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I started reading Emma on Thursday night out of sheer desperation. I’m suffering from the reading blahs right now and can’t find anything to hold my interest or anything that doesn’t sound like something else (why does so much historical fiction have to employ the dual narrative these days?) so I thought I’d try a classic that I’ve never read all the way through and force myself to stick with it. Later this year it’s the 200th anniversary of Emma‘s publication and it feels like the perfect time to read it. And I’m not having to force anything! I truly do like it and am savoring every paragraph. I guess Jane Austen is just what I needed.

My copy is the one on the top left, but I do love the bottom middle – and how stunning is the bottom left? Which of these covers do you like best?

*I totally and completely forgot that I already posted an Emma cover collection last year – am I losing my mind or what??*

 

23 Comments

  1. marie.russell25@gmail.com

    Emma is a great book! I like the top middle and bottom middle. I haven’t read Austin in awhile. Problem is when I start with one, I usually end up reading all 5.

    • There is something very stimulating about her books that makes you want to stay in her world as long as you can. I can see why you’re tempted to read the whole of them after reading just one.

  2. I am pleased Jane Austen has pulled you out of your ‘blah’. I didn’t realise it was the anniversary of Emma I really must re-read it as it has been years. I also think all of these covers are nice. None of them are the one I have though. I find the top middle one the most striking but I think I would happily have any of them!

    • Yes, it looks like Emma was first published on Christmas day in 1815. And it has such a good Christmas scene in it, too – it would be a great holiday read! I think it might inspire me to read Mansfield Park as well which is the only other novel of Austen’s that I haven’t finished.

  3. I’m also so happy to hear that Jane Austen has come to the rescue 🙂 and that you are enjoying Emma. I have two Penguin editions, but neither cover is the one shown here. One does show a lady, but a simpler picture. This was the first edition that I read, and it will always be my picture of Emma (book and character).

    The bottom left makes me think of Little Women more than Jane Austen.

    I haven’t read as much new historical fiction as you, but I’ve noticed from reviews that so many of the stories are those parallel ones that you mention. I wonder if authors feel the history has to be personally connected to someone in the present, for it to be of any interest to readers today?

    • I’ve wondered that too. It’s as if authors think readers won’t enjoy a historical novel unless it has a bit of our world in it too…

      I never thought Jane Austen would pull me out of a slump, but she has most remarkably done it this time. And all thanks to her!

  4. Jane Austen never lets me down when I need a reliable read to pull me out of a slump. I reread Emma this year and greatly enjoyed it. As for the covers, I like the two middle ones best. The bottom left is a striking design but the multicolored snaky hair reminds me more of Anne of Green Gables (or Medusa).

  5. piningforthewest

    I have an old hardback copy of Emma, but my favourite cover is the bottom left one. Those editions all look lovely I believe they were embroidered designs originally, so they look sort of embossed.

  6. I’m tired of dual narratives in historical fiction, too, so haven’t read much of it this year.

    Glad Jane Austen has come to your rescue. Emma is the only one of her novels I haven’t read… saving it so I still have one more to discover. That’s starting to seem a little silly though and I’ll probably end up reading next year.

    • I hope the trend stops soon! It is really tired.

      I’ve always heard from Janeites that part of the pleasure in reading her novels is in re-reading them, so you’ll just have to start all over again after you read Emma.

  7. I didn’t like Emma the first time I read it (because I found Emma herself so irritating) but I decided to try again a few years ago and found myself enjoying it a lot more! The edition I read was the Penguin Classics one above (top right) but I love the bottom left one.

    I completely agree that the dual narrative is being overused in historical fiction these days.

    • Completely overused – I just don’t think I can read much more of it!

      Emma is a challenging character, but she means well I suppose. 🙂

  8. I really like the top middle cover. That’s a version I haven’t seen before. Although I’ve since gotten a nicer Penguin edition, I always associate Emma with the movie tie-in edition for the Gwyneth Paltrow film adaptation because that was the first Jane Austen book I ever read.

    • Oh I loved that movie, but it didn’t inspire me to read Emma! I think the first Austen I read was Pride & Prejudice when I was 17.

  9. I like the top middle the best, and I’m thrilled you’re liking Emma after all! It took me a few tries to love it, so I always preach that other people who didn’t like it should try it again. Hooray, I was right! :p

    • The top middle seems to be a winner! It is very pretty. Yes, I think this is my 4th time trying it and it’s finally stuck – so I’ll be urging people to try it again too.

  10. Oh how I love this book! And I have so many copies. My favorite is the bottom left which I own. It was a special Penguin needlepoint edition which is just gorgeous! Thanks for reminding me of all these lovely editions. And also that it’s the 200th anniversary of Emma this year.

  11. Have you discovered Simon and Rachel’s podcast Tea or Books? Episode five will be fun to listen to if you’re in the mood for more Jane Austen.
    British police dramas seem to be responsible for stealing a bit *cough* of reading time these days….glad to hear your reading slump might be over!

    • I have listened to a few episodes but not #5 – I will have to catch up! I love their banter and do want more Jane Austen. I’ve had plenty of things to steal my reading time too – mostly the baseball playoffs and now the World Series.

  12. I’m delighted that Emma has pulled you out of your reading slump. I have the Penguin edition that you’re showing top right, but I don’t think it really sits the book and I aspire to the new deluxe edition. I like the bottom middle too, and that all six of Jane Austen’s major works are available in the same style.

    I’m losing interest in dual narratives too, but of it’s historical novels you’re after I can recommend Landfalls by Naomi J Williams and I vary much like the look of A Want of Kindness by Joanne Limburg, which is waiting on my library pile,

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