When I moved into my current apartment my friend Laura took on the daunting task of putting away all of my books (she also organized my craft desk and sorted the World's Largest Felt Collection into a rainbow. It was a vision of serenity.) When she was through she pointed out a box and said, "Did you know you have 4 copies of Pride and Prejudice? I pulled them out so you could choose which one you want and give the rest away." And I, naturally, protested but she was pretty insistent so I left them in the box. And then after she left I put them back up on the shelf.
Because I need those copies of Pride and Prejudice. One is the first copy I owned. And another isa beautiful leather bound copy that Cynde gave me. And another has great illustrations. And another is pocket sized and is perfect for toting around in a bag. I have also added to the collection because when I was in Rome I found a copy (in English) and was feeling the need to read it right then. (Plus, I like buying books in places I travel to. I can promise you that when I eventually make it to Florence I will not leave without a copy of A Room With a View. In Paris it will be Les Miserables. In London I will need a whole suitcase for all the Dickens I'm going to buy.) And there's no guarantee that I won't buy more copies. Because what if I find one with an awesome cover? Or an old one in a used book store that has a cool inscription? I can't pass these up. And I'm perfectly okay with being a hoarder of a book that I love.
Truth be told Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. And Northanger Abby was the first of hers that I read (my dad bought it for me on a trip to San Francisco. Guess who also likes to buy books when he travels.) But I think Pride and Prejudice is her sharpest. I think it encapsulates all that we love about her - her wit, her characters, her biting social commentary, her keen eye for the ridiculous, her Mr. Darcy. There's a reason why they keep making movies out of it. It's just a really great story. She nailed it.
So, this was a very long way of saying happy 200th anniversary to Pride and Prejudice. I cannot imagine my life without, friend.