My Austen Rankings – Inspired by Never Not Reading

So in case you don’t know, I’ve pressed pause on the favourite classics list for now, but the whole process of doing that has got me thinking. Especially since there were a ton of books I put on the list and then took off the list- it was a bit of a hokey pokey process 😉 I kept trying to select the absolute best ones by any given author, otherwise it’d just be a never ending list. One of the more difficult ones for me to decide over was Austen because I actually adore 5/6 of her books… so how did I choose between them?! Well, that’s why I thought it might be fun to talk about them all (and yes, I know I’ve talked about the top two recently, but you can never talk about Austen too much!)

This post was inspired by the absolutely lovely Katie @Never Not Reading, who came up with this awesome idea a few months ago and who has the most *incredible*, interesting, thought provoking content. She’s currently on maternity leave (MASSIVE CONGRATS to her and her whole family 😀 ) but that is *no excuse* not to check out her blog- I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Her blog is one of my favourites!!

And of course I loved her post on this! The thing that excites me about everyone’s preferences when it comes to Austen is that no matter who you talk to, no one seems to have the exact same order- which makes it such a fun thing to do! Let’s get to my ranking:

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– ahh it can hardly surprise anyone, given the number of times I’ve cited this as the perfect book 😉 I’m gonna be brief, I’m into everything about this book: the wit, the character growth, the romance- it all makes me swoon 😀 Plus, it’s kinda fitting for this to be my number one since it’s the book that made me fall for Austen in the first place. Although in fairness, depending on my mood, you could switch it out for…

persuasion

Persuasion– yup, there’s loads of times this has been my number one Austen- the romance is so intense in this one! As I’ve mentioned before, the love in this gets me all sappy, because dammit they’re still in love after all this time and ISN’T THAT JUST THE SWEETEST! *Ahem, regains cool*- I also have a great respect for the heroine- she’s kind, without being a total pushover (*cough* like some other characters I will mention… *cough cough*) But yeah, I’ll summarise my feelings about this book thusly: squeeeeeeee!!!

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– *confession*- the first time I read this, I wasn’t especially taken with it (I was a bit young and I don’t think I picked up on the irony) then I got set it as one of my AS texts and just *groans all round*. At least, that was my initial reaction- before I reread it, I picked up Emma and fell in love with that… so much to my surprise, when I reread this I fell in love with it too! Now I adore everything about this book and will happily reread it any time 😀 So moral of the story, I can change my mind about books 😉 (although I can’t think of anything else I’ve drastically changed my mind about since then 😉 )

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– it feels so wrong putting this fourth on the list given how much I love it. I do hover about whether I put this ahead of Pride and Prejudice *all the time*. It’s such a romantic book- and hilarious at the same time! I also think the parodic elements get funnier with every gothic book I read.

sense and sensibility

Sense and Sensibility– again, I really enjoyed this one, so don’t assume I’m putting it at number 5 on the list for any other reason than I like the other ones slightly more. Like Pride and Prejudice, it has strong sisterhood themes and I was definitely into the relationship drama.

mansfield park

Mansfield Park– okay, I’m not going to make any excuses about putting this last- quite simply, it’s the only one I dislike. Fanny’s a drip and the relationship’s incestuous- I actually was rooting for her to end up with the Mr-Wickham-stand-in (is it obvious I’ve not read this in a while?) I am actually tempted to reread it and see if I still hate Fanny just as much (plus I did just go on about giving Pride and Prejudice another chance)… but also really can’t be bothered because there really wasn’t anything I enjoyed about this one- sorry!

What I learnt just then was that ranking Austen is HARD! Honestly the first four often end up in different positions, so this doesn’t even feel definitive. Anyhoo, do you like Austen? What’s your ranking? Let me know in the comments!

128 thoughts on “My Austen Rankings – Inspired by Never Not Reading

  1. It’s true, everyone has different favourite Austen books. Mine are Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (with Emma being way lower … sorry?) but I always love reading about everyone else’s preferences 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mansfield Park is always my bottom pick too. Lol. Incestuous isn’t too far off 😉
    P and P is still my top pick although Persuasion is making its way up my list. I read an article earlier today about reading books at different ages and that maybe you should wait to read some. Persuasion was one example used that ppl may enjoy more when they’re older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I’m glad I’m not the only one 😉 Those are both brilliant! I think that’s a great point- I do think Austen in general is better pitched at slightly older teens at the very least, just because it can be trickier, but I’m certainly not the authority on that, it’s just something I’ve noticed among friends and the like 😉

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  3. Wow, I’d hate to try and rank Jane Austen in order of favourites! To be totally honest, it would probably end up changing on a monthly basis anyway! I do have fond memories though, of my very first serious book debate being with my Mum – she was arguing for Emma and I was arguing for Pride & Prejudice and we were weirdly into it considering I was about fourteen at the time!

