6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2011
~Elegant cover design (in my favourite colour).
~Is hardy and wont damage easily, will look pristine for years.
~Has a in-built bookmark.
~Gives a history of Jane Austen (including chronology an a section called 'The Penguin Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen'.
~Gives a short history of Penguin Classics.
~Has all the really useful notes on the text in the back, and gives all the 'Emendations to the Text' in the back also.
~Would be really useful to have two in-built bookmarks: one for the text and one for the notes in the back, to save time flicking through the notes constantly.
People looking to buy this book will most likely fall into one of two categories; those that have read Emma before, love it, and want a binding of the book that will last forever, and those that have never read Emma, always wanted to, and loved the look of the cover on this version. For those that have read the book you will be happy to hear that I will not be doing a long review of the story, as this would read much like an English Lit. essay, and that is not why you are reading this. For those that have never read the book, all I can say is that you will not be disappointed if you are familiar with reading books from this period.
The key thing that sets this book apart from the others is surely the binding. It really is beautifully done, and is of a very high standard, well worth the extra £5 on other paperback editions. If you are like me, and have to keep your books looking pristine (by not bending the spine on paperbacks) then it will be a relief to know that its almost impossible to make this book look bashed. Unless you get water on it. Don't put it in your handbag with a leaky flask like I did, as it will be watermarked. The little chair design by Coralie Bickford-Smith is superb, and looks brilliant on my bookshelf, much better than the plain looking black spines of the other penguin bindings. The paper is also of a very high gsm compared with cheaper versions so is less likely to spoil also. My only worry is that the cover may fade in sunlight, so I have put mine on a bookshelf I have in my hallway (where there is no windows, and so no damaging sunlight).
The introduction and notes are by Fiona Stafford and are interesting to read once you have read through the book. I guess these notes and introduction would be very useful for people reading this book for academic purposes.
You will be putting this book in your will, it will last that long no matter how many times you read it!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2009
Please, if you have never read Emma, please do judge this book by any film or TV adaptation you may have seen. The classic mistake of adaptors is to squeeze out a plot where there is none, trying to turn it into another Pride and Prejudice. (I love P & P, but Emma is better.)
This novel is about characters and is a wickedly funny observation of the society, the manners and the daily lives of the early 19th century. It sparkles with humour.
This is a truly great book that does not give up all its secrets at the first (or even the tenth reading.) Nothing happens in Emma, everything happens in Emma.
Read, savour, re-read.
(Who am I to praise the great Jane?. Unworthy. I will just genuflect and go.)
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2012
Yes, I know this is free so you can't expect much from a free book but why can't we have the full text? This is my favourite classic and I was looking forward to reading the e-version but feel I have been cheated. One of my reasons for getting a Kindle was the promise of free classics and now I'm finding it be a promise with hidden terms and conditions.
I'm sure this version is great for someone who has not read the book but many of us have. I knew by the first page something was missing from this version. Just be careful which edition you download!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2011
Five stars seems inadequate for this absolute gem. I have read it at least six times and I have listened to the BBC audio tape more times than I can count and there is always another layer, another turn of phrase I hadn't noticed. If I have had a stressful day a few chapters of this masterpiece transfers me immediately to the nineteenth century and at once I am involved again in Hartfield life.
There is not a character out of place, it has a wonderful sense of time and place and the reader is beguiled by Emma even though it has to be said she is snobbish, interfering and judgmental. Emma is blind to her destiny though a careful reader will see it signaled from the earliest chapters. In some senses, besides being both a romance and a social commentary it is an intriguing puzzle, It sparkles with wit, I love the passage where Mr John Knightley is reluctantly going out to dinner and his fears for the dullness of the evening are timeless.. who has not thought that way about an evening out, even now?
In my opinion this is Jane Austen's finest work by far, outstripping the more popular Pride and Prejudice by a mile. If you are new to Jane Austen, or indeed to nineteenth century literature, I recommend you start here. If you were force fed it at school and it was perhaps poorly taught please try it again now
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2007
This novel - after a little adjustment to the style of writing if not accustomed to Austen - makes a marvellous read ! Emma is feisty, warm, witty and mischievous - but not without fault. One finds oneself caught up in the characterisation of Emma and quickly realise that the themes of pride, perception and prejudice ( Austen's speciality ) run throughout.
The reader really is only meant to see events from Emma's point of view - she is the heroine afterall. Her personality carries this novel - she is amusing, clever and inspiring - she has a good nature, is not too egotistical and is willing to learn from her mistakes.
My fave Jane Austen novel - with bouncy, flowing dialogue, an interesting main character and clever subversive story that does not reveal too much all at once, but allows the reader to indulge in the interraction of characters.
66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2004
I had the terrible misfortune to go to a school that insisted on making us read the most miserable old books for our English courses. For years afterwards I suffered under the assumption that anything labelled as a "classic" was certain to be grim and impenetrable, and I stuck to reading relatively modern novels.
I bless the day when I wrestled with my prejudice and picked up a friend's anthology of Austen's novels. I had heard plenty about Austen's "social observation" before. It's an unfortunate phrase, because it suggested to me that her writing would be interesting but a bit dry and academic. Not a bit of it.
All of the Austen novels I've read so far have been good, but Pride and Prejudice is head and shoulders above the rest and ranks as one of the most entertaining books I have ever read. The characters are fabulously drawn, from the odious Mr Collins and the vacuous Lydia to the blithe Mr Bingley and the truly heroic Lizzie Bennett. The book is wonderfully constructed, going through what seems to be fairly straightforward plot development before Mr Darcy's proposal puts the main protagonists through a second half full of suspense and heart-felt self-criticism. Austen's writing is clear, concise, full of acute observations and coloured with a wonderful sense of humour.
