The 5 Silliest Books Inspired by Jane Austen


There’s no denying it: people love Jane Austen. Her works frequently occupy the top spots in favorite book polls, Hollywood can’t seem to stop making films out of them, and, well, the Austen paraphernalia industry is probably unparalleled, at least in the literary world. This week, we heard about yet another novelty Austen-based book, this one rather more ridiculous than usual: Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift: An Independent Woman’s Advice on Living within One’s Means, and thought we’d take a look at a few of the many books based on the writer and her work. After the jump, the silliest of the lot.

Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift: An Independent Woman’s Advice on Living within One’s Means, Kathleen Anderson and Susan Jones

From the publisher: “Embrace your inner Jane and find a new way of life in thrift! Jane Austen knew that wealth and grandeur had little to do with happiness, and that fashionable new dresses and reticules to impress Mr. Darcy simply were not the path to fulfillment — especially when one accrues debt in the process. It’s as true today as it was then… Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift shows how to make your circumstances significantly less reduced, and how to live a life of elegent [sic] economy and joyful generosity — whether you’ve as much as Emma Woodhouse or as little as Miss Bates.” This seems sort of apropos of nothing to us, but all right.

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After , Elizabeth Kantor

Sigh. Consider this book as a stand-in for all of the myriad Jane Austen-brand volumes of romantic advice. According to this book’s publisher, “Women today are settling for less than we want when it comes to men, relationships, sex, and marriage. But we don’t have to, argues Elizabeth Kantor. Jane Austen can show us how to find the love we really want.” While we’d be the first to agree that there are a few contemporary life lessons to be gleaned from Austen’s work (and similarly the work of almost any great writer), we’re not sure a whole guide (or five) is in order.

The Jane Austen Cookbook , Maggie Black & Deirdre Le Faye

Some literary themed cookbooks we get, but, um, does anyone remember any particularly good-sounding food in Jane Austen’s novels? Nothing seems to come to mind for us.

In the Garden with Jane Austen , Kim Wilson

From the publisher: “Jane Austen took a keen interest in flower gardening and kitchen gardening alike. This book strolls through the sorts of gardens that Jane Austen would have known and visited: the gardens of the great estates, cottage gardens, gardens in town, and public gardens and parks. With lush photos, social history, excerpts from the novels, information on her life, and period drawings, In the Garden with Jane Austen brings Jane Austen’s world and Georgian and Regency gardens to life. The book also includes gardens featured in film adaptations of Austen’s novels and provides instructions on creating one’s own Jane Austen garden.” Er, that’s rather stretching it, don’t you think?

Jane Austen, Game Theorist , Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Jane Austen as a secret game theorist 200 years ago? Okay, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but we have to admit that we actually totally want to read this one.