Jane Austen. Period.
I stopped short of labeling this young lady the goddess of literature. That would have been a blasphemous thing to say, wouldn’t it? But now that I’ve mentioned this rotten thought of mine, I feel quite pleased. I feel reassured in the thought that I am being open and honest with my own thoughts on life and love, and now, my love for books and such things. Perhaps I should confess this too.
I covet the books on my shelves. It happened years ago and I dare not part with them again. I remember an old man visiting me once upon a time and, after looking over my shelves quite longingly, he asked if he could borrow a book or two to read. Something to keep his mind busy, and yes, he loved books as much as you and me. The book I let him have at the time was a collection of the great American writer, Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
Several other books left my shelves as time went by. It was just as well because I was running out of space. Now, I recently said good-bye to one of two full Penguin anthologies of Jane Austen’s literary works, including letters she wrote to one of her friends. I held the departed book together for so long for sentimental reasons. It became a sorry state of affairs because, having been read over and over again a number of times, it became quite tatty.
Pages were falling out of the old book. The jacket had long since been discarded. This is the bane of a thick paperback volume well over a thousand pages long that has been read over and over again for more than ten years. I bought the book at one of our local bookshops all those years ago from a gift voucher given to me by one of my family members, I cannot remember which.
I had to buy the newer version years later. What would I do without my Jane Austen? The thing about returning to the classics and its narratives’ complex structures is that you always discover something new about a story you’ve covered before. Such is the case reading Jane Austen’s timeless classics every other year. And I do this deliberately, not so much because I love the work that Ms Austen produced, but more to do with how much it helps my own development