Tuesday Open Thread: So Much For The Stereotypes Edition


We got the best e-mail the other day from a new Janeite, and he gave us his permission to share it with you.

I met Jane Austen several months ago while I was fishing through my library bemoaning the fact that I thought I had nothing to read. I spied my daughter’s 10 year old ignored and dusty copy of “Emma” and opened it up. For about 100 pages, I struggled with who was doing what because Miss Austen’s character lists seem endless. After the 100th page, I was HOOKED. What many contemporaries would call a slow-moving, almost sedate story I found full of suspense, humor, and ironic sentimental twists. As I read, I found myself vocally telling the characters to “say it!!” “Tell him!.” “Oh no, don’t do that!” When Mr. Knightley finally…..FINALLY takes a turn in the bushes with Emma and proposes, I jumped with glee and pranced around the room. I have since read all of Miss Austen’s novels and am moving swiftly on to Sanditon and Lady Susan, plus whatever else Miss Austen has put to paper. It is difficult indeed to explain why I find Miss Austen’s works so entertaining and fascinating. Perhaps it is her “fly on the wall” focus which puts the reader right at the constantly shifting point of action.

This from a 63 year old male, married for 38 years, 2 children, 6 grandchildren, Vietnam Vet, Alumnus of the University of Washington, 42 year career in the airlines, having worked the professional side as well as the working-class side of the business. This from a guy who has read Cormac McCarthy. (Talk about wild contrasts!) I’m here to learn, share, and express my opinion and believe me, I love to communicate what I’m currently obsessed with.

What I once considered “chick-fiction” and looked upon with disdain, the genius of Miss Austen has succeeded in demolishing my pre-conceived notions on what is appropriate for a man to read with great joy. If any man ever tells me that reading Jane Austen is “women’s’ reading,” I’ll threaten to knock’em on their ass.

I’ll see all of you around the Austen Blog.

Best Wishes,
Jeffrey Ward

Say hello to Jeffrey, everyone! *waves* We think his letter will be very popular. And feel free to share your story of “finding Jane.”

This is also an open thread, so let us know what’s new in your patch of Janeiteville!