Good Minds Suggest: Curtis Sittenfeld's Favorite Books for Pride and Prejudice Lovers

April, 2016
Curtis Sittenfeld

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single doctor (who moonlights as a reality star) must be in want of a wife. This isn't Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice—it's Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible. In this gleeful retelling, the Bennets, the Bingleys, and, of course, Darcy collide at a Fourth of July barbecue in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sittenfeld, the bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, uses a modern setting to shine new light on beloved characters. Jane yearns for a child as she prepares to turn 40; Liz struggles to stay on top of her job and her father's staggering health bills; and new-in-town neurosurgeon Darcy tries everything at his disposal—even Wikipedia—to alter a rather disastrous first impression. As is the case with Austen's novels, the joy is not in discovering if there will be a "happily ever after" but in accompanying the characters on their journey to it. Sittenfeld shares her favorite stories that embrace the humor and heart of Pride and Prejudice.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
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"A group of quasi-misfits meets each month to talk about Jane Austen's novels. All of Fowler's characters possess various secrets and quirks that are revealed gradually and charmingly. This is a warm and very funny book in which the author's love for Austen is clear."


The Position by Meg Wolitzer
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"I see Wolitzer as a kind of modern-day Austen in her ability to be simultaneously satirical and affectionate toward her characters and also in the elegance of her sentences. This novel, which takes place in 2005-ish, follows the lives of the adult children of a couple who, in the 1970s, wrote a popular book much like The Joy of Sex. Wolitzer insightfully captures the vagaries of both familial and romantic relationships."


Longbourn by Jo Baker
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"Baker tells another version of Pride and Prejudice, but this time it's from a young female servant's perspective. Baker clearly did lots of research, and her details are vivid and perfect. She also boldly prompts readers to look at Austen's beloved characters from new and not always flattering angles."


Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
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"Much the way Austen skewered the aspirations and pretensions of 19th-century English villagers, Semple skewers the aspirations and pretensions of modern-day upper-middle-class Seattle dwellers. This is a fun, fast read. I don't love flying, yet the novel kept me thoroughly entertained on a transatlantic flight a few years ago."


The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
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"Eugenides chronicles a love triangle between three recent Brown University graduates in the early 1980s: brilliant, troubled Leonard; spiritually inclined, romantically thwarted Mitchell; and thoughtful good girl Madeleine. Madeleine's reading of classics such as Pride and Prejudice have not (surprise, surprise) prepared her all that well for the complications of real love. I found this novel incredibly smart and moving."





Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Pride and Prejudice Sequels, Variations, and Adaptations



Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Jan (last edited Apr 05, 2016 04:36PM) (new)

Jan What a great list! I'm adding the only one I haven't read (Longbourn) to my to-read pile (as well as Eligible, which I'm already waiting to get my hands on.) Thanks!


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda Good list. I especially enjoyed The Marriage Plot.


message 3: by Rob (new)

Rob Daniell I can't claim to be a huge Jane Austen fan, but I found Longbourn a wonderful book. She fills in a lot of things that Ms. Austen left out.


message 4: by Diane (last edited Apr 08, 2016 05:37AM) (new)

Diane Holland Jan wrote: "What a great list! I'm adding the only one I haven't read (Longbourn) to my to-read pile (as well as Eligible, which I'm already waiting to get my hands on.) Thanks!"

Jan wrote: "What a great list! I'm adding the only one I haven't read (Longbourn) to my to-read pile (as well as Eligible, which I'm already waiting to get my hands on.) Thanks!"


Hi Jan - I couldn't recommend Longbourn highly enough. Go read it - you'll love it!!


message 5: by Joanzlotnick (new)

Joanzlotnick Would like to suggest adding my e-novel, GRIEFWRITING, which loosely follows the narrative arc of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, to the list. Its main character, a professor of English teaching a therapeutic writing course, discovers that one of her students is a former colleague whom she believes tried to derail her career many years earlier. That he is her Darcy will quickly be obvious to any fan of Jane Austen.

Their romance is embedded in a broader narrative, which follows the stories of a group of people who have come to a griefwriting class to heal and redefine their lives after traumatic loss. For the protagonist, this process involves an unexpected element: coming to terms with what occurred several decades earlier, when she overheard her colleague disparaging her to the chairman of her tenure committee. All these years later, she is still uncertain of his motive. Was it revenge because of their vitriolic battle over affirmative action, or had he really found fault with her scholarship? In any event, her pride was injured, and she continues to hold a bitter grudge against him. After she rereads PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, new and different questions are raised. Could she have misheard or misinterpreted what had been said about her? Could she have misjudged the character of the man she has for so long considered her archenemy? By now, all of this is sounding familiar, as will the exchanges between the characters culled straight from Austen's pages.

All of this has intrigued at least one Jane Austen expert. If you click on the link, you'll see what she has to say about GRIEFWRITING.

http://www.amazon.com/Griefwriting-JO...


message 6: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Matlow Northcutt Wonderful list. I will be doing my best to get to each of them this summer!


message 7: by Boaz (new)

Boaz Olaosebikan AWESOME


message 8: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Bailey I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice this morning ironically. I am definitely going to look for Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld!
The other books on the list have also piqued my interest.
On a sidenote: anyone who has watched Brigitte Jones' Diary will know who I am talking about - every time I read Mr. Darcy's name I saw Darcy from the movie in my head lol.


message 9: by Doris (new)

Doris I'm not sure how to save this page or list, but maybe commenting will let me return to it in the future. Thanks for the suggestions!


message 10: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Garcia I recommend Mr Darcy Diary by Amanda Grange, it is pride and prejudice by mr darcy perspective :), and I will start to read today Longbourn, I think it will be fun!
Thanks for the list!


message 11: by Serena (new)

Serena Mikell Great list! “The Jane Austen Book Club” by Karen Joy Fowler-absolutely I think it would be a great read for anyone.
Essay writing help


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