Emma

EmmaThis morning, DailyLit sent me my final 191st installment of Jane Austen’s Emma, which I read just a few moments ago. Upon finishing the book, I have to say that while I love DailyLit and the idea behind it, daily subscriptions were perhaps not the best way to read this particular novel (and perhaps Jane Austen in general — I am not sure). Austen has a subtlety and requires, I think, a great deal of concentration from her reader. Reading this novel over the course of about six months made it hard for me to remember some of the events. Of course, I could have had installments sent more quickly by requesting them (by default, the subscriptions will not be sent any more frequently than once a day). A second problem I had in receiving the book this way is that it was very poorly transcribed. On several occasions, my transcription cut off in the middle of someone’s speech or would even end as someone was about to say something (even cutting off at a comma instead of a period). I found this maddening and most of the time either requested the next installment or had to go back and re-read the end of the previous one. Another fault in the transcription were grammar errors — the possessive “hers” was rendered “her’s” on several occasions in the text.

As for the story, I have previously read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and am currently reading Northanger Abbey (I have also attempted Persuasion twice). Of the novels with which I am familiar, I have to say Emma contains my least favorite storyline and characters. I never really managed to quite like Emma. She seemed to me to be quite shallow and snobby. I did like Mr. Knightley, but I fail to see what he saw in Emma. Mrs. Elton was hilarious, as Austen’s most annoying characters typically are. Still, even though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I typically enjoy Austen, it was an entertaining read. I had seen Clueless, and it was interesting to see how closely Amy Heckerling followed her source material.

Not one soul commented to tell me which Dickens novel I should read of the three: Great Expectations, David Copperfield, or A Tale of Two Cities. Therefore, I used the only means of divination I could think of and asked my seven-year-old daughter Maggie, who has no investment in my choice except that perhaps the title of the third sounds like a Garfield movie. And of course that’s the one she chose for me.

Meanwhile, I have discovered yet another use for my Goodreads account in addition to keeping a record of all the books I have read and am currently reading. Up until the last couple of days, my “to-read” bookshelf has held only the couple of books that were on my immediate list of books I wanted to read. I have begun cataloging the books I find interesting so I won’t forget about them later, and I am finding that to be really helpful for me. My mother has for years kept a notebook with a list of books she find interesting and checks them off as she acquires them, so consider my Goodreads account my notebook.

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