You’ve Read ALL THE AUSTEN. Now What?

January 13, 2015 Idiosyncratic Lit List 31

Salutations, Bookworms!

Let’s talk about Jane Austen. I love her to pieces, but she only wrote six novels and a handful of short stories. Six novels! What is one to do once one has finished ALL THE AUSTEN? I have good news for you, my fellow Austen-ites. There are a lot of other Austen nerds. Austen nerds who have written Austen-inspired books. I made a list for you. You can thank me later.


1. Longbourn by Jo Baker (review): This book might be my favorite on the list. It’s essentially Pride and Prejudice, from a servant’s perspective. I saw Jo Baker speak about the book (and she was SO NICE!) and she said that you could read Pride and Prejudice and Longbourn together and basically follow a character out of a room from Pride and Prejudice and see what they do below stairs in Longbourn. It’s a fantastic book, I can’t recommend it enough.

2. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler: This book isn’t among my favorites ever, but if you’re in the right mood for it, it can be fun. It’s basically a Freaky Friday scenario in which a modern woman who is obsessed with Jane Austen switches brains with a woman from Regency England. My favorite bit about this book was when the narrator discusses how dang stinky everyone is in the absence of deodorant and indoor plumbing. Details like that take some of the romance out of my daydreams and make me happy to live in the here and now.

3. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler: A group of people form a club specifically to read all Jane Austen’s novels. How much fun would that be?! The book is a look at those in the club, but there’s obviously a good dose of Austen-licious-ness, so you know it’s a good time. Plus, one of the club members (a dude, no less) goes the extra mile and reads The Mysteries of Udolpho. I can just imagine Catherine Moreland clapping her hands with glee at the thought!


4. First Impressions by Charlie Lovett (review): For those who love stories that tackle the origin of books, this is a big winner. This book gives a double dose of book nerd glory with a glimpse into the world of rare books AND an imagining of Jane Austen’s inspiration and writing process. Really, though. Can you imagine writing an entire novel with a quill? That seems like a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe THAT is why we only got six novels.

5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (review): Okay, I’ll admit, there are a lot of hardcore Austen fans who will balk at this one, but hear me out. This book is Jane Austen repackaged in a fun, modern light. With zombies. But the Bennet sisters are total badasses! I love those girls, truly I do, but it’s refreshing to see them doing something other than waiting around for suitors to call. Even if that something is extermination of the undead.

6. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H Winters (review): You guys, I loved this book. Even more than Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesIt’s STEAMPUNK Jane Austen. And Colonel Brandon has a squid face. Purists probably hate this one as well, but I implore you, my bookworms, to give it a shot. Such fun!

Alright, Bookworms, I know there are oodles more Jane Austen offshoots out there. Anybody have a favorite? (I promise I won’t judge you if you love any of the Darcy-Lizzie sequels that include the scandalous bits.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use it to purchase shoe roses and tea cups, obviously.*

31 Responses to “You’ve Read ALL THE AUSTEN. Now What?”

  1. bhalsop

    Sarah Waldock has written a number of lovely whodunits, the first of which is Jane and The Bow Street Runner. The Jane is of course the poor Jane who is engaged to Frank, the son of Emma’s neighbors. You will see many of your favorite characters from Emma in this book and others that follow. Since Sarah is particularly historically adept, there is not a wrong note in the books.

  2. Megan M.

    I haven’t read any of these! But I haven’t read all the Austen either. (Don’t tell!) Longbourn sounds like it would appeal to me because Downton Abbey. I may check that one out.

    • Words For Worms

      Oh yes, the Downton Abbey crowd would love Longbourn, though it helps to have read P&P. Most people have read that one even if they haven’t read the rest, so you’re probably good.

  3. LuAnn Braley

    I enjoy books that build off of something I’ve read before, so these seem right up my alley.

    Your comments on the P P and Zombies book reminds me of a Shakespeare play I saw performed once in 1940’s mobster-style. At one part, one character addresses the audience and asks if they are upset by it not being performed in traditional style and then proceeds to lower his trousers, revealing a doublet and hose. Funnies dang thing I ever saw!

  4. Kerri

    Great list- I really enjoyed First Impressions. I have read all of her novels- except for Sandition-which is on my list.

  5. Laurie

    Not a novel, but I just got this Jane Austen journal and I’m loving it–

  6. Lost in Literature 108

    One of the books on my TBR is Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Raey. It’s a Foodie and Austen reference combo.

  7. Marisa

    LOVE this post! Huge Austen fan here that needs to read Longbourn and First Impressions. Not sure if I’m ready for Steampunk Jane. 🙂

  8. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Can I stray a bit from the intended topic and once again sing the praises of my beloved Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It’s the most charming webseries that ever graced the internet, and every time I watch it, I fall down a total rabbit hole and end up watching 25 episodes in a row.

  9. AMB

    Thanks for the list, Katie! I really liked the movie version of The Jane Austen Book Club, but I’ve never read the book.

  10. Christine @ Moonlight Reader

    Somehow I missed this post, but I’m going to jump in anyway! I’ve just finished Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, and I highly recommend it to Austen lovers. It is a bit of a flip flop – in N&S, it is the female protagonist – Margaret – who is the social snob vis a vis the more working class, less gentlemanlike John Thornton.

    If you doubt me, then I tell you to run, don’t walk, to watch the N&S mini-series starring the amazing and smoldering Richard Armitage as Thornton. Be sure and watch it during the winter, because in the summer you will combust from the unbearable hotness of Thornton.

    Once you finish the mini-series, read the book. It’s lovely.

  11. Laura

    I enjoyed “Longbourn” too. Also, “All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane” was good. It’s more of a memoir than a novel, though.

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