Posted by: Calvin | June 2, 2008

Me and Sense and Sensibility

I have written before about not being a reader and how joining a book club has been a great experience for me.  So, when I saw that the movie “Jane Austen’s Book Club” was available on On Demand, I decided to watch it a few months ago.  In that movie, the characters oddly enough are in a book club which reads Jane Austen books.  Being insecure on the topic, I came away from the movie quite sure that I was one of the only women in my general demographic group that had not read a Jane Austin book.  Of course, I had seen the movie “Sense and Sensibility” and a couple different movie versions of “Pride and Prejudice”, but it had been long enough ago that I could not tell you which was which or how they ended.  As I watched “Jane Austen’s Book Club” I set a new goal for myself:  to read at least one Jane Austin book.

Seeing there is no library that is convenient to my house, a week or so later I went to the book store.  I looked at the covers of the Austen books and decided that I should start at the beginning.  I bought her first novel “Sense and Sensibility” and took it home.  There the book sat, but not for nearly as long as I expected.  Within a week or so, I started to read it. 

It was a hard read at first.  It felt like the time I was in Baden Baden, Germany standing behind a couple talking to each other as they stared at the attractions bulletin board at the youth hostel.  I asked them if they spoke English.  They looked at me like I was very strange and told me that they were speaking English.  They were Scottish, so the language was the same, but the words were different or perhaps they were the same words and just sounded different.  After we all laughed at my expense, then spent a few days travelling together, the funny language they spoke actually made sense to me.  The book was the same.  It took a while, reading very slowly, to get into the grove.  As a test, after 3-4 chapters I found the movie on Netflix and watched up to where I had read to make sure I was getting it right.  Other than completely missing the little sister, I had done fairly well.

Before too long, I finished the book and managed to enjoy it.  The best part about reading the book was not that I had finished it or that I had enjoyed it.  The best part was what it did for my self image.  As I carried the book (which I tend to do with whatever book I am reading these days lest I have any unproductive down time), women would ask if I was enjoying the book.  When I said yes, a conversation would ensue, I would tell how I came to be reading the book. Many of the women admited that they had never read a Jane Austin book and would like to read one someday.  These were well read, well educated women.  Here I was reading this book, becuase I was so sure that I was the only one of us who had not read it!  In an instant, I became the one with the gumption to read the book so few had attempted.  Me, the non-reader.  Even my librarian friend who watches the Jane Austen movies over and over admited that she too had not actually read the books!

So Sense and Sensibility gave me the sense to know that I can read and enjoy such classics without cliff notes and the sensiblity to stop being so hard on myself.  I look at others and think that they are so much smarter and more accomplished.  It is not always true.  And if it is . . . so what?  Going foward, I will focus on doing the things that I want to do, the things that will make me feel better about myself.  I will do them not because anyone else is doing it, but because I want to do it and it will make me feel better about myself to have added it to my list of accomplishments.  If I made a list of the things I want to do “someday”, it will be long.  I may do that “someday.”  But for now I will be content to discover and accomplish my goals one at a time.  I am looking forward to see what goal presents itself next . . .



  1. LOL. I recently read Sense and Sensibility, and I totally missed Margaret. After a few chapters she’s mentioned again I kept thinking, “Who is Margaret?” I had to go back the beginning and realize my mistake.

    A librarian that has never read the books but likes the movies? Crazy!

  2. i just stumbled across this blog, it’s a great post 🙂

    I’m a big reader of all things Jane Austen!
    if you want to try another of her books, pride and prejudice is the way to go.
    the movies pretty much follow the book and it’s very funny 🙂

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