Story Time: Reading Jane Austen’s Emma at Age 5

Welcome to the first of hopefully many story time posts, these posts will reveal my first taste into reading classics and how I discovered them. So for the first ever story time, I will be revealing not my reading claim to fame but something that surprised everyone.

You see, I don’t remember a lot of my younger years. Not a lot of people do. But there is one bookish related memory that sticks out in my mind and that was when my Mum found me reading Emma by Jane Austen in the linen cupboard at the age of just five.

I remember being particularly cold since it was around late autumn time but it was a weekend since both of my parents were at home and I fancied hiding away somewhere small and cosy with my teddies (yes guys, I love collecting teddy bears, cue major cringe) and I had one in the cupboard with me but somehow, little five year old me decided to grab a book.

Growing up in a book loving household, there were literally hundreds of books around (still is) but somehow my little hand grabbed the copy of Emma that my Mum had casually left lying around and off I disappeared.

My eyes lit up at all of the pages, I was used to picture books but had started reading longer fiction at age four and the ‘claim to fame’ telephone directory aged two reading out all of the numbers without hesitation. I still look at the photos from that sometimes, good times.

But after a while, I heard footsteps and suddenly, my Mum opens the linen cupboard door and spots me reading Emma. Of course, she was totally surprised but helped me out of the cupboard to let me know that there was a snack waiting for me downstairs.

I don’t remember anything else from that day but that moment sparked off a love of reading and creating imagery worlds when I started writing my own stories.

Readers, what is your first memory of reading a classic book? It doesn’t have to be a Jane Austen one. Thanks so much for reading, have a great day and see you all soon with a new post!

Alice.

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11 thoughts on “Story Time: Reading Jane Austen’s Emma at Age 5

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  1. My earliest memory of reading, rather than being read to, was when I was in bed with chicken pox. I read What Katy Did, where she fell off the swing, injured her back and had to spend months in bed. I was feeling extremely sorry for myself and identified with her. Yeah, I know, I know – a few itchy spots hardly compares, but in my defence, they were very, very itchy and I was very young – probably around 6 years old, and feeling extremely sorry for myself!

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  2. We have a Victorian edition of Shakespeare’s works. It lived in the study. I was obsessed with it from an early age, and tried to read Romeo and Juliet aged 7. I didn’t retain much of it, but like your experience with Emma, it began with a love of books.

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  3. The book that sparked my eventual zeal for reading was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce when I was ~13 years old. I had read “classics” beforehand, but it was always the dry, stilted kind of classic that I now enjoy but which, as a child, bored me to tears. And now here was a book that not only eschewed typical modes of story-telling (e.g. in its use of evolving language as the protagonist develops), but also dealt with complex themes of self-discovery and a desire to create in a language all your own — themes I had felt in myself but never had the words to express. Boy did Joyce find those words…

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