Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - and just reached the point at which Elizabeth is struggling to come to terms with Charlotte's engagement to Mr Collins. Elizabeth wants to marry for love but Charlotte is content to settle for her own home. Both have a similar amount of money behind them - i.e. not much - but Elizabeth is pretty. Have things changed? Looks are still - apparently - just as important but does money matter as much? There is a different attitude to it now I think. Women looking to marry a fortune were as common as men looking to do the same thing at the beginning of the 19th century - and gold digging was not a concept which would have meant very much as marrying money was considered no more than common sense, whether you were male or female. Interesting times.
Nicola Barker's Burley Cross Postbox Theft is a revival of the epistolary form in novel writing. I do like the form but I'm not sure about this book. It is amusing but the letters are too long I think. 26 letters are stolen from a post box in the village and found in a bag in an alley. They are handed over to a local policeman whose job it is to try and find out who broke into the post box. The letters reveal the usual cross section of oddities and feuds which might be expected in a village and some are funny. There's a bit too much lavatorial humour for my taste; one 'letter' is a transcript of a tape made by someone sitting on a loo - complete with 'sound' effects; another is about dog poo - several pages - and the same subject appears in another letter. I'll reserve judgement until I've finished it but at the moment I'm having trouble keeping the characters straight in my mind.