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  4. I’ve only read Pride & Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, and I thought that maybe having read Pride & Prejudice first, other Austen novels may not seem as good to me, but you’ve made me at least want to pick up Emma and Persuasion!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have only read Pride and Prejudice so far, I liked it, I didn’t love it but I also read it a long time ago as well. I was planning to move on to Persuasion next. I have hear that Emma is a love or hate book, I have heard both extremes.

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  6. I love this list. I completely agree with your thoughts on Mansfield Park. Fanny’s personality makes it really hard to engage with her and her story. You have also inspired me to give Emma another try, it wasn’t my favourite when I first read it.
    I would love to do a list like this, but I think I need to reread a few of the books first!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to admit the only one I’ve read is Pride and Prejudice plus seen many variations of the movie. I need to read Emma someday considering I watched and loved that movie. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m reading Mansfield Park right now for class and *sigh* it just doesn’t have the magic of the others. I’m the same with all the rest – they’re all so close it’s hard to even imagine deciding which is my favorite! I think I’d put Pride and Prejudice first and then MAYBE Emma? Or maybe Northanger Abbey?? Oh no, this is so tough.

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  9. Persuasion is my number one. Followed closely by Pride and Prejudice. Northanger Abbey is next. (I always get second-hand embarrassment when I reread this book lol). Then it’s Emma. (I find Emma tiresome. Haven’t read it in years, so I should probably reread it. I do love the movie Clueless though lol). Mansfield Park is last. (It really wasn’t her best work).

    What a wonderful post!!

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  10. I’ve always ranked Persuasion and Northanger as my favourites. I think I just find Northanger the lightest and love the MC in Persuasion the most. I would probably put Emma a little lower, I do love it but find the age gap a little ick. More because he was a “family friend” when she was a baby and he was a teenager than the actual age difference.

    I have to confess I have never read Sense and Sensibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough! Those are both so lovely! Fair enough, I know it’s hit and miss with people. Ah I didn’t see it that way I guess, but I can understand your perspective. Fair enough- I think that’s something to look forward to- I think there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy it!

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  11. Pride and prejudice has to be my favourite … that may be partially down to the fact that I can’t read Mr Darcy anymore without thinking about Colin Firth! I love all of the characters; Austen brings them to life so perfectly. Emma has to be my second favourite but it’s such a hard choice! I truly love it so much – Emma may be my favourite character of Austen’s though. I’m yet to read many Austen books, although I’m currently about to start sense and sensibility! X

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  12. I love Austen! Pride and Prejudice is my top book and I think, like you with Emma, it’s the one that made me fall in love with Austen in the first place. I like sense and sensibility but not as much. I have to reread Emma because it is very vague in my memory. I started Northanger Abbey but never finished it, only because other books got in the way.

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  13. I’ve only ever read Pride and Prejudice and I didn’t like it very much. Then again this was in high school and for an assigned reading. I also don’t remember it very much, so I’m definitely planning on giving it another chance! I also really want to read Emma. I hear so many good things about it! I’m glad to hear it’s your favorite!

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  14. Emma is my favorite! And Mansfield Park is definitely my least favorite (I don’t think we’re alone on that one!). Northanger Abbey I haven’t reread in some time, but I don’t remember it having the same pull as P&P or Persuasion. And Emma, of course, is genius. I love the subtle wit. And Mr. Knightley. I love Mr. Knightley. 😀

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  15. OMG YES, I love Jane Austen. I’m an #absoluteJaneite. Have you read Sanditon – it’s technically unfinished but Juliet Shapiro actually wrote the last chapters, and I thought it was really well done!
    So to answer your question:
    1. P&P – it’s my first Austen so it will always have a special place in my heart – plus I just love the character arcs – and this is my original love-to-hate relationship OTP
    2. Emma – probably would be at the top if I read it first. I actually have read this more times than I’ve read P&P and I think P&P just caught up last year. I rarely ever do rereads, in fact I remember only having reread Austen (besides the Bible)
    3. Sanditon – I love the seaside setting
    4. Mansfield Park – Edmund was interesting, I thought
    5. Sense & Sensibility – lower ranking because I was strongly against Colonel Brandon (I think because I watched the movie first where Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) played opposite Kate Winslet (she’ll only ever look good with Leo DiCaprio, haha)
    6. Persuasion – I don’t remember much about it except two lovers getting back together
    7. Northanger Abbey – very gothic, fun but not as romantic

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    1. Awesome- I haven’t read that yet (partly because it’s unfinished- but I do have the complete works, so I will get to it one day- and especially since you put it so high up)
      So fun to read your ranking!! Edmund is cool! And I hear you about Colonel Brandon.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. For the time being, my ranking would be an easy thing to do because I have only read (and very recently) Pride and Prejudice. I really liked that one, although I wasn’t much of a fan of Ms Elizabeth Bennet. I though she was the proudest and most prejudiced character in the book. But still I liked the story and Austen’s ironic writing, so she’s definitely in my tbr list. Next are Sense and Sensibility and Emma.

