Originally posted June 25, 2011.
Well, I didn’t get to write or read quite as much as I wanted to this week. One of the other Panera employees was on vacation so I had 40 hours of work. Now I know that many many people in this world work 40 hours on a regular basis, but I’m not used to it (nor the sleep schedule that a 5:30 am opening shift requires) so I’m exhausted. Plus, my allergies decided that they wanted to give me a cough and scratchy throat. Sometimes, I’d open my mouth to take a guest’s order and instead I’d start choking. Hopefully three good nights of sleep and two days to rest my voice (if I can actually force myself to stop singing along with the radio and talking all the time …) will get me back to normal.
But in happier news, I did manage to finish Emma this week. It was especially fun because even though I started reading it in the physical book, I finished it on my brand new kindle! I must say, I wasn’t that interested in these digital readers just a few months ago. I like flipping pages and reading from a physical book. I think books hold unique memories of reading experiences and that digital readers don’t have the same personality. Plus books smell good. But when I started thinking about packing for a semester abroad, I realized I would be forced to take a lot less of my favorite books … unless I could store them all on one super skinny, super light electronic device. Now that I’ve started reading on my kindle, I realized a few more pros to reading this way: 1) seeing the little percentage mark go up as you read is even more satisfying than looking at normal page numbers, 2) the screen doesn’t hurt my eyes like computer screens, 3) Amazon offers a LOT of classic literature for free and I mostly read classics.
Anyways, back to Emma. The novel was great. I still think the older characters like Mr. Woodhouse and Mrs. and Miss Bates were the best. Jane Austen can really capture those types of unavoidable, obnoxious people. Also, I love happy endings and Jane Austen definitely delivers on those. Even though you know the girl and the guy will end of happily married at the end, it’s still fun to read through the novel. It shows how important the chase is to romance because Austen’s novels all include long journeys to that happily ever after and they’ve kept women enchanted for centuries. Although I must say, Emma’s ending did not seem as concise as the other novels. In Pride and Prejudice andSense and Sensibility I remember everything wrapping up quickly after the main couple gets together. And yet here the novel continues on for at least three or four more chapters after Knightley and Emma finally declare their love. I wonder why Austen needed more time to lead them to the wedding altar. True, she did have two other main couples to bring into matrimony, but I still feel like it took her too long. I’ve always heard rumors that Emma’s character was closest to the real Jane Austen. Maybe she wanted to give Emma’s future in the novel more attention because Austen knew more about her character and how her future would need to unfold. I guess now that I’ve finished the major novels I should delve into some of Austen’s letters because otherwise my only source on Austen’s real life comes from Becoming Jane and I doubt that an Anne Hathaway/James McAvoy is very accurate …
Next on my reading list is The Trial by Franz Kafka. It’s harder to get into than Jane Austen, but I feel obligated to read something by this influential writer. In about a month I’ll be traveling to Prague with my family. It’s the last stop in our two-week European vacation, one of our last family vacations and a celebration for my sister’s high school graduation. I’m extremely excited to view Van Gogh and Vermeer in Amsterdam and to soak up German culture in Munich and Berlin, but I’m especially excited to visit the Czech Republic. One of my dad’s ancestors was an immigrant to the United States from Czechoslovakia and we have his autobiography. It’ll be cool to go to a place where my last name is common, instead of confusing and unpronounceable like it is here. And then there’s Kafka. I’ve heard that he’s pictured on every street, in every window, of every building. Okay, I’m hoping that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. But when my dad visited Prague on business he got me a Franz Kafka shirt, and even though he knows I love classic literature, I doubt he would have thought to get it for me unless Kafka souvenirs had been readily available. So, being the English major that I am, I want to read up before I journey to the city of Kafka. Hopefully my Bible study, a little easier work week, and a Sunday morning bike ride will motivate me to devote more time to reading and less time to TV-watching this week.