Saturday, September 27, 2008

zipping through?

When I made my 101 in 1001 list a few weeks ago, I immediately had second thoughts about several list items. Too easy, too hard to quantify... So far I am leaving it as is, but since I'm an unorthodox list maker, I'll allow myself the freedom to change it to a certain extent as I go.

I've completed a few in the last few days, which makes me think that they are too easy, or perhaps I'm just tackling the easy ones first.

8. Reorganize my book shelves so that all my books fit without spilling onto the floor. I just needed to do it. Not hard, just easy to avoid. (Now I need to find someplace to put all the non-book items I removed in order to fit the books in.) Yawn.

13. Read Emma, by Jane Austen, all the way to the end.

Until yesterday, Emma was the only one of Jane Austen's complete novels that I had not read. I had tried on several occasions and inexplicably failed. The first time was in grade 8. It was my first Austen attempt, which proceeded to turn me off the whole experience for a few years. I was a big reader then, but I think I couldn't get into the language at that stage. I don't know exactly what made me stop. The second time was a few years later, I believe after I'd read a few other Austen books. Again, not sure why I stopped.

After finishing it last night, I can't think what my problem was those other times. It is a delightful book. (Yes, I just said "delightful.") It easily ranks up near my favourite Austens, though to be fair I love them all. Other than Mansfield Park. That one bugs me.

Anyway, this time around I adored Emma. It's a brilliant example of Jane Austen's social comedy, which I love far more than the romantic aspects. All the petty hang-ups and ridiculous behaviour that seem so important at the beginning become far less important and all-encompassing towards the end. I recognize that reading from my perspective I'm bound to find this obsession with manners a little funny; we don't care about these things in quite so much detail these days, it seems to me. But even so, the way Austen picks at the ridiculousness of human relationships is biting and hilarius. Ah. Also, Miss Bates? That kind of caricature seems perfect.

Oh, and I'm this much closer to achieving #101. (Get a masters degree). I got into a masters program yesterday, accepted the offer, and must now start freaking out about finding a place to live in London. (Ontario. Unfortunately not UK this time).

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