I was my High School "Outstanding English Student" (at least that's what it said on the award Bank of America gave me). I majored in English Lit. in college and I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society, as well. One might assume from those credentials that I read those books that wind up on Masterpiece Theatre...alas, this is not so. Somehow I managed to graduate without having read much American Lit, whether it be early or modern (and to be honest, I don't remember reading any of the stuff I hear tell is 'canon'), and whole huge chunks of English Lit. I'm not sure how I got away with it.
Thus, until very recently, I had a deep, dark secret. I had never read Pride and Prejudice. I had never read any Austen at all!
Discussions about her work fly over my head. If it comes up, I nod thoughtfully but do not participate. At the first opportunity, I'll go find something else to do, rather than unveil my ignorance, which I excuse as a lack of interest. After all, I do read voraciously - just not "those kinds of books," whatever that means.
Then, the other day, while my daughter was visiting, she said she was going to go upstairs and read for a bit. I asked her what she was reading. It was Pride and Prejudice. I smiled and said something encouraging as she went up to her room. Then I hung my head in shame. Why couldn't she be reading something else? We had a great conversation about The Fountainhead when she had to read it for AP English. Where had I failed in getting her addicted to Science Fiction so we could chat endlessly about my favorite genre?
The final straw was a post on Making Light "Mary Bennet, Vampyre Slayer". An entire post and numerous comments that only those who have read Pride and Prejudice (and several other books I also have not read) would truly understand. All I could think of was, "Who is Mary Bennet?" Fortunately, James Macdonald posted the link to Bibliomania which has a copy of the book online. I was now determined to repair this gaping hole in my English Literature education.
Thus, I can now report, I have finally read Pride and Prejudice. And, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Why didn't I do this sooner? But even better, I get the jokes now.
Completely off topic: Congrats on your first Kos Diary post, Jill!