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      1. Oh, it’s been so long since I last watched “You’ve Got Mail” that I’m totally clueless about Meg Ryan’s words now. But I always wonder when people praise Elizabeth Bennet so much and I think to myself, ‘oh well, perhaps I’m missing something in here.’
        I can agree that she was a female character well ahead of her time being so outspoken but that was not enough for me to like her. And it’s not that I really disliked her for being proud and prejudiced; I think it was more for priding herself on being prejudiced against Darcy (or any other person, for that matter) being proud and prejudiced while being totally oblivious to her being just the same – if that makes any sense 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Perfect sense 🙂
          I always found her hypocritical. She has no problem with Wickham chasing Ms King for a comfortable home, but heaven forbid Charlotte should marry Mr Collins for the same resaon.

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  17. I still need to read the last three on your list, but so far I think I like P&P the best. Emma wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I read it a few years ago so I wonder if my opinion would change at all with a reread…

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  18. I’m not a huge fan of Mansfield Park, but I will say that the scenes about the play they are trying to get up are top-notch Austen. (It’s maybe the only reason why I would re-read the book.)

    However, there are a lot of people (in my experience, professors) who LOVE this book and rank it really high up there. I don’t quite understand that love. And my main reason is the priggishness of Fanny.

    My favourites: Emma/Persuasion (I go back and forth between which one I like better), P&P, S&S, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park.

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  19. *gushes* AW YOU ARE JUST THE SWEETEST!!! Seriously, you just made my day. :*

    Seriously, Anne isn’t a pushover? The whole reason she doesn’t marry Captain Wentworth in the first place is because her friends tell her not to and she’s like, “Okay, whatever you say guys!” Ugh!

    Hey, look at that, we disagree about something! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww you’re welcome!! I’m so glad ❤

      hehe I do get your perspective- I just think she does eventually stop doing what people want as much and that she had her reasons for being convinced- it wasn't so much that she was a pushover. But you're perfectly entitled to think otherwise 😀

      hehe I guess we do 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I recently read Jane Austen: The Secret Radical: http://amzn.to/2pdyylL It argues that we often don’t read Austen in the same way that someone of the early 19th century would have. She makes references and allusions that it’s easy for the casual 21st-century reader to miss. I don’t agree with the author’s analysis of all of the books but she makes an excellent case for Mansfield Park as a political text. I want to reread it through that lens at some point.

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  21. My Austen ranking goes like this – Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Emma & Mansfield Park. I don’t know what it was but I found both Emma and Mansfield Park really difficult to read and like. Actually, they were the only two where I found both main characters to be annoying and lacklustre. Shame really because I really wanted to like all of Jane Austen’s works.

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  22. Great post, I love seeing how other people rate Jane Austen’s books as everyone’s opinions are different. Personally mine would Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Senseability and Mansfield Park. I haven’t read Persuasion all the way through so can’t rate it 💜💜💜

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  23. I… haven’t read any Austen yet. I know, I’m a heathen, but I’m definitely planning on fixing that soon! I’ll probably start with Pride and Prejudice, since that’s the one I own.. We’ll see! Here’s to hoping the time isn’t that far away in the future!
    Great post ❤

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  24. This is such a fun post! I adore 5/6 of Jane Austen’s books too and I wholeheartedly agree that Emma is the best one. Emma has one of the best character arcs in literature and Mr. Knightly is criminally underrated. Don’t even get me started on Mansfield Park, it’s so dull. I’m not sure how I’d ranke the other 4 though, they’re all wonderful.

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  25. Whenever I’m asked, I always say Persuasion – this happens so often I don’t even think of the answer anymore….

    Poor Fanny Price – many literary critics hate her too… I am rather fond of her, but then I suppose I’m quite shy so it’s easy for me to sympathize…

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  26. I kinda wish I liked Jane Austen’s work as much as everyone else since it’s often referred to in other books, plus the book cover designs for her novels are so beautiful. But Pride & Prejudice just didn’t work for me and I’ve been reluctant to try anymore of her work since.

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  27. I was surprised to hear that about the last one! I haven’t read it yet. My problem with JA is that I haven’t read more than two of her books yet (although I love her tone!) and I can never be able to tell which one I’ve read, besides PP (I know, the shame!!) It’s either Emma, or Persuasion, and most likely Persuasion. It’s probably because I haven’t read the other yet xD I should remedy that!

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  28. I haven’t read any of these and I’m probably the only one here in that situation but I am in awe that you’ve read a bunch of the author’s books though hahaha They all sounds brilliant in their own right. Loved reading your thoughts on each though! Great post. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe I can tell you definitively that you are not the only one who responded to this post who hasn’t read any- and I know there are loads of people that haven’t! They really are brilliant in their own right though! Thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I have yet to read Persuasion, but I’ve heard great things about it! It’s my top Jane Austen to read, since I’ve already read the more “famous” ones aka P&P and S&S.

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  30. I am so glad you put Emma so high up on the rankings (though for me to, Persuasion can be #1 depending on my mood) – in my final year of uni I did a 19th century women module for which we of course read LOTS of Austen (probs goes without saying that this was the best class of my degree), and I was horrified to discover that everyone in the class but me hated Emma! I spent that entire semester fighting my girl’s corner.

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