This week, Melville House released The Jane Austen Rules: A Classic Guide to Modern Love by scholar Sinéad Murphy. It’s a dating advice book culled from the Austen oeuvre, with chapters entitled things like “Dress Up,” “Find a Man, Not a Guy,” and “Be Quite Independent.”
This witty, brief new guide is part of an “Austen advice” mini empire, coming on the heels of Elizabeth Kantor’s rather conservative The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After and William Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education and many other books of similar intent.
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Not all great American novels make great American movies, and after three previous Gatsby movies, it’s surprising that Baz Luhrmann decided to try his hand at Fitzgerald’s novel. With the exception of John Steinbeck (and, depending on your taste, John Grisham), few American authors have produced a handful of novels fit for the cinema. This is not necessarily a bad thing — as far as artistic mediums go, film and novels are strikingly different. But while the literary world is a go-to for Hollywood executives hoping that popular novels will seamlessly transition to the screen (and achieve the same positive response), it isn’t exactly a reliable source of artistic or commercial hits. Among these ten adaptations are valiant efforts as well as unmitigated disasters, none of which successfully captured the charm of their source material.
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