Having trudged my way through Peter de Vries’ Slouching towards Kalamazoo (de Vries not for me, I’ve decided, though I can see why he might be for others) and having nothing much on the list, I’ve relaxed once more into the arms of Miss Austen and am re-reading Persuasion for the, what, fifth or sixth time? The reason why she’s the second best of all English writers is that, as with Mr S., one can go back to her again and again and always find new nuances and insights and delights. I guess that Persuasion and Northanger are the two slightest among her mature novels, and Northanger only has a few good scenes and two or three good characters (including of course the great conversation about novel-reading). Persuasion however is always a delight to return to – the characters of the sisters so delightfully, wickedly done, and the slow confirmation of the turn plot surely everyone on a first reading must foresee – and the great success of the book, among others, is that that doesn’t matter. High five, Miss A.