Just a reminder that the ideal holiday present for every discriminating palate on your gift list does in fact exist. And you can get it by overnight delivery, so I don't even feel bad about taking this long to remind you.
What I will remind you of are some representative passages from its pages:
"Here are a few things you won’t find in Sense and Sensibility: a passionate kiss or a violent embrace...a kiss or embrace of any kind, for that matter...any portrayal of a marriage proposal...any depiction of a wedding ceremony...anyone speaking the words 'I love you.' Here are a few things you WILL find in Sense and Sensibility: ruthlessness...venality...arrogance...avarice...fecklessness... snobbishness...shamelessness... two or three of the most unbridled talkers in all of western literature...and an authorial voice that merrily mocks them all into immortality."
"Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I laugh. It’s the laughter of philosophy; the clear, cold laughter of those who reside in the abyss but are untouched by its sweat-soaked, writhing tumult. We laugh, because Austen lifts us above the fray and nimbly escorts us to a farther shore, where there are kindred spirits waiting. We can’t stay there long; but we can return whenever we like...again, and again, and again, and again."
"I’ve conjectured long and hard about why Austen wrote Mansfield Park; but whatever the reason, the good news is, she learned from the endeavor...and she shows as much in her next novel, which is basically Mansfield Park turned on its head. Its heroine, Emma Woodhouse, is a revisionist Mary Crawford—a sly, feline charmer who’s quick to judgment and carelessly glib, and who is made to pay for it; but this time, crucially, she’s forgiven. Her rival, Jane Fairfax, is a new incarnation of Fanny Price—chilly, impenetrable, aloof; and like Fanny, her imperturbable stillness wins her her man in the end. But in this case it’s exactly the right man for her: Frank Churchill, a second Henry Crawford, whose wily roguishness will force her to enlarge her own capacity for understanding; as her quiet determination will galvanize his. Because of this ingenious inversion, Emma scintillates where Mansfield Park stalls out; Emma delights where Mansfield Park frustrates; and Emma is beloved, where Mansfield Park, despite its many brilliant facets and enduring moments, seems fated to remain only tolerated."
Go on then...share the love. You'll be glad you did.