Turns out, this book is a little bit biography, a little bit literary analysis of Austen's works. The only purpose the 101 facts seem to serve is to break up the book into readable chunks, and they're not even presented as "facts," but more as topic headings. Here's a sampling:
5. A family member meets the guillotineAs you can see, this book covers a wide variety of material, and in only 230 pages. For the casual fan of Austen, like me, it's a great way to learn more about the author and her books. Those who are avid Austenites would probably also enjoy it, particularly if they want to know more about the author herself, but don't have time for a lengthy biography. I enjoyed the bits of literary analysis the most, undoubtedly because I minored in English and still love delving deeper into books than what an initial reading gives you.
25. Arrested for shoplifting!
59. Why are there so many clergymen in Jane's Austen's novels?
101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen: The Truth About the World's Most Intriguing Literary Heroine is a fairly easy read, and enjoyable even if you haven't read all her novels yet (like I haven't). It's not engrossing, however, and it took me over a month to read it because I kept getting sidetracked by other books. But because it's broken up into 101 little chunks, it's perfect for picking up whenever you have a few minutes.
(Originally posted on The Huggermugger Blog on Nov. 16, 2009.)