Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Author: Jane Austen
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Dover Thrift Edition ordered from Amazon
Books I've read this year: 63
After finishing the books for the Whitney Awards, I decided to go back to basics and read a little Jane Austen before delving back into contemporary fiction. When I was reading A Jane Austen Education the author had lots of great things to say about Persuasion and while I know I read it once upon a time, I couldn't remember much of what happened. So I ordered myself the Dover Thrift Edition, and dug in.
I read lots of books-- hardcovers, softcovers, Kindle editions, galleys, PDFs, and I find most of them pretty readable. When I was reading the Whitneys there were a few books where the typeface of the PDFs was uncomfortably small (I must be getting old!) but I just had to expand it a little bit on my iPad and I was good to go. But this edition of Persuasion was really hard to read. I think I've always underestimated the importance of white space on a page, because the tiny, cramped font and the lack of white space made reading an effort. And as much as I love Austen, I already feel like I have to put a bit of effort into reading one of her novels (you don't? Well, good for you.). The end result was that I'd open the book and fall asleep (repeat about 20 times). Finally, I got to the end of the story (reading in the morning when I wasn't tired) but it made the whole experience less pleasurable.
As far as the story goes, I wish that Austen had made us fall in love with Anne earlier on in the novel. I knew enough to recognize that Elizabeth, Mary, and Sir Walter were quite a family to be saddled with, but Anne seemed more milquetoast than heroine. It took me a while to warm up to her. I'm sure Austen had her reasons for this, but I didn't find myself cheering for her until the last fifty pages.