Before I get into Persuasion, I need to vent about the BBC’s 100 Best Books list. I’ve just discovered that number 59. Artemis Fowl is actually a series of eight books. EIGHT! Between this and the BBC slyly listing Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials as two books (actually six books), I want to start calling the list the BBC’s Best 111 Books. I realize that LOR was intended as one whole book, but conventionally it was released as three. I call shenanigans on the BBC. I will be reading Artemis Fowl for months. At least it is a young adult series; I shudder to think of a Kafka work spanning eight books.
I’m getting lulled into enjoying British Literature, but I would like to follow the BBC’s list with something a little less Brit Lit centered. I might have found that list a few days back. By the time I complete the BBC’s list I will have read about 30 of the books on this list. Blending of fiction with non-fiction feels haphazard. I find that appealing. Some intern just dreamed up this list, and I don’t care.
Now then, back to Brit Lit. I really enjoy Jane Austen. Going into Pride and Prejudice I was prepared to hate it. I don’t like romance. I hate romantic comedies. Reading Jane Austen and George Eliot has given me clarity on why. My romantic media consumption was limited to Hollywood’s interpretation. My partner just watched “Love Actually”, this Christmas season and was enraged by how absurd it was. There are movies that pull the curtain back on real relationships which are most often a balancing between good intentions, false assumptions, short tempers, and the grinding aspects of everyday life. “Blue Valentine” comes to my mind. Lets just say “Love Actually” was not one of them.
The point is I went into Jane Austen and George Eliot thinking “Pretty Woman”. I came away with appreciation for Austen’s wit. Both writers display artistry with language and acute abilities to tell the truth about relationships. There are beautiful moments along side frustration and disappointment. It’s a continuation of all that you struggle with plus the struggles of another. At its best relationships can drive us to be our best. But growth hurts. It’s hard.
Persuasion is a great little read. It doesn’t feel as epic as Pride and Prejudice, but I think that’s due to its reduced length. If you want a bit of Austen without committing to Pride and Prejudice or Emma this is the read for you.