I know, someone out there is thinking, wait a minute, she said she was reading Ulysses next. It is true, I was (and am) reading Ulysses. However, due to many factors that I will get more into when I post on Ulysses, I decided to do simultaneous reading with a few books. Over the last week I read both Ulysses and Pride and Prejudice, however since Ulysses is about 1000 pages, I did not finish that one yet. Don’t worry, I am not giving up on this challenge yet!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Where did I get this book and how many pages?
Last week I did post a pretty picture of a nice, hardcover, Jane Austen collection which included Pride and Prejudice. That copy was purchased at a PX (military Walmart for anyone who is not aware, sometimes also called BX) about a year and a half ago. The truth is however, while I bought it with every intention of reading all four stories, I have never opened the book. While it does photograph well, I actually read a kindle copy I have on my ipad that is 253 pages long.
Have I read this before?
Yes, I read this book about a year ago. I cannot remember exactly when.
What did I think?
There is a lot of hype around Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is a bit of a smart girl dreamboat. It is almost a cliché to have a girl who loves to read and who spends her time dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and wishing to be Lizzy Bennet. When I read this book the first time, I didn’t have pure reasons. I consider myself to be decently smart, and want to be well read. I also wanted to understand the weird references I ran across on the internet.
When I finished the first time, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. Maybe it was my own high expectations, but it seemed as though this wasn’t the superior love story I have always heard it to be. Darcy was cranky, Elizabeth was a poor judge of character and a bit cruel, and most of the supporting characters were a bit, well, stupid. I mean seriously, I don’t think I could have lived with Lydia without giving her a good smack every now and then. Of course, this might be why I am not invited into fancy society. I liked it, but it seemed a little oversold. It just wasn’t as exciting to me as everyone claimed it to be.
What do I think now?
I was wrong the first time. During my second reading I was able to see more subtle things I had missed the first time through. The first time through it had seemed as though their relationship had been rushed, almost as if they were just coming to a conclusion in order to give them a happy ending. But during the second reading, knowing everything I now knew about the characters, I was able to see the relationship progress a little better. It was much more gradual than it first seemed, and it was a little easier to understand the actions of some characters. I’m still not sure I would have been able to live with Lydia without giving her a good smack, but then again, I am not exactly a proper Lady.
This is definitely a book that was better the second time through. I’m sure at some point there will be a third time through, and I expect it to be even better next time.
Should you read this book before you die?
It feels like the romantic, overly girly thing to say to say yes, but I like it enough to want to share also. There is a reason this is a classic romance; the characters are flawed, but come to discover what they can love in each other. This is the book women can read to see what they are doing wrong in your relationships. Don’t whine that someone did you wrong; get better at learning the true character of person. Some people are really just charming bastards dipped in chocolate, and some people are kind and large hearted, with a sour outer coating. You really need to get to the center to decide which is which. As much as this is hyped by women, there is lessons to be learned for men as well. Don’t assume the woman you are insulting is worthless after one glance because there is much more to a person than what is on the surface. And don’t always go for the outgoing, flirty girl either; sometimes there is nothing to a person but their surface. You need to look deeper.
If you want to keep reading along, I am still plugging away at Ulysses. I am hoping to have this one posted next week, but we’ll see how it goes. This is not a small or easy to read book, so I may need to push it out one more week. I’m hoping not!
In the meantime, I am going to keep up with some simultaneous reading, starting on the next book so I don’t fall behind. Next up is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.