Have you ever thrown caution to the wind and decided to read a massive book in a very short space of time? Like, say, a 627-page book in three days?
If so, you're not alone.
One Sunday, I decided that I could not pass up the opportunity to discuss my favorite novel with one of my favorite living authors, Katherine Reay. She and a couple other authors direct the "What the Dickens" reading group on Facebook, and Jane Eyre was their latest book to discuss. And the discussion was slated for Wednesday.
So, Sunday evening after supper, I started rereading Jane Eyre. Tuesday night around 10pm, I finished it. It took me 51 hours, but I did it. And then I got to discuss it last night, and that was nifty. But know what was niftier than the discussion?
The experience of inhaling my favorite book, that's what. I am, by nature, a savorer. I want to read things slowly, draw out the experience. I can make a decent-sized book series last for years. I can make a TV series last for decades. I enjoy anticipation, I enjoy savoring... but I've realized (mostly thanks to The Blue Castle) that devouring a book as quickly as possible can also be a joy. A different kind, but just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad.
By the end of this reread, I felt like I had words shooting out of my fingers and toes and the ends of my hair. I had gorged myself on words, and it felt pretty glorious.
I'm going to try to remember this. That reading a book really fast does not mean I will necessarily enjoy it less, it just means I will enjoy it in a different way.
And yeah, I love this book. Sorry that this doesn't say much about what Jane Eyre is actually about. You can read my review from a few years ago for more on that, I guess.
One random thing I noticed this time that I'm not sure I ever have before -- Jane actually likens the third story of Thornfield to "a corridor in some Bluebeard's castle" (p. 145) the first time she visits it. How did I never notice that bit of foreshadowing before?
Also, it brought home to me again that it isn't until Rochester "began to experience remorse, repentance; the wish for reconcilement to my Maker" and "began sometimes to pray: very brief prayers they were, but very sincere" (p. 619) that the "miracle" occurred that carried his voice to Jane's ear over all the land that separated them. Like a benediction that says yes, he is forgiven, and now he and Jane can go on with their lives.
Particularly Good Bits:
"...it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear" (p. 72).
"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs" (p. 75).
"Human beings never enjoy complete happiness in this world. I was not born for a different destiny to the rest of my species: to imagine such a lot befalling me is a fairy tale -- a day-dream" (p. 357).
"Yes; I feel now that I was right when I adhered to principle and law, and scorned and crushed the insane promptings of a frenzied moment. God directed me to a correct choice: I thank His providence for the guidance!" (p. 499).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for scary situations, cruel treatment of a child, and discussions of Rochester's possible fathering of an illegitimate child.