Given up on Jane Austen

Three four years back, I watched the movie "Becoming Jane" in Lincoln Square when I was on a business trip to Redmond. I liked the movie and then felt some interest in Jane Austen's masterpieces. I ran into the Barnes & Noble in Bellevue downtown and picked a paper back Pride And Prejudice. I hadn't got chance to start reading it until last winter. I brought it with me onto the cruise. I sat down on my balcony, in the tender sunlight of winter on the Mediterranean, started reading the book.

It was probably the least distracted occasion that I could find. No Internet, no cellphone, no shopping, just the fantastic sea view and chilly soft wind. Apple was sleeping in the room. But I wasn't able to continue after about 40 pages. I stopped at where Jane was sick and stuck in the Bingley's and Elizabeth was taking care of her. It was hard. I understood every single word, but just cannot read through the lines and pages fluently. I put the book back to the luggage and decided to take a break. Maybe a long break, as much as it takes to get myself back to the book.

I picked it up this morning. I thought I was ready to continue. But I put it down after a few pages. I tried a few more pages again tonight and I still cannot do it. It is a well-known masterpiece, but not for me. There is too much dialogue. Way too much. For example, the entire Chapter 10 was the chitchat, between Elizabeth, Mr.Darcy and Miss Bingley. So does the Chapter 17 (though among different characters). It's not my type.

So I closed the book, for good, and put it back to the bookshelf. I decided to give up on it, as well as Jane Austen. I am afraid her other books would be the same. To save my night a bit, I picked the other book, Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson. It was recommended by D, a wise peaceful old man who lives in Detroit. I bought it two months ago and haven't started with it. After the first one and half chapter, I felt much better. This one looks much more interesting to me. It's 900+ pages and I believe it will give me quite many hours of enjoyable reading experience. Looking forward to it. Cannot wait for tomorrow night.

Comments on “Given up on Jane Austen

  1. Supernova July 14, 2010 01:41 PM

    Austen's novel is not for males. Even for me (I majored in English in college), it was really boring when I tried to read Emma as a teenage girl. I think one of the reasons is because her scenes take place in common places, such as the family drawing rooms, dinner tables, and backyards. Her works require a lot of patience, because the beauty lies in the subtle nuances that pass between character interactions and dialogues, all of which makes for great comedies and satires. I recommend that you might give Dickens a try (i.e. Great Expectations) if you are interested in classic British literature, or even Charlotte Bronte's works. But I really commend you for giving Austen a try. I don't think a lot of engineers would usually read something so out of their comfort zone.

    I was also quite impressed with your two other book choices: 1984, and The Lost Generation. Do you know if there's a way to get a copy of The Lost Generation that you mentioned in the earlier post if you lived in the U.S.?

  2. mvm July 14, 2010 05:35 PM

    the book's french name is: "Génération perdue : Le mouvement d'envoi des jeunes instruits à la campagne en Chine, 1968-1980"

    It can be found on Amazon UK ( But it shows "Currently unavailable"

  3. police j July 15, 2010 11:51 AM

    enjoy your taste

Leave a Reply