My wife and I caught the last half hour of the movie Sense and Sensibility on television Saturday night. We made a point of trying to watch the beginning on Sunday before church, but had to leave before we got to the point we started with on Saturday.
After church I suggested that I read the story to her. "You have Sense and Sensibility, I thought you only had Pride and Prejudice" was her reply. I assured her that I had the complete works of Jane Austen and could easily read the story to her if she didn't mind.
Please bear in mind that typically I read bed-time stories to my wife and she promptly falls asleep. I must have a relaxing quality to my reading voice because this has happened to others I read to as well. However, whenever I tried reading Pride and Prejudice to her she says that she can't sleep, so I figured that I could get away with reading Sense and Sensibility to her without fear of her falling asleep.
I know that many of us learn to read aloud, and that when you write you should write so that it can be read aloud easily. I don't know if it is because of the way Jane writes, or if it is because I am reading it cold— but I was tripping over many words and did not have a very good rhythm. Still the same, around the middle of the third chapter I noticed my wife is asleep so I stop. She wakes up realizing that she had fallen asleep and asks where I was. I back up a paragraph and she comments "what… you're only on the third chapter— you haven't even gotten past the opening credits of the movie yet".
We then sat there and discussed Jane's writing style. My wife feels that she tends to have a lot of narrative and wonders how anybody could pull a movie script from all those words. I tend to think that Jane uses a lot of big words. This could be that she is trying to convey the mood of being proper, but I think it just sounds like she's trying to show off.
I don't know how many of you have had to read certain authors and struggled. My guess is that this is one of them. If trying to read it aloud is any indication as to the difficulty, it makes me curious as to how it got to be such a popular piece of literature.