My parents always encouraged me to read and I developed book love rather early in life. But they never gave me this advice :

 “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Clockwork Angel

Be Careful Of Books

When I close my eyes, I see a small darkish room in a guest house where I began to read a book that seemed a little too heavy for a 11 year old. But I loved it. And there began my journey with Miss Austen. The book? Pride and Prejudice.  Soon after I read Emma and then there was no stopping me. I read all of her books. And I’ve read them all over and over again.

Don’t ask me what the draw is exactly? Especially when I now know all the stories and the characters. But it seems that I’m not the only one who is Austen obsessed. I’m not the only one who is still filled with excitement when I read these lines about Elizabeth’s first, and somewhat furtive visit to Pemberley, the estate of Darcy.

Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.

The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.

Elizabeth’s mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;- and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

I must confess watching various versions of Pride and Prejudice didn’t help. For instance, the famous scene in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy jumping into the lake and emerging from it dripping wet is forever implanted in my memory. Funnily, this scene does not form a part of the novel and yet  fantasies memories in many female minds like mine and is even celebrated with a statue!

Reading several Austen inspired books down the years and watching the televised versions of many of her stories, including Becoming Jane  – a biographical film about Jane Austen, has only peaked my interest in all things Austenian.

be-careful-of-books

Lyme Park – this was used to depict the outer facade of the imaginary Pemberley in BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice series.

As different a world as the one Austen’s heroines lived in is from mine, the advice that comes through is so relevant to modern day living, even if some of it comes off as being cynical. Let me share some with you.

It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble. —Emma (1815)

Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. —Emma (1815)

The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense. —Pride and Prejudice (1813)

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. —Mansfield Park (1814)

Indulge your imagination in every possible flight. —Pride and Prejudice (1813)

They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life. —Mansfield Park (1814)

Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable. —Emma (1815)

Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope. —Sense and Sensibility (1811)

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. —Northanger Abbey (1817)

Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings. —Mansfield Park (1814)

And finally the one that appeals to me so much and is so relevant to this post:

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Are you similarly afraid of books?

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fridayreflectionsFinish-the-sentence-friday
Linking into #FridayReflections hosted by Sanch Vee and Write Tribe and responding to the prompt: “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Clockwork Angel
Also linking into Finish the Sentence Friday. This week’s sentence is “When I close my eyes, I see…”  The hosts are Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Kerry Kijewski of Her Headache.

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