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Be Careful Of Books #FTSF #FridayReflections

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.

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?


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.

#blogsharelearn Linky



  1. […] Books have always been a part of my life. The love affair started before I could read – when my Mum would read stories to me. Apparently, I would learn the whole story by heart and then pretend I was reading. My Mum fooled an uncle of mine in to believing that I could read at age two, because I would turn the page at exactly the right place!! […]

  2. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom June 27, 2016

    Oooh what a topic to bring up – Austen! And of course Darcy. Nothing to be afraid of there. It always amazes me how ahead of her times she was to make her books loved even now.

  3. Nabanita Nabanita June 27, 2016

    I love Jane Austen too. I guess we all do and you are so right, everything she wrote then, the message, is still relevant in many ways. As for if I’m afraid of books, well, I guess not. I think books give me the safe haven that I need to hide in time and again in life.

  4. Rosemond Rosemond June 27, 2016

    I love JA! Every few years I reread one of her novels. Like you, I am always struck by how applicable her words and wisdom are to our world today. Fresh and modern at a time when being a woman with her own ideas certainly wasn’t easy. And thanks for sharing the Mr. Darcy scene. One of my favorites.

  5. Linda Linda June 27, 2016

    I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I was a bit of a tomboy when I was little, so I loved climbing trees, playing ‘boy’ sports, getting a bit rough and dirty…. but if I was up a tree, I often had a book with me. If I was riding my bike somewhere, I’d often take a book and stop off and read for a while. Every Friday night when we went shopping in town, one place we had to go was the local toy store where there was a section that sold books. I bought as many Hardy Boys and Three Investigator books as I could manage with my pocket money. In grade 6 I read The Hobbit, and then The Lord of the Rings (over several months), and I think that pretty much solidified my love for fantasy books. The books I remember most from my childhood are those already mentioned, Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark Is Rising’ series, all the Narnia books, and my all time favourite ‘The Weirdstone of Brisingamen’ by Alan Garner. I learned much about how to ‘live’ from all of these. I’m another who’s never read any Jane Austen books!!! I keep meaning to, and never seem to get around to it. As a ‘grown-up’ my favourite authors are Robin Hobb, Phil Rickman, Robert Goddard, Raymond Feist, Robert Jordan, Charles de Lint to name a few! Books certainly can move you…. I’ve thrown a book once because I was so upset with what the author did to a character (thanks Jodi Picoult!), and cried for a couple of hours and been absolutely distraught after another (Robin Hobb). I think of books as some of my oldest friends…..and I can visit whenever I want to. I love the smell and feel of books too!

  6. Pratikshya Pratikshya June 27, 2016

    I have loved reading the classic Pride and Prejudice , Sense and Sensibility. The BBC mini series is a favorite… Currently have Northanger Abbey in my TBR pile…

  7. Parul Parul June 27, 2016

    I read Pride and Prejudice in school and I am planning to pick that up again. You are right about books. Many that I have read over years have shaped me in some form or other. You read and you place yourself in that setting. It’s just lovely! 🙂
    Parul recently posted..The Other Side of HampiMy Profile

  8. Rajlakshmi Rajlakshmi June 26, 2016

    I am glad I read Jane Austen when I was in school. It’s because of that I started reading other classic novel writers and appreciate the ‘old’ English language. I haven’t watched the BBC version… except for some of Darcy and Elizabeth’s scenes … Love them. 😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted..5 Life Skills I learnt living away from homeMy Profile

  9. Becky Charlotte Becky Charlotte June 26, 2016

    For some reason, I’ve never been a fan of Jane Austen… And I’ve read most of her books and they’re pretty good..
    Becky Charlotte recently posted..Electromagnetic Health BonusMy Profile

  10. Alana Alana June 26, 2016

    Memories of sharing my youth with books are treasured. Edgar Rice Burrough’s Martian series. Various books by James Michener. Science fiction novels by Asimov, Heinlein and others. Those books transported me into different worlds and made me see things in new ways. I still approach books today, hoping that they will teach me, and maybe even change me. I think that is why I get impatient if a book doesn’t move me after a few chapters. So many books, too little time.

  11. Hillary Hillary June 26, 2016

    Thanks for sharing your love of these books! For me it was Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions that changed me forever.

  12. Sunaina Bhatia Sunaina Bhatia June 25, 2016

    I am scared of being without books. There are books wherever I go. I get books from the library like a hoarder…..For me, the world would be unimaginable, un-liveable if there were no books. I liked Austen but was not much of a fan. One reason was Wuthering Heights which I read at the same time. But lately I have seen lot of Austen lovers, which makes me want to go back and read her again.

  13. Tina Basu Tina Basu June 25, 2016

    Some books have left deep impressions on me and when I was a teenager I almost lived a parallel life as the characters of some romance novels. That feels funny now somehow!

  14. Rica Rica June 25, 2016

    I remember spending long summer days in my room with a book while the other kids were riding bikes and splashing in pools. The scent of new books was intoxicating, and I don’t deny that book sniffing has always been a thing. I’m sure you agree. When it comes to being afraid of books, I fear the last lines. It’s always so sad to say goodbye to the journey, and leave the characters we’ve come to love or loathe. Great post, Corinne!

  15. Kristi R Campbell Kristi R Campbell June 24, 2016

    I never thought to be afraid of books but you’re so right – I have many that certain scenes, quotes, and characters have stayed with me for years. I’m a little embarrassed to say I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. I’m so glad you linked up with Finish the Sentence!

  16. Tarang Sinha Tarang Sinha June 24, 2016

    Hello Corinne,

    First of all, thanks for sharing these quotes. Honestly, I am not much into classics. You may find it strange, but I couldn’t finish Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights. I find them heavy or maybe I don’t relate to the settings.

    I am not afraid of books, but sometimes they leave deep impressions, a certain feeling that lingers. Recently, I have experienced this with The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Divakaruni and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
    Tarang Sinha recently posted..Let Things GoMy Profile

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