‘Sense and Sensibility’, my second escapade with Jane Austen

sense and sensibility

For how many times I can’t remember I made a vow to myself which I knew I was going to break it. Before the payday came this Tuesday, I promised to myself I wouldn’t buy a book because I have planned saving a sum of money for other things. Only a few days I kept this promise as yesterday I went to the Kinokuniya bookstore after my job was done. I couldn’t help fighting against the temptation of not reading a novel. So even if my money is so tight I kept going there. Even when I have known I can’t expect the bookstore offers more classic titles I went home bringing Jane Austen’s evergreen romance story, ‘Sense and Sensibility’. Although I once watched its movie version I kept purchasing it because I have known written version will always be much more joyful for a reader like me.

The best realistic thing about Victorian books is that they are sold in various editions that match with my pocket. I bought the book edition at just around US$7 (see picture), which is still very affordable for me. I can still enjoy a very lovely story under cheap price. I actually wanted to buy ‘The Vegetarian’ but the price is too high for me at the moment. So never mind with ‘Sense and Sensibility’, though.

I watched ‘Sense and Sensibility’ years ago. All I remember is Kate Winslet still looks so young at the movie.  I don’t even know the name of the actress who plays the oldest one as the central protagonist of the book. I was considering my experiences of having watched the movie version before I bought the canon. As the amazing experience of reading ‘Jane Eyre’ after watching its movie version proves my capability of enjoying the novel, I grabbed ‘Sense and Sensibility’ then headed home.

Unlike ‘Emma’, which was opened with rather cheerful tone, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, so its first pages suggest, invite me to probably read it in a serious mode. So far, I am at its first 13 pages so I can’t say many things yet other than the novel is quite solemn. Since I am accustomed of reading books by Thomas Hardy which are way stressful than Austen’s I bet ‘Sense and Sensibility’ is not that much depressing. At least let’s hope this classic isn’t as distressing as ‘Jane Eyre’.

 Thank you for providing the picture.


Reading canon literature makes me snobbish


If you were a serious reader like me, I’d like to invite you reading this piece of shit. Whether my personality (a blogger says personality is a shitty affair) affects my reading choice or not, it is no wonder that canon literature or say, novels from Victorian Era, is my thing. I have been reading books from American authors with John Steinbeck as my most favorite one and been enjoying stories from Indian writers, but my heart has never been this happy once it has met novels by Thomas Hardy.

It’s like I and those books have finally found each other. How romantic I sometimes think about this.

It’s funny how serious minds are indeed meant for heavy books. See? Romance is not just for less serious or funny people. Even a distressing person like I can have my own love story.

Many have said that novels from Victorian Era set high benchmarks for literary works. You can’t count how many books by Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and definitely Charles Dickens have been adapted into movies, theaters or other popular shows. There have also been a lot of critics who say how their writing styles or issues are amazing. If I say their works are ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ I bet some will agree with me.

So, what happens after years reading books from this era?

At first, what I have immensely loved by reading the novels are the beauty of words and how skillful those authors in describing things and people. Reading this type of novel is like viewing a very wonderful panorama. Later, I call this reading experience as a sort of relaxing trip. The more I read the more I then learn what makes a good novel. Their stories teach me that good books are about people, about who we really are.

I have taken personal lessons just by reading their stories and I have put them into practice. Reading their books have made me a better person. That’s so true.

I still read books by writers from the era. Currently, I read ‘Markheim’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. As I enjoy more novels, a devilish thing sneaks in. The part of me who yearns for recognition, praise shows up. It is called arrogance.

It has been years that I reject books written not by authors by the period. I’d say because I still want to read classic books but sometimes it is more because I think popular novels are rubbish. If they are easy readings, I have no time for them. That’s my principle.

If you said I am smart or anything let me tell you I actually act naive. It’s like opting something difficult for the sake of ‘being who I truly am’ instead of trying to ‘entertain my soul’ via funny or lighter books.

It’s like why am I addicted to hard things while it’s really not sinful to occasionally read something popular. Why do I keep choosing tough lines over mild ones?

Knowing your reading preference is good, always bright thing to do. But putting barrier or walls over things beyond the preference is what makes your ego running wild. That may shield you away from fantastic stories that probably are in easy books you always underestimate.

The picture is taken from this.

Five benefits of reading long novels you probably don’t notice


I prefer reading thick books to short stories. As long as the books are good, the longer they are the better. As such, I have to carefully select which books I am going to read. The process can be as tricky and nonsense as in this post.

But if I get good, even great books, I can’t tell you how merry my heart will be. The romance between I and the books are on. The joy of reading fantastic books is having a lot of time to enjoy, learn, and simply be in the books. I can understand each and every character, even relate their traits with mine. Not only that. The plots, the conflicts face me with new viewpoints, different perspectives.

After a number of years opting to read long books instead of short stories, I get surprised by how much the preference help me becoming a more grounded person. This can be broken into these points:

  1. Becoming more understandable

The more I read diverse characters, some are even so ugly, the more I shield away from judging persons, be they good or bad. I learn not all coarse people are completely bad. Their past experiences, family issues contribute much to what they are in the books. Not all protagonists are angels, too. They make stupid mistakes. They can be stubborn, hurt the ones they love with or without their intentions. Reading long novels provide me with so much chances to learn each character as simply human being who are meant to make mistakes then learn from them. And oh I pity very cruel character, like Heathcliff. Those who are very hard at hearts are usually the ones who need love at the most.

