Thursday, June 2

For the love of Jane

There's been a lot of Heavy around these parts lately. And there's a lot more I haven't even begun to address or share on the ol' blog. I'll get to some of it, but for now, I think it's about time for some simple truths, no? How about this one:
Shame, humiliation, disgrace: hard feelings to accept if you've been brought up to believe that you should never have to experience any pain. ... No suffering, no growth—and no recollection, no suffering. We have to see what we've done, we have to feel it, and finally, we have to remember it. ... 
How tempting it is to rewrite our personal history in a more flattering way, and how familiar we all are with the person who experiences a moment of self-knowledge—after a breakup or a failure or a sin—only to go right back to being the same person they always were. For Austen, maturation means refusing to forget. Humiliation, for her, is a gift that keeps on giving.
from A Jane Austen Education
One of my very favorite recent reads was A Jane Austen Education. I've underlined and marked so many pages, and as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again. Perhaps most surprisingly, it's written by a man. It's the best non-scholarly scholarly thing I've read about Jane and her work. Basically, it's a book not only about Jane Austen and her work, but it's also about how reading can change your life.

I wrote about the book more in a review for BlogHer (no spoilers):

In A Jane Austen Education, William Deresiewicz chronicles many years’ worth of mining Austen’s works as well as distilling what he found into distinct categories: everyday matters, growing up, learning to learn, being good, true friends, and falling in love. He very aptly adapted the lessons from her novels—which could be denigrated to “quaint” or relegated to the beautifully (if not twitterpatedly) cinematic (Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, be still my heart!)—to make sense, actually startlingly practical sense, in today’s social constructs.
Click here to read the rest.
So tell me, any books cut you to the core lately?


The Fearless Fowler said...

That sounds like a fabulous read. I might have to pick it up for my weekend plane ride. One of my ultimate cut-to-the-core books is "Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin" by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. It's tad academic, but it is so achingly good. In fact, it's time for me to read it again.

Anonymous said...

one book always and forever slices me open and spills me all over the place: "love is a mix tape," rob sheffield. i gave it to the man to read when he went to africa on business. i knew it was the only way he would ever read it; it's not usually his style. but that book contains everything i've ever wanted to tell him. when he came back, i asked him, "did you read it?" he said, "yeah, it was the last thing i read before i came back here." i said, "well?"

he said, "it made me realize how much i missed you." target hit.

Erin said...

adventuremeg—It's now on my list.

magnolia—I have that one on my list, too.

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