In 2005 she named her five favorite novels for the Wall Street Journal.
One title on the list:
"Emma" by Jane Austen (1816).Read about the other four novels on the list.
Before the injunctions "Be yourself" and "Express yourself" inspired so much bad behavior and art, sophisticated novelists were examining the social selves we invent, as indeed we must to face the world. Little Miss Do-Gooder, the unlikely heroine of this novel, exhibits the philanthropist's fatal flaw of acting on theory rather than on observation. Most impressively, that sly Miss Austen manages to engage our sympathies for a Georgian version of Paris Hilton whose motto is Everyone Wants to Be Me. The faults of Elizabeth Bennet of "Pride and Prejudice" and Marianne Dashwood of "Sense and Sensibility" are merely taking laudable traits--self-respect and romantic passion, respectively--to excess. But Emma Woodhouse is a rich, spoiled young busybody who imagines that everyone aspires to her lifestyle and that she is conferring the greatest of favors by bossing others around. So why do we ache to see her happily married to that nice, innocent gentleman?