Emma is the third Jane Austen book I've read. I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, loved Mansfield Park, and Emma was a joy from start to finish. I can see why this is one of her most recommended works.
To begin with, the characters were fantastic. Emma is beautiful and precocious; and she knows it. In a word, the perfect heroine. There's the narcissistic but loving father (if you can fit those together in your mind), the suave but eminently perplexing suitor, the wise brother-in-law, the naive younger friend, and on it goes. For those who know the genre these characters alone offer significant opportunity for misunderstanding, anxiety, and ultimate happiness. What more could one want from a romance?
Austin's writing is some of the best I've seen. As I have developed a taste for literature my senses are continually awakened to new forms of beauty in writing and story. What I love about Austen is that the more I bring to the table the more she has to offers me as a reader. Every time I read one of her books I feel it is her best. I now believe that this has more to do with me than the works themselves. Her writing is like fine chocolate. Any fool can enjoy it but only one with refined taste can appreciate its purity, subtlety and the care that produced it. I look forward to improving my skills as a reader so I can enjoy her next work even more.
On another note, Emma is my first attempt at reading an ebook. A few months back I got an ipod touch with my laptop, replacing one that had been stolen. The device is ridiculously useful and I keep it on my person the way most people do there cell phones. I have long known that I could read ebooks on the ipod touch, but I was so convinced that I would loath the experience I never took it up. I was happily mistaken. While you lose the effect of paper and ink you also lose the weight. Apple's commitment to a slim and light device is much appreciated. Now I can read anywhere without remembering to grab my current book or get a light when things get dark. If I finish a book while I am out I have a few more already downloaded I can dive right into. The reading does not get tedious like I expected and even has some advantages. You can manipulate the font, color and brightness of the screen to perfectly suite your tastes. I am currently reading my books on a light blue screen with black, bolded letters, dimly lit (the screen, not me). Gone are the days of sitting in my uncomfortable couch instead of my comfy chair to get better lighting. Gone are the days of keeping a dictionary or computer close by so I can look up words I want to learn. Now I can just switch to the built in dictionary, look up the word, and switch back. Brilliant.
And, best of all, since most of the books I read are past the copyright date, everything I have wanted to read on it is free. This may be better than when McDonald's introduced the dollar menu.