Thinking I had mustered the courage to simply pay for the magazine & get back to food shopping, I had to wait for a clerk. And sitting right by the checkout was a display of classics. Among them was the one book I've always been ashamed to have never read, English degree and all: Pride & Prejudice. *Gasp* A hush falls over the book blogging community. I'll wait while you catch your breath and think "My God, how has she lived till now?"
It was a simple paperback edition for only $5. It was a no-brainer. The manager of the store, who (whom? I always mix them up) I've known since I was 8 years old, spotted my choice & asked me to wait a minute. At first, I wasn't sure if she was talking to me. Then I pieced together something else she had said: "That's my favourite book." Bingo.
She returns to me with a beautiful hardcover Prospero Books edition with the same pricetag. After I comment on the gorgeous cover picture (a sketch of Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy that would look amazing in a charcoal print) and regal colours, she clinched the sale by pointing out the matching purple ribbon bookmark that comes from the top of the spine. That sold it.
Admitting that an English degree holder and teacher has not read P&P was tough to spit out, but I said as much and justified it this way, which I still think is a fine line:
"At least I will get to experience reading it for the first time."
How many people can say that? Being new to a beloved book is like joining a culture: at first it can be scary, foreign, uncertain, but soon you find yourself immersed in it, savouring it, and believing that you are all the better for experiencing it. A romantic notion, but one that I fully trust in bringing a worthy, long-wished-for reading experience.
Has anyone else experienced an already much beloved book for the first time with such hope for it?