I finished Sense and Sensibility a couple of nights ago and as I read it, I was again reminded of the apparently endless rounds of visiting, of playing cards with people who may or may not appeal to you, and the necessary sitting around. Austen is always critical of the social standards and has her protagonists be more active -- or at least more active within the constraints of their culture. Those women are readers or artists (but only in that upper middle class way -- never "real" artists) or wits.
I mostly bring this up to point to a particular passage about Elinor and Marianne's stay in London and their endless visits with the Steeles and the Middletons:
Though nothing could be more polite than Lady Middleton's behaviour to Elinor and Marianne, she did not really like them at all. Because they neither flattered herself nor her children, she could not believe them good-natured; and because they were fond of reading, she fancied them satirical: perhaps without exactly knowing what it was to be satirical; but that did not signify. It was censure in common use, and easily given
Lady Middleton is -- of course -- a bit dim in Austen's account and a bit boring. The problem for her seems to be that Elinor and Marianne aren't actually bored -- they read. They do things to occupy themselves, rather than simply flatter the people around them.
Reading is so often suspect in the novels -- but those who read are generally rewarded.
Oh well, I suppose there are lots of people who must think that what I do is boring -- I like to read and then to talk about it.