Staff Pick

Jane Austen’s most autobiographical and political novel, Mansfield Park may also be her least read work. Unlike the more popular Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, Austen’s third published novel, which appeared in 1814, Mansfield Park seems cut from a very different cloth. For that reason alone it’s intriguing—and worth reading. Written at a time when Austen had recently relocated, Mansfield Park follows Fanny Price as she is uprooted from her childhood home and sent to live with her rich relatives. Not a typical Austen heroine, Fanny is introverted and awkward. She seems the perfect foil for the beautiful and charismatic Mary Crawford. Austen’s many references to the slave trade, which had recently been abolished in England, add an unusual political element to her usual social satire. This beautiful Mansfield Park: An Annotated Edition (Harvard, $35), with authoritative and illustrative commentary by Deidre Shauna Lynch, Harvard’s Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, caps Harvard’s fine Jane Austen Annotated Editions series; like its companion volumes, it encourages a slow, thoughtful reading of the story and appreciation for the world in which Jane Austen lived and wrote.

Mansfield Park: An Annotated Edition Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780674058101
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Belknap Press - October 31st, 2016

This review is dedicated to Thea, Pax, Joanie, and Buster—some of P&P’s canine friends. We like having dogs around. Even the most diehard cat fans among us agree that it makes the workday a little easier to get through when there is a friendly (furry) face and a cold nose nearby. Dogs have a unique way of making us happy, even when we don’t want to be, even when we don’t think we can be happy. Maira Kalman got her dog Pete when her husband Tibor was dying. It seemed like a bad idea for someone who had always been afraid of dogs. But somewhere in a “remote part” of her brain, she knew a dog would help her family get through their tragedy. She was right, he did. Having Pete revealed a new world of unconditional love, humor, comfort, and fun that she had never known before. Beloved Dog (Penguin Press, $29.95) is Kalman’s tribute to Pete and to the dogs that she has drawn and written about throughout her career.

Beloved Dog Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781594205941
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 27th, 2015

When Sarah Waters came to Politics and Prose, she described her new book as “a love story with a crime.” Set between the wars in London, The Paying Guests (Riverhead, $28.95) tells the story of Frances, a spinster of twenty-seven, who lives with her mother in a large, decaying house. With all the men gone, the women are forced to take in lodgers to pay for their home’s upkeep. The intrigue starts when Frances falls in love with one of the lodgers. In typical Waters fashion, what follows is a gripping tale of sex, passion, and murder. Waters is a meticulous writer, delicately and deftly able to capture a time period, mood, or even a mundane task and make it come alive. She always takes readers on a rollercoaster ride, and, as with her previous books, which include Fingersmith and The Night Watch, you may find yourself turning pages well past your bedtime.
The Paying Guests Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594633119
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - September 16th, 2014

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