28 Mar 2011, by

Kindled Out

I am so sick of getting recommened e-readers, Kindles and iPads etc.

When I express my disdain for them- people say: ‘You like Jane Austen don’t you?  Look- I have all of her books here.  I got them for free!  On my [insert pointless gadget here]!’

What is the point of downloading them for free if you will never read her?  I suppose it may encourage some people to read Austen, merely because they got her novels for absolutely nothing and are too thrifty to go out and buy a book with molecular integrity, so some good may come of this fast growing practice.

However, janeites everywhere, I urge you to put down your slimline, shiny technowotsits and instead pick up the first Jane Austen you read.

You can hold it in your hands and know that the world over, for hundreds of years, millions of others have held a copy just like you; a shared yet anonymous experience which cannot fail to inspire thought.  You can rifle through the pages until you find your favourite part.  There’s a big crack in the spine where you can instantly flip to Darcy’s proposal or Wentworth’s letter.  The words are smudged a bit where you cried all over Bingley proposing to Jane.  There’s crumbs in almost every page of Northanger Abbey because you read it all in one afternoon over Christmas with a massive box of biscuits.  Your copy of Emma is now like a concertina because you dropped it in the bath.

These characterisitics are synonymous with a favourite author.  So when next someone is using one finger to flip indolently through the pages of a space age novel with giant print they don’t need but use because it makes them feel like they’re reading more, despair not, and feel the papery goodness of the battered volume in your hands.  They are your darling children and a testament to your enduring love for Jane Austen.

^This sums up the superiority of Real Books over e-books.^

Have you any specific characteristics of your own Austen novels?   We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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