Living Columns & Blogs

Jane Austen died 200 years ago. Her classic novels live on, as do books celebrating her

"The Jane Austen Project" by Kathleen A. Flynn
"The Jane Austen Project" by Kathleen A. Flynn TNS

The Fresno County Library’s Bookshelf column shares suggestions for books, music, and other items, and provides information about library programs.

200 years after Jane Austen

English novelist Jane Austen died July 18, 1817 at the age of 41. She wrote six novels: “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Mansfield Park,” “Emma,” “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion.” The latter two were published posthumously. Her reputation as a great author took off with a republication of all six novels 16 years after her death. Here are some books celebrating her life and work:

▪ “The Jane Austen Project,” by Kathleen Flynn.A pair of modern time travelers go back to 1815, hoping to recover a long-lost Jane Austen novel before the manuscript (and its creator) come to their untimely ends.

▪ “The Making of Jane Austen,” by Devoney Looser. Moderately successful as a living author, Jane Austen’s reputation surged after her death. This book explains how critics, adapters and popularizers made her into a one-woman artistic phenomenon.

▪ “Jane Austen and Philosophy,” edited by Mimi Marinucci. This book extracts the abundant life lessons found in Jane Austen’s work – concerning social responsibility, moral choices, dealing with love and desire, and many other timeless issues.

Top 5 most requested books

▪ “Camino Island,” by John Grisham.

▪ “The Late Show,” by Michael Connelly.

▪ “Dangerous Minds: A Knight and Moon Novel,” by Janet Evanovich.

▪ “Murder Games,” by James Patterson.

▪ “The Identicals: A Novel,” by Elin Hilderbrand.

New arrivals

▪ “Every Last Lie,” by Mary Kubica. Clara Solberg is shocked enough when her husband is killed in an automobile accident, but becomes even more frantic when that tragedy unleashes the sins and secrets of his past.

▪ “The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife,” by Nancy Lawson. With this guidebook in hand, learn how to landscape in harmony with nature – and how to attract and keep different, beneficial species in your outdoor spaces.

▪ “Death of a Bachelorette,” by Laura Levine. When one of the contestants in a dating reality show experiences parachute failure and plunges to her death, it’s up to a television producer-turned-detective to find the murderer on the set.


▪ Astronomy Nights: Explore the nighttime sky with astronomer Carl Dotts and his high-powered telescope. Bring binoculars and a blanket. For more information, call the library or go to 8:30-10 p.m., Monday, Auberry Branch Library. Details: 559-855-8523.

▪ Builder’s Club: Create Lego masterpieces with other miniature brick enthusiasts, based on a theme to challenge the imagination. 2-3 p.m., Wednesday, Sanger Branch Library. Details: 559-875-2435.

▪ Author Talk: Hear local novelist Tim Desmond discuss his newest book, “The Doc,” a riveting thriller about a death investigation that reveals a sinister group working inside the U.S. government. Copies will be available for purchase and signing. 7-8 p.m.,Wednesday, Woodward Park Regional Library. Details: 559-600-3135.

This is a weekly column written by the Fresno County Public Library staff. Events are usually free. Visit or call 559-600-6227 for details.