I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Book Bummer or Bust.
I bought this one awhile ago after quickly flipping through it and was looking forward to what its subtitle promised: Celebrating Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
What I got was very little of how Pride and Prejudice came to be written (which is specifically what the inside flap says I'll get) and a whole lot of literary dissection. There is one entire chapter (9 pages) on nothing but the first sentence of the book, breaking it down almost word for word. What are the philosophical implications of "It is a truth"? (OMG!) What might Austen have meant, by "universally acknowledged"? (Seriously?)
I'm being a bit catty here and a lot of readers might be genuinely interested in this kind of literary examination, and I respect that; this is the book for them. But like magic acts, I prefer not to break it down and analyse it: doing so diminishes the magic for me. I got to this chapter and immediately thought "THIS is why teen-agers don't want to read, because this is what English Lit consists of.". Plus, I think if you have to explain the first sentence of P&P, it's probably not the book to read.
There is some interesting historical material here, but it's mostly drowned out in the speculation (often disguised as fact, which was irritating) over characters and style. A section towards the end on adaptations, pastiches, and mash-ups was moderately interesting but the author didn't try to hide her bias and at one point declares that Jane is "rolling in her grave". Frankly, given Austen's love of the absurd, I'd bet she's laughing.
I had high hopes, but this is not the book I was looking for.