Saturday, December 10, 2021

"The Library Phantom Returns!"

A follow-up to my November 8th post about the mystery book art objects left in Scottish libraries is here on the NPR website.

Close-up of "Feathers" on a cap (photo by Chris Scott on Flickr)

Thursday, December 8, 2021

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

      Anne Lamott

And some bonus funny, for those of you who've ever shelved books in a library:
From here

Friday, December 2, 2021

Open Air Library

This open air library in Germany is a cool idea - it is built on a reclaimed industrial site and serves as park, library, concert hall, etc. for the neighborhood. It operates on the honor system, using donated books. You can read more and see more photos here.

Friday, November 18, 2021

Monday, November 14, 2021

Breathe it in

Thursday, November 10, 2021

Two things to make you smile


From Pamela Fugate's Etsy shop

Tuesday, November 8, 2021

How come nobody leaves us a tree?!

A "poetree" that popped up at the Scottish Poetry Library
 This is a really cool story, from NPR, about a series of mysterious gifts (including a coffin!) left in  libraries, and other book related venues in Scotland. The objects were all paper sculptures crafted from books and the suspected "donors" included novelist Ian Rankin.

And who did it finally turn out to be? Well, you'll have to read the story to find out, but let's just say it probably isn't the ending you're expecting!

Left at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Thursday, November 3, 2021

Library Design

I love a well-designed building, and if it's a library, even better! These photos are of the new Stuttgart, Germany public library, and even though I know I wouldn't be able to read any of the books, I still wish I could be there.

It's probably going to be a total bear to keep all that white clean, and to heat and cool all that space in the middle, but boy, is it gorgeous...

You can see more pictures here.

Saturday, October 29, 2021

Supporting Libraries in Tough Times

Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal Constition's Op-Ed Page focused on the changing roles of libraries as the economy falters and e-books and other electronic media gather steam.  One of the articles was on Gwinnett County Public Library's challenges as they find their budget cut 15% by their county commissioners. The Gwinnett County Library is one of the best I have ever used, and it is very frustrating that its commissioners have failed to recognize the value of its services. (The GC library system has taken it all in stride, however, and is busy looking for new ways to raise money and stretch its existing budget to cover as much as possible - showing a flexibility that demonstrates why it is such a good library system.)

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system has been very lucky thus far - Fulton County commissioners have done the right thing and recognized that libraries become even more important to patrons in times of need. The library provides so many services free of charge: internet access, programs on health, job searching, resume writing, etc., not to mention access to all the knowledge and entertainment contained in the hundreds of thousands of books on its shelves (and in its ebook catalog).

Kudos to our commissioners for standing behind Fulton libraries - your support is definitely appreciated!

Oh, and the value of those 47 million book checkouts,  plus the 13.5 billion computer sessions, and the programs attended by 1.4 million children?
 Best of all, Georgia libraries only had to spend $188 million to get those $1.3 billion in benefits to their patrons - nice return on the investment!

Friday, October 28, 2021


Bookfessions is a website chock full of great quotes inspired by reading. Check it out frequently: it's constantly updated.   And hey, if you've got something pithy to say about your reading life - contribute!

Monday, October 17, 2021

A Fulton Family Loss

David and Rob Fulton, with a portrait of their father, Dr. Robert E. Fulton, at the opening ceremonies for the Ocee Library in October 2004
As many of you know, the Ocee Library's official name is the Dr. Robert E. Fulton/Ocee Library. Dr. Fulton was a County Commissioner and Library Board Trustee who fought long and hard for the creation of the Ocee Library. We literally would not exist if it were not for his passion.  Unfortunately, Dr. Fulton died suddenly just before the library opened, and the name of the library now reminds us of his dedication to our cause. (You can read more about the history of the Ocee Library by scrolling down at this post.)

After Dr. Fulton's death, his family has continued to stand by the library and they have donated funds for a variety of library needs through the years. Sadly on Friday, Dr. Fulton's eldest son, David Fulton, also passed away suddenly. David's brother Rob describes his brother as being "being most like my father, especially in terms of his unrelenting ability to get things done" (a trait of his father's that we most definitely benefited from!).  His death is devasting not only to the Fulton family, but also to our library - we have always appreciated the Fultons' continuing support of their father's namesake library.

David Fulton, visiting the library named after his father
David lived in Massachusetts, and is survived by his mother Autumn Ireland, wife Sherry, and children Kathryn and Jaclyn. He also leaves siblings Rob Fulton and Lori Cutillo.  (David Fulton's complete obituary can be viewed here, or here.)

Sunday, October 9, 2021

Paul Auster on reading

 “Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author's words reverberating in your head.”
                               ― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

Saturday, October 1, 2021

A guy that reads

Robby's blog

I love this guy! He's a 16-year old book blogger who just loves to read, plain and simple - you can (and should!) read a Publisher's Weekly interview with him here. The interview is awesome - it's great to see such enthusiasm for books in a teenage boy.

Bonus link: Here's Library Journal's list of books to look out for this fall: they lose points for only listing books by author & title - no synopsis or link - but it's a great resource for those that love to read beyond the bestseller list.

