Sense and sensibility (by Jane Austen) – then and now

    Money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.

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    Sense and sensibility. I read this book slowly. I savored every chapter, every page and sentence. I got lost in words, salons and gossip. Small talk was very popular back then! Women were talking. Men, well… they just were.

    I liked this book even though, a few days after reading it, the magic disappeared and the only things that remained were the gossip, the unusual eagerness for wealth and the image of some well-raised girls who preferred to suffer secretly, rather than speak out and hurt their loved ones.

    Although there is a lot of shallowness in this story, the way Austen tells it is wonderful. She manages to make you love her writing even when you hate the characters. She has a special talent at drawing them – if you’ve read at least one of her books, you know what I mean. I love the way she creates her characters from dialogue. You know a character by the way he/she talks, by how their discourse flows. After one or two lines, you know for sure what character is hysterical or insipid, precious or introverted.

    Beyond the characters’ state of being, there were their activities. All the reading, singing or painting made me wonder: wouldn’t it be nice if I lived then and there?

    Yes, I thought about what it would have been like to live back then, spending my time reading, and drawing, and writing – all these activities that I like and that make me feel free. It would have been wonderful, for sure. But there were some shortcomings, too. Aside from the lack of Internet, telephone or other instruments that we are now addicted to, there was also a constant need to have a secure income, a good financial status for a decent living. Also – the gossip, the arranged marriages, the primitive medicine and the many prejudices affecting everyday life. The balance hangs for sure towards our times.

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    I read the book on the tram, a few pages every day, always on the run. In those days, I could just go to the library for a few hours and read a book in one breath, just to kill my time. Today, time flies away so fast! We live our life on fast forward, weaving it with those of the characters we read about in books – dozens of them. And we live all of them in parallel, more intensely through our favorite characters’ happy moments, and sad moments, although we often feel like we don’t live at all.

    I love Jane Austen’s books, they have a certain warmth, a softness that I cannot describe. You must read them all. After reading each book, you’ll find yourself happier, you’ll appreciate the rain and the sun more, but also the music and all the small things that we’re so used to ignore: one pretty flower, that bird singing outside the window, a child laughing in the street… Jane Austen made me see the short way to happiness, and I invite you to discover it, too!


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    Andres is working in the publishing industry and is the co-founder of She believes that everything happens for a reason. She has published a book and also writes on her own blog, As a contributor for theUrbanDiva, Andres will guide you through the fabulous world of books, those books that make you dream and smile. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter

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