Why You Should Read Jane Austen (and Everyone Else)


brent waggoner

ImageI have a confession to make: I am sexist.

Not that I’ve been paying my female employees less or expecting my wife to wash my feet every night, but… actually, let’s put it another way: I’m sexist when it comes to art.

I began having this realization two years ago, when I finally got around to reading Jane Austen. In my mind, her novels were about women chasing after men or vice versa, storylines whose protagonists could be replaced with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl without compromising their integrity. Imagine my surprise, upon reading them, to find novels that were as sparkling, clever, and poignant as any other classic I’d read. I felt pretty good about myself.

Fast forward to now. I’ve read over 300 books since 2007, and, by my count, less than 25 were novels by women. Of those 25, approximately half were Young Adult books and 2…

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