#1. The dreamy and perfectly paced… Pride and Prejudice!
You knew this was coming, didn’t you?
Yes, this is a really mainstream choice and if I wanted to be taken seriously as a literary person I would have picked Emma as my number one. But I HAD to listen to my heart. I had to! That’s what this book taught me, after all. Besides, it’s the only Austen book that has everything, as far as my character test is concerned: 1) fond memories, 2) fantastic character dynamics, and 3) a ship that keeps on sailing. (Make that two ships, because I love Jane and Bingley!)
Here’s a summary, in case you need it: the wealthy (and single!) Charles Bingley comes to town which excites all the moms with unmarried daughters, including Mrs. Bennet, who has five. There’s a ball. Sparks fly, as do insults. Bingley falls in love with Jane, the rakish (but rude) Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth… and things, as they often do, get complicated. Hearts are broken, proposals refused, and reputations nearly ruined. But the ending is happy, as is the Austen way.
Really, it’s a glorious, witty story about getting over excessive pride and unfounded prejudices, and its enduring popularity simply proves my point: that it is, without question, the best Austen book of them all.