What Matters in Jane Austen? - John Mullan One of the special delights of reading Jane Austen is becoming as clever and discerning as the author herself, at least for as long as one is reading.This nonfiction work is composed of twenty essays in which the author analyzes different themes, stylistic qualities, and questions about Jane Austen’s novels. Ranging from topics about card games and novels of the day to stylistic nuances such as when Austen speaks in the first-person, these well-researched chapters enrich the reader’s understanding of Austen’s characters and stories.What Matters in Austen is the perfect companion book for fans of Austen’s works. Within the book, the author attempts to explain Austen’s world to modern-day readers. Breaking this task into twenty important questions, he points toward the genius of the original author in creating works that are even more ingenious and clever the more you delve into them. Though I’ve read some of Austen’s works over and over, I was amazed at the subtle things I failed to catch onto, and now am anxious to re-read them with a newer understanding.My only regret while reading this book was that I wasn’t more familiar with some of Austen’s books. The author pulls constantly from the books, so when running across references to Persuasion (which I have yet to read) or Northanger Abbey (which I haven’t read in many years), I had trouble relating the points he was trying to make or keeping straight the characters and plots. This is definitely a book for a true Austen fan who has a working knowledge of ALL of Austen’s characters and story lines, not for those that occasionally enjoy plugging in a DVD of a movie adaptation.Overall: A brilliant, well-researched series of essays on themes, motifs, and subtle nuances that make Jane Austen’s works such extraordinary fiction.