2. Becoming more patient

I have found this benefit lately; patience. When I have good books at the palm of my hands, I completely get into them that I don’t realize how time flies by so fast. I don’t pay any attention that I have to be very patient to digest that 300 or even 600 pages long. All I care is reading page per page, enjoying what the author say in it. I am not very sure that my patience, some friends of mine say that I am a patient person, is partly because of this habit. I can’t judge myself. I let others say so.

3. Becoming more skilled to enjoy stillness

Again, I am not very certain that reading long books contribute much to my skills in dealing with solitude. That’s may be true since reading makes me just facing hundreds of papers. I make good friends with the dead objects. I learn the art of becoming my own company. Each time I find vacant moments, just grab books or read online articles.

4. Becoming okay in what others may perceive as ‘boring’ activity

Like point number 2, I have recently come across someone’s opinion who said reading is boring. Well, I can’t deny that opinion. On the surface, readers face hundreds of pages containing words, words and more words. It’s amazing to think that beyond the books, whatever the titles are, unbelievable trips await readers. We are transported into unknown worlds at different times and spaces. We have our own trips at the back of our minds. Others may say that’s boring but for us, what we feel each time we glue at our novels is full of adventures.

5. Becoming much more imaginative

I never believed I was a creative person until I read a lot. Reading opens up my mind like I never thought it could be. Enjoying books written in foreign language challenges me even much harder but it is so worth it for my brain does exercises at its best. My mind works hard picturing what these characters look like in real lives. When you are provided with descriptions you will automatically try to picture them in your minds; rounded-face, blue big eyes, curly hair, etc.

Talking about scenery, social life as the backgrounds of the books is advanced thing. I can’t believe there are so many things that I can learn from just one book, thick or thin. You are free to imagine everything. Your imaginations can be as wild as you want them to be. Again, reading is a mind adventure, and isn’t that more than enough to say readers have so much fun doing this hobby?

The picture is taken from this. Thanks for providing it.




Marty South, ‘The Woodlanders’ minor character who leaves me with an indescribable satisfaction


source: www.study-skills.ca

Had Thomas Hardy not ended ‘The Woodlanders’ with the fate of Marty South, I would be hugely disappointed. Marty South, though she plays a role in the broken relationship of between Edred Fitzpiers and Felice Charmond, is the only female character in the novel who upholds the meaning of faithfulness.

I am almost forced to accept the anti-climax of the book as what I read, up to the last two pages of the novel, is the reunion of Grace Melbury and Edred Fitzpiers. Unfortunately, their union is not the ultimate ending of the novel. This is the first time ever Thomas Hardy deceives me. In a good way. He ends the novel with the scene of Marty South visiting the graveyard of Giles Winterborne all by herself. After eight months going there together with Grace, Marty is alone. She learns the news that Grace returns to the arms of Edred, leaving Marty with full happiness because Giles solely belongs to her.

The reason on why I would curse Hardy had he finished the wonderful book by the reunion of Grace and Edred is because I don’t appreciate the major characters. I would like to define Grace as a wishy-washy person. At some points, somehow I would like to label her as a selfish lover. She lets her father controls her future. Even when she realizes she loves Giles after he is homeless, Grace does not do anything to save her love life. One moment that makes her name deserves applause is when she stands quiet while ignoring her unfaithful husband. I salute this kind of act for this successfully puts Edred into a great shame when he comes back to amend his sins. However, I completely do not understand her manners when she involves Giles in her departure to Exonbury in a bid to avoid meeting her husband. I call this as a stupidity because she knows pretty well that she and Giles are not allowed to meet by law although they love each other. When she knows that Giles opt to stay out of door for the sake of her safety and purity, Grace should go on her own way to her friends’ house in Exonbury. Rather, she keeps staying in Giles’ hut until she finds it too late that Giles dies, partly because of his staying outside the hut.

When Grace determines to repair her marriage with Edred I feel satisfied. For I think this only assures me that she is indeed not faithful. Or you may call her final decision as being realistic; that it is completely unfair to judge a person’s faithfulness based on his/her willingness not to get married after her beloved one passes away. But looking at Grace’s changing minds from the beginning until the end of the novel somehow frustrates me.

While for Edred.. despite his profesional skill and light-handedly manner, I, at the beginning, already dislikes him. His infidelity already emerges long before he marries Grace and meets Felice Charmond again. The way he pays back his mistakes by coming to Grace again is a good turning point anyway.

So, there remains two only loyal characters; Giles and Marty. Their sacrifice, though brings no happy ending, is what makes the novel really teaches us about true love. Giles finally dies for Grace, whom won’t ever be his wife by legal means. While Marty, who supports Giles in good and hard times, can finally find joy and remain faithful although her love is unrequited.

Even though the novel does not run in the way I want, I somehow feel satisfied. The presence of Marty South at the start and ending of the novel is a magic factor that makes the novel is different with Hardy’s novels. This is the kind of plot that makes me falls in love with Hardy even more. It feels like Hardy knows the best plot for his readers, that despite the sad ending, his readers can feel their minds and hearts are fully occupied with contentment.