By Jane Austen,

Book cover of Emma

Book description

'Her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Although described by Jane Austen as a character 'whom no one but myself will much like', the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked Emma as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Jane Austen would have made such a great therapist! Her razor-sharp observations, combined with profound insights into people and relationships, make this book an all-time favorite of mine. I love her descriptions of falling in (and out of) love and how fallible each of her characters is, reminding us of our humanity–especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What also strikes me is how true it is that pride, image, and status can still play out in our more modern relationships today. This book feels very old-fashioned in places, but it warns us how easily we can hurt…

From Charisse's list on how to create a great relationship.

I believe that Jane Austen’s novels continue to be massively popular largely because she possessed a talent for creating uniquely authentic and complex female heroines, and never more so than in Emma.

Austen famously said of Emma that she would be “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” From the opening line of the novel, we are set up to dislike this “handsome, clever, and rich” heroine.

Nevertheless, over the course of the novel we fall in love with Emma because despite her worst qualities—spoilt, headstrong, self-important—she is also smart, loyal, affectionate, and honest.

Against Austen’s…

Of Jane Austen’s six completed novels, only Emma made me interrupt my reading numerous times to thump my head with the heel of my hand and groan “Oh, Emma, no!” Emma Woodhouse is a contradiction: a spoiled, well-intentioned, bright, unobservant, sometimes ridiculous, shockingly thoughtless, and yet often attractive young woman. I can’t say I loved her, but she was terrifically entertaining. For its sharp-eyed, diverting take on people and society and for the vivid and wonderful creation of Emma Woodhouse, a young woman so wrong and still so endearingly right, Emma is my favorite of Austen’s novels. I’ve read it…

I love a comedy about a young woman who becomes a better person and realizes her boyfriend is the cute guy who’s always hanging around. Emma thinks she knows what everyone else needs to do, but (spoiler) she needs to figure herself out first. Her surprising inner shift makes this one of my favorite Jane Austen novels.

I recommend Austen’s Emma because of the sensational complexity of the plot, the little clues scattered throughout the novel, the brilliance of the characterization (Mrs. Elton, Miss Bates). It isn’t strictly a romance, but there is great feeling in it – and unrivalled skill. It’s probably the most approachable “masterpiece” ever written!

Emma, by Jane Austen, is the book for lovers of classic literature and I had to include it here because Austen seems to grasp human nature so intuitively. Emma tries to take charge of her own life and of others’ lives, with good-intended but misguided interference. The need for her efforts to control is revealed as she copes affectionately with her anxiety-ridden father and her sister, as well as her society’s mores about suitable mates, all of which are trying to keep her restrained. Emma’s joy and interest in life and, ultimately, her resilience, lead her to let go…

From Margaret's list on to get what it is like to be anxious.

A very close third is Emma, often called the world’s first detective novel. The title heroine is a terrible matchmaker and unintentional detective, constantly sifting through social cues and clues in an effort to manipulate her environment and those in it. Emma also brilliantly mirrors the human capacity for cluelessness in us all: in fact, it personally took me at least two dozen immersive reads to finally detect one of its most critical clues to what the heck is really going on. But most of all, Emma is a hilarious, thought-provoking study in community and the moral obligation we…

From Natalie's list on by Jane Austen.

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