Monday, September 26, 2021

New website

Byliner is still in beta, but looks interesting...

I'll let them describe themselves:
Byliner is a publishing company and social network built around great stories.
Byliner publishes original narratives by some of the most accomplished writers working today, at lengths that allow them to be read in a single sitting. Called Byliner Originals, these stories typically range between 10,000 and 35,000 words and are available in digital form, with select titles also available as audio or print-on-demand books. They tackle compelling stories from the worlds of culture, technology, politics, business, sports, science, crime, adventure, and more.
On, readers can discover, share, and discuss stories with a community of fellow readers, receive personalized recommendations, and follow their favorite writers — ensuring that they never miss a great read. also acts as a platform for writers, enabling them to connect directly with their audience.
We’ll find you something good to read.

Friday, September 23, 2021

The quote is from the play/movie The History Boys, and the design above is from Design Crush.

Thursday, September 22, 2021

Louisa at the Library

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library is presenting a series of events this fall centered around Louisa May Alcott. These events take place mainly at the Central Library downtown, but a couple of them are a little closer to home at the Roswell branch: a Civil War lecture October 1st, and a Noonday Nosh Reading Group discussion of her biography, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman behind Little Women, on October 18th.

Here is the info Margaret Roach sent around to all the Friends:
The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System is pleased to announce a series of reading, viewing, and discussion programs focused on Louisa May Alcott’s life and the historical and cultural context that inspired her remarkable body of work.
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women is a documentary film co-produced by Nancy Porter Productions, Inc. and Thirteen/WNET New York’s American Masters, and a biography of the same name written by Harriet Reisen. Louisa May Alcott programs in libraries are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The library received an NEH grant of $2,500 for the program series.
The Library System is presenting a number of programs during September, October and November which will re-introduce audiences to Louisa May Alcott’s story. Programs include a community-wide library event focused on Louisa May Alcott’s life, work, and times; a reading and scholar-led discussion of Alcott’s lesser-known works; a discussion of Alcott as a literary phenomenon and social reformer; and a film screening and discussion of the documentary and biography.
Louisa May Alcott is recognized around the world for her novel Little Women, but few know Alcott as the bold, compelling woman who secretly wrote sensational thrillers, lived at the center of the Transcendentalist and Abolitionist movements, and served as a Civil War army nurse. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s public programs present a story full of fresh insights about Alcott and a new understanding of American culture during her lifetime.
We would like to invite you to attend these exciting programs focused on Louisa May Alcott. The first program, “Transcendental Wild Oats”: Louisa May Alcott and Reform, will be held at the Central Library Wednesday Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m. Dr. Robert  Sattelmeyer will be the guest speaker. 

To see descriptions of all the programs in the Louisa May Alcott series, please visit the webpage here or contact program contact John Wright at 404-730-1745 or We hope you can join us as we explore Louisa May Alcott at our libraries.

Tuesday, September 13, 2021

Two-link Tuesday

Here a couple of interesting reads for the day:

From Salon: Writers Who Don't Read  (an idea that probably doesn't even make much sense to the traditionalists amongst us)

From The Millions: Making Room for Readers (thanks to the above article for taking me to this one - the story about the author's daughter's quest for a library card shouldn't be missed)

Monday, September 5, 2021

The end of summer...

...means the beginning of fall, and looking forward to all the new fall books on the way.  Here are some links to what you have to look forward to:

Must-Read Books of the Fall from the Daily Beast

24 New Releases from The Atlantic

New Books We're Anticipating from New York Magazine

O Magazine's Fall Reading List

Gawker's Guide

If you love food and cooking, Huffington Post has a list just for you here

And one link to look back with: What did you really read this summer? from Salon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2021


BookLamp is a just launched book recommendation website with a unique twist - a computer does all the recommending.

Researchers from several universities scanned in thousands of books and then broke them down into their thematic elements (for example, 'travel' or 'pregnancy' or even 'rocky terrain'), so computers can analyze what elements are present in the books you like, and then match those same elements with books to be recommended.

It can be a bit hit-or-miss as far as its recommendations go, but there's no denying it's an interesting approach.  You can read more about it here in an interesting article by Laura Miller on

Saturday, August 6, 2021

Walk for Literacy

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System invites you to the first Walk for Literacy on Saturday, September 24. It is sponsored by the Literacy Alliance of Metro Atlanta (LAMA), a newly formed alliance of advocates for adult literacy. AFPLS has assisted in the formation of this group and is an active member.
Did you know that nearly 900,000 people in metro Atlanta are functionally illiterate? That is 28% of the population!  It impacts our community in significant ways from employment to crime statistics. It contributes to homelessness, negative health outcomes and poor economic development.
Please help us support adult literacy in our community by registering for the Literacy Walk. Go to The cost is $20 (plus $3.75 administration fee) for a 5K walk/run. When you register, please choose Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System as your choice for support. Don't want to walk or run? You can still make a gift that counts! Simply go to the web site and choose "phantom walker."
Our GED and adult education services will benefit from your choice--70% of all proceeds from those who register to support AFPLS go directly to our GED and related services. Now is the time to get on this bandwagon.
Talk to your neighbors, friends, relatives, and everyone you know to encourage them to sign up for this inaugural event. Thanks for your support of the Library System. See you on September 24!

