Reading Group Center




Video: Jo Baker Discusses Longbourn and Pride and Prejudice

Video: Jo Baker Discusses Longbourn and Pride and Prejudice

Longbourn is Jo Baker’s unique below-stairs answer to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In the following video interview, she discusses the parallels between the books, and the similarities between her heroine and Elizabeth Bennet in particular.

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Armchair Adventurer’s 6 Literary Trips That Don’t Require Travel

Armchair Adventurer’s 6 Literary Trips That Don’t Require Travel

To help you plan your literary itinerary this summer, we scoured the Armchair Adventurer archives and selected six favorites for you to explore. The settings of these novels are so vividly depicted, you’ll immediately feel transported—and you don’t even have to pass through customs!

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Julian Barnes’s Levels of Life Moves Readers with Its Message about Love and Loss

Julian Barnes’s Levels of Life Moves Readers with Its Message about Love and Loss

Levels of Life masterfully combines history, fiction, and essay into a rumination of life’s highs and lows. The elegiac, emotional pull of the third section, “The Loss of Depth,” which addresses Barnes’s sorrow over losing his wife, has particularly resonated with readers. Read an exclusive excerpt from the book.

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6 Ways to Celebrate Summer with Recipe by the Book

6 Ways to Celebrate Summer with Recipe by the Book

In our ongoing celebration of summer, we dipped into the Recipe by the Book archives and selected six favorites for you to enjoy at your next book club meeting.

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Armchair Adventurer: The Real-life Socialist Utopia of Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens

Armchair Adventurer: The Real-life Socialist Utopia of Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens

The title of Jonathan Lethem’s bestselling novel Dissident Gardens, an epic yet intimate family saga, was inspired by a little-known neighborhood in the heart of New York City: Sunnyside Gardens. In this edition of Armchair Adventurer, we take a look at the neighborhood’s fascinating history.

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Edwidge Danticat on the Power of Community in Claire of the Sea Light

Edwidge Danticat on the Power of Community in Claire of the Sea Light

In an interview for PBS, Edwidge Danticat talked about the way in which Claire of the Sea Light expanded from simply being about Claire, her father, and her soon-to-be adoptive mother into one about their town’s community.

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Take a Tour Around Florence with Dan Brown’s Inferno

Take a Tour Around Florence with Dan Brown’s Inferno

Use our list of Florentine attractions to complement your reading of Dan Brown’s blockbuster Inferno—and follow Langdon’s pulse-pounding adventure deep into the heart of the ancient city to experience it like never before.

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7 Modern Rewritings of Literary Classics That Are Perfect for Reading Groups

7 Modern Rewritings of Literary Classics That Are Perfect for Reading Groups

At one time or another, we’ve all had the same book club dilemma: read classics or opt for modern works of fiction that grace the bestseller lists. Here, we’ve brokered a compromise by compiling a list of can’t-miss modern retellings of masterpieces by the likes of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Virginia Woolf. Enjoy!

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Armchair Adventurer: Political Unrest Overtakes Calcutta in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

Armchair Adventurer: Political Unrest Overtakes Calcutta in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest novel, The Lowland, chronicles the lives of two very different brothers in post-Independence India. To understand her characters’ lives, we turn to the annals of mid-twentieth-century Indian history, and the history of the Naxalite movement in particular.

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Downstairs at Longbourn: The Bennet Sisters Through the Eyes of the Help

Downstairs at Longbourn: The Bennet Sisters Through the Eyes of the Help

With Jo Baker’s Longbourn, an irresistibly imagined below stairs response to Pride and Prejudice, we get a new perspective on the Bennet sisters through the eyes of their servants. From personal habits to social interactions, servants—like Longbourn’s housemaid Sarah—provide astute observations, adding color and texture to the familiar story.

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