While the whole book is extremely satisfying, it is Lizzie who steals the show. Much has been made of Mr Darcy's sex appeal, but most red-blooded men would find hard to deny that Miss Bennett is a deeply fascinating and attractive woman. She is fabulous throughout, and the story is peppered with moments where she delivers some truly marvelous dialogue, not least her reaction to Mr Darcy's proposal and her interview with Lady Catherine (which almost had me cheering out loud on the train into work). Strong-willed, intelligent, good-looking and cool under pressure; what a woman.
A fabulous book. How I wish I had read it years ago.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2011
I never really imagined myself to be a potential Jane Austen fan as I normally read sci-fi, fantasy and historical novels but once I read Pride and Prejudice I could not help but speed through the rest of her works in pretty quick succession. Austen has an amazing talent for writing about the most mundane every day events in a most interesting and entertaining way. Gossip about people whom one does not know (which is essentially what her books are!) should by all rights be incredibly boring, but then Austen depicts her characters so well that you feel that you do know them. She does not do this so well in any other work as she does in Emma.
Emma is a character who is very easy to relate to, in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact that she is so flawed. Jane Austen referred to Emma as 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like' but how wrong she was. In spite of all her flaws Emma is very likeable indeed. She is highly intelligent and can actually be very shrewd in picking up some social cues.. the audience's entertainment is in the manner in which she misinterprets them! Her main redeeming feature is in the fact that she doesn't realise her own faults, but once she does, she is utterly sorry for them.
Emma is snobbish, her understanding of the events around her is imperfect and she takes a pleasure in interfering in the lives of others. Moreover she is selfish, vain about her intellect and standing in the community and has a tendency to look down her nose at people who do not posess the same qualities she believes herself to have. Poor Emma does not see it this way at all, she is unaware of her own flaws - aren't we all? and it all comes back to bite her in the backside in the end when she not only causes her friend to suffer but also causes her to adopt some of Emma's own negative personality traits which is perhaps one of the key reasons for Emma's epiphany about just how ugly those traits are and just how badly she has behaved. But then, Emma is only 17, and what 17 year old does not make these mistakes? The concept of a teenager may not have existed back in 1815, but teenage behaviour clearly did!
The main amusement for the reader is in seeing things from Emma's perspective but then also seeing it from a perspective that Emma cannot (ie the truth of the situation!) and picking up the clues that Emma misses or misinterprets. It is an entertaining, easy and funny read which I highly reccomend.
93 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2011
I first bought this book in its Kindle version a week ago. To be honest, I wasn't really that keen on it. I was only persuaded to read it because I was new to the Kindle and didn't yet have a lot of books to read on it. I expected it to be tedious. I didn't find the title promising, for one thing. And for another, I had an not entirely unreasonable feeling that, since this is rather an old book, it would contain really hard language and strange words. I started off the first couple of chapters with an ill grace, but soon I was captivated by Jane Austen's excellently woven plot about family and relationships. I simply couldn't stop reading, and I was so absorbed in it that I lost track of the time. It is now my most favorite book, which is actually quite surprising because I had never imagined that anything could beat the Harry Potter novels. Also, the Kindle format is very good, with an active table of contents and everything.
The rough outline of the story is about high-ranking Mr. Darcy, who has a massive amount of wealth and middle-class Elizabeth Bennett, who has a determined prejudice against Mr. Darcy because of his pride. As the passion between them grows,it becomes more and more unlikely of their being united. I also really like the way it is all so realistic and makes you believe every word of the book. I won't go into the plot to spoil the surprise.
I've really enjoyed this book...more than anything that I have ever read before, and I hope you will read and enjoy it too. I really recommend this book to anyone over ten years of age. It is a great read... Unmissable!!
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2003
elizabeth Bennet is a wilful, head strong girl, and when she first meets Mr Darcy she thinks him to be an arrogant, conceited man who dislikes her as much as she does him. when she later discovers that darcy has involved himself in the love affair of her sister jane and mr bingley, and the awful treatment of her newly discovered friend mr wickham, she is determined to hate him even more.
the story that follows is a delightfully funny and well observed tale of the dating game. and Austen's wonderful way of writing characters and there behaviour is absolutely captivating, before you know it you're drawn in to the story, willing Mr darcy and lizzie to realise how they truly feel!
for a casual reader who has not got the time to listen to the entire thing, i would recommend this as it runs at a quite comfortable 5 3/4 hours on 6 CD's. Joanna David's lovely honey voice carries you through and it draws you in, her voicing of Mrs Bennet is especially good.
however i would not recommend this for students as the book is abridged on these CD's, though the editing is done skilfully and the story lines carried nicely through the bits that are left out.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I only have limited shelf space and now I have a Kindle I try to balance what I buy for the shelves vs. what I keep on the Kindle.
When I saw and then touched this paperback edition of Jane Austen I was instantly smitten. My existing copies are getting old and crumbly. These have pretty covers with an interesting feel, the printed pages are decent quality with a nice sized font. I bought all 6 Austens: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
If you haven't read Jane Austen, she died in 1817 and was writing during the Napoleonic Wars, an amazing time of exploration, scientific advance and a huge expansion of trade of which she mentions hardly anything. Just occasionally how 'officers' are turning young women's heads.
It is also a time when legally women have very little money of their own and little opportunity for well paid employment and the only way for a woman to have the opportunity to express herself is from the security of marriage - ideally but not necessarily 'happy' marriage.
Pride and Prejudice and most of the rest of Jane's books follow one or more young women with nothing much but their personalities to support them manage to find love and happiness.