Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Books I've Never Read - Until Now

Do you sometimes wonder how it is that after spending a lifetime of reading, you have still missed so many great books. And isn't it a pleasure to finally read them.

Snobbery has been on my mind this week, especially with the two extraordinary posts written by the Duchesse and the fact that I just finished reading Evelina by the incomparable and groundbreaking Fanny Burney. (Seriously, what is all the fuss about Jane Austin? Next to Fanny Burney, and Maria Edgeworth, she is a second rate author.)

I don't consider myself to be an anti-intellectual reverse snob, I see myself as much more of an anti-snob. In terms of material goods, I'm the first one to brag about the fact that I almost never pay retail....and why would I when I work in a wholesale business. Sitting with a stylist from CBS who was on her way to pick up a Kevin Hall dress, I was only so happy to tell her that I just bought a Kevin Hall dress for $19.99 at Ross! Whether with clothes, handbags or jewelry, I do appreciate quality, but I'm not going to overpay just to be able to own a status brand that is overpriced to begin with. My self worth isn't tied up in what I own or where I shop, as it is with materially oriented snobs.

About snobbery as it relates to attitudes, I put little stock in what socio-economic class one was born into, and what schools one attended. Like with the characters in Evelina, I've known people from the wealthiest caste who were unbearable boors and lower middle class people who were equally as bad. I've seen serious snobs in action...and walked away amused thinking that they only impressed themselves, their peers and their sycophants, but not me.

One has to belong to an exclusive group to be a snob, say a group like upper echelon private school graduates or country club members or even members of a royal family. One has to be born into, married into or moneyed into those exclusive groups. But membership in such groups only matters if a person wants to included. Fortunately, after spending time around people with real money, new and old, private island-private jet-private bank account kind of money, I've learned to be an unimpressed anti-snob.

What does impress me is education, achievement, taste and character and those attributes can exist with people across class lines. A little humility isn't bad too.

If you haven't read Evelina, I encourage you to. You will see all kinds of snobs and reverse snobs in that book and enjoy it immensely.
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kay said...

I was just saying at work today that I need a good book to read! The students are reading Tuesdays with Morrie, and hearing them talk about the book, made me think that I too needed a good read! Thank you!

Christina Lindsay said...

Thank you for the recommendation. I've ordered a copy from Amazon xx

Belle de Ville said...

Kay and Christina, I think that you will both enjoy this book which is written as a series of letters. It is about 400 pages long and very easy to read.

M.Lane said...

I'm going to read it as I had never heard of this author before.

Also, wonderful commentary on snobbery!


~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Thanks for the book reccie. I've got a long list going. I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to come across a book one hasn't already read.

Miss Cavendish said...

Why does a lit prof not have time to read new books? Oh dear. Love Fanny Burney.

WendyB said...

Jane was a fan of Fanny's -- in the Jane quote I recently posted, she referred to her!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Well, as a fellow anti-snob I will have to check this author out!

Sher said...

I will have to add this to my list :)

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