Wednesday, June 30, 2010


There are a couple of books I like to read when the weather is really, really hot in summer - To Kill a Mockingbird and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - because the settings are so hot it makes me feel cool by comparison. But the other day when it was hot for the fifth day in a row I suddenly remembered strawberries.

In particular, the Jane Austen novel in which some officious female character is taken out for group strawberry-picking on a hot day and goes on and on and on about how lovely until she switches to how insupportable, and I thought: must reread those novels, again.

Isn't it amazing to think of a writer being timeless enough to appeal to readers hundreds of years hence, not just once per reader but repeatedly? Of course, she writes all those wicked asides, saying exactly what anybody of sense would think, about people the like of which still walk among us today - so there's that.

I started with Emma. I'm pretty sure it's not the strawberry-picking book but it does have a picnic that ends badly. And strawberries are in season so I can supply them.


Kathleen Taylor said...

I'm pretty sure the strawberry picking is in Emma. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen, but Emma is her masterpiece. If you haven't read Northanger Abbey, do so- it's a hoot

TexNan said...

I'm with Kathie: Emma's the strawberry-picking one, and the officious female is the curate's 50,000 pound wife. (Who'da thunk? There's no proper pound mark on my keyboard!) The first time I read Emma she was my least favorite Austen heroine, but I've become quite fond of her.

Reading Austen is more a winter activity for me. Perhaps I'll try it as a cooling down tool. I need one!

Mary Keenan said...

Aha! I was so sure it was Emma... but I couldn't remember who the snobby strawberry lady would be. Of course, Mrs. Elton, bless her.

I love Northanger Abbey too! and also Persuasion. Not so much of the funny but such a great and moving story.