading slump.  Of course, I am now longing to re-read all six novels, but I might start with Sense and Sensibility, if only because this book mentioned two things that happen in it that I don't remember at all. :)

Talking of Jane Austen, by Sheila Kaye-Smith and G.B. Stern
First published in 1943

Borrowed from the college library


Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I do love being right :) But I love even more when friends enjoy books I adore.

One of the main things I took from this was a new appreciation of S&S, particularly of Marianne, so I can understand why it's left you yearning to reread it. They are SO good at pointing out the little details and making you engage even more with old favourites.

JaneGS said...

I haven't heard of this book, but it sounds like a fun Austen read. S&S is one of my favorite Austen novels. Enjoy!

Vintage Reading said...

I love Sense and Sensibility best of all. Especially when Willoughby arrives in the storm. Enjoy.

Karen K. said...

This was recommended to me several years ago by someone in my Jane Austen society group. I promptly ordered it and have not touched it since, other than to move it from house to house. I'm currently reading a fiction book by Kaye-Smith, Joanna Godden, which I'm enjoying very much so I'll have to get around to this one! It sounds like an excellent bedtime read.

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