Sunday, 27 January 2013

Pride and Prejudice Bicentennial Celebratory Lunch

Recently, Anne and I realized that we have matching red dresses. We were looking for an opportunity to wear them out together, and where better than to Frida's for a celebratory lunch for the Pride & Prejudice bicentennial!

We brought our books and anticipated a good blog post. I envisioned a comprehensive article worthy of peer review, or at least "going viral". I think Anne just wanted a good chat.

Anne ordered a lovely salad and tried to sway me in the direction of vegetable crepes, but who picks vegetables over dulce de leche?

Jean, a friend of Anne's, walked into the restaurant, and upon seeing that all the other tables had been taken, joined us. But Jean has never completed a Jane Austen novel (gasp!). The conversation quickly broadened well beyond P&P, and being no great reader myself, I primarily observed a fascinating exchange between women who appeared to have read about 80%  of everything else ever published.

We had a discussion on how we come to read the books that we do. Anne is a deliberate reader, finding her books on purpose, though she is currently stuck in the "H" and "K" section of the library (not literally of course). Jean is an accidental reader. She is very visual, and chooses her books entirely based on their cover (apparently Austen doesn't have very compelling design work). She turns to page 30, and if she likes it, she reads it. Anne referred to me as a "literary adopter". I tend to just re-read books - rarely trying something new unless out of obligation. In doing this, I pick up the language and phrases from books, like one picks up an accent when they travel.  I am also such a slow reader, that I need to know I'm going to like it!

We discussed why we read. For visiting new places, experiencing different time periods, escaping to a whole other realm, taking the opportunity to visualize something completely removed from normal life. We get experiences from books that we simply don't have time to  experience outside of books. We meet people and make friends in books that we wouldn't have time to maintain.There is also a particular kind of comfort that comes from rereading a book. Like visiting old friends or old neighbourhoods. We like the feeling of reading.

Important notes.

After a 3 hour discussion on books and reading (and Liam Neeson), I was finding it difficult to consolidate the "plops" of topics into a readable blog post on Pride and Prejudice. Instead, we have opted to revisit the highlights through a series of letters. We are sure that Jane would approve. An exciting outcome - the new Epistles page.


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