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Alternate Austens

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Jane Austen is everywhere.

She may have died more than 200 years ago, but Jane Austen’s presence can still be felt in popular culture all around us. Some of her stories have found new forms, like Emma as Amy Heckerling’s 1995 teen smash-hit film Clueless, or Helen Fielding’s rework of Pride and Prejudice as Bridget Jones’s Diary. Others live on as stage and radio plays, TV and cinema adaptations, mash-ups, spin-offs and tributes. Her life has been chronicled in biographies, documentaries and biopics. And, of course, her classic novels endure – continuing to inspire and delight new generations of fans (and fanatics). Not bad for the once-upon-a-time anonymous author of six books. To celebrate the transcendental legacy of one of literature’s finest, here are five alternate Austens.

The Jane Austen Book Club 
By Karen Joy Fowler

Five women and one man meet regularly to discuss Jane Austen novels. As the relationship dynamics among the group transform, echoes of Austen’s plotlines and characters emerge.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 
By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Comedy of manners meets blood-soaked zombie apocalypse, as the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel is splattered with added scenes of bone-crunching action. Yup, you read it right.

Miss Austen 
By Gill Hornby

The question of why Cassandra Austen buried her sister’s letters has troubled academics, biographers and Austen fans for decades. In Gill Hornby’s novel Miss Austen, she examines the lives of the Austen sisters to help shed light on one of literature’s great mysteries.

The Jane Austen Rules 
By Sinéad Murphy

What would Jane do? Look closely enough at the women of Jane Austen’s books, and you’ll discover countless tips for finding the right leading man, navigating the ups and downs of courtship, and building a happy, independent life for yourself. In Sinéad Murphy’s guide to modern love, she’s done the homework for you.

Jane in Love 
By Rachel Givney

Ever wondered what might have happened if Jane Austen had chosen love over literary pursuits? In Rachel Givney’s novel Jane in Love, Austen time-travels to the present day and discovers that romance can wreak havoc on one’s career pathways.


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Delve into the loves and lives of Cassandra and Jane Austen with your reading group.