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Longbourn by Jo Baker
Ever wonder what went on behind the scenes in Jane Austen books? A lot of scrubbing, polishing and chamber-pot emptying, it turns out. Jo Baker’s astute and charming new novel takes a look at the lives of the servants who waited on Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy--with a flair for humor and compassion that would have done Austen proud.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks
Speaking of hired help, has there ever been a better gentleman-servant relationship than that of Wooster and Jeeves? In Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, British novelist Sebastian Faulks brings new life to P.G. Wodehouse’s classic characters; Faulk’s work boasts a screwball plot and drawing-room patter worthy of the original.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Tartt fans have been waiting 14 long years for her third novel, a Dickensian masterpiece about a missing work of art. The Goldfinch is set in contemporary times, but follows a Pip-like orphan as he makes his way in a cruel, degraded world (replete with characters that would give Fagan or Miss Havisham a run for their money).
The Married Kama Sutra by Simon Rich and Farley Katz
SNL writer Simon Rich and New Yorker cartoonist Farley Katz teamed up on this 21st-century update to the ancient erotic text. Rich and Katz suggest sexual positions for boring, squabbling married people. (We’re partial to “The blindness of the mole: When the woman spends hours at the hair salon and returns home with bangs, and the man has no reaction whatsoever.”) It’s funny...’cause it’s true.
We’re suckers for the classics. (It’s normal to have read Wuthering Heights 12 times in one’s life, right?) And we’re generally suspicious of books that promise to “revisit” or “channel” them.
But this season, there’s a new crop of novels that both pay homage to history’s great literature and are totally, thoroughly fantastic.
Head on over to the slideshow to get your English-lit nerd on.
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