Wednesday, July 20, 2021

A Message from Margaret Roach

Below is a letter from Margaret Roach, Volunteer Services Manager for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System:

Dear Friends, 
Fulton County is taking a different approach to getting citizen feedback on the 2012 budget. This approach offers many ways for Fulton County officials to hear about your views on adequate funding for the Library System—either at a one of the meetings listed below, through an online survey or via email. Below are excerpts from an article on
“¢itizen $ense” Project: Join the Conversation 
Fulton County is asking residents to share their “two cents” about the 2012 budget during a series of “¢itizen $ense” sessions. All residents are invited to be part of the conversation.
For those residents who stifle a yawn at the thought of government finance, the sessions will include a brief video presentation about the County budget and programs. After the video, participants divide into groups and allocate their “County cash” to the programs that matter most to them.
All feedback from the sessions will be documented and provided to the Board of Commissioners. 
Any Fulton County resident is welcome to attend the ¢itizen $ense sessions. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP to any session, residents may email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 404-612-8300.
¢itizen $ense Meeting Schedule:
·         Thursday, July 21, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, 11605 Haynes Bridge Road, Suite 100, Alpharetta, GA 30009
·         Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
South Fulton Chamber, Diamond Hall
5495 Old National Hwy # C9, Atlanta, GA 30349-3257
·         Thursday, July 28, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Location TBD
·         Saturday, August 6, 2011, 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Residents who cannot attend in person will have later opportunities to give their feedback as part of a ¢itizen $ense online survey, a Facebook survey, and Tweet casts. For updates, go to or follow on Twitter @FultonInfo.

Take the online survey now! Budget Reference Information. Residents planning to attend the sessions may wish to review some of the following background documents in preparation for the session: 2011 Budget-in-Brief  and 2012-2014 Proposed Strategic Plan found at

Tuesday, June 21, 2021

More Random Tuesday Fun

I've got tons of bookmarks of interesting book-related things that I never get around to posting about, so I think I'll give you five more new links this week. You never know what you'll get, but I'll try to make it good!

"Budget cuts force libraries to re-examine roles" from Salon

"Books, the new Prozac?" from The New Yorker

Post-apocalytic library  - a very intriguing image from artist Lori Nix

Read Your Bookcase - what happens if you actually put books in it though?

A Country without Libraries from New York Review of Books

Tuesday, June 14, 2021

Random but fun links

Some interesting book related stories that didn't quite get a whole post to themselves...

Book Party

"Destroyed" Books (Atlanta artist!)

Dictator Dentistry

Future of Libraries in an E-Book Age

What Your Favorite Children's Book Says About You

Wednesday, May 25, 2021


Ocee Library, with the assistance of the Friends of the Northeast Spruill Oaks Library and in partnership with the City of Johns Creek, was chosen as a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) recipient for a SARA (Scanning and Reading Appliance) machine with a flat screen monitor to better serve our visual and hearing impaired patrons who live in the community.
For more information about the SARA machine, click here. To find out about using the machine in the Ocee Library, give the library a call at 770-360-8897.

Many thanks to the City of Johns Creek and the Friends from Spruill Oaks for making this happen!

Friday, May 13, 2021

The Pleasures of Reading

This book caught my eye on the New Atlantis website: an excerpt of the post is below. I highlighted my fav part - too many people think reading only counts if you're reading something "worthy". 

Many have absorbed the puritanical message that reading is, first and foremost, good for you — the intellectual equivalent of eating your Brussels sprouts. For such people, indeed for all readers, Jacobs offers some simple, powerful, and much needed advice: read at whim, read what gives you delight, and do so without shame, whether it be Stephen King or the King James Version of the Bible. Jacobs offers an insightful, accessible, and playfully irreverent guide for aspiring readers. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of approaching literary fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and the book explores everything from the invention of silent reading, reading responsively, rereading, and reading on electronic devices.

(The AFPL doesn't own a copy of this yet, but it's just coming out so cross fingers... )
Update: Adams Park Branch now owns a copy of this book so you can put a hold on it and have it sent to Ocee - yay Adams Park!

Supposedly, 42% of college graduates never read another book after they leave school (statistic from here), perhaps because they come to associate reading with the kind of 'serious' books they had to slog through for class. Don't give up on books and all they have to offer though, just because International Macroeconomics, 2nd Ed. was a tad dry.  Feed your mind with all the joy words can offer :) and read anything that makes you happy!

Just Read!

Monday, May 9, 2021

Hand-sewn covers

Penguin Publishing commissioned hand-sewn artwork for the covers for its latest editions of Emma and The Secret Garden. Read more about them here (and see more pictures, including a Black Beauty cover as well).

Thursday, April 21, 2021

Pulitzer Prizes

The 2011 Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week and Jennifer Egan won the fiction prize for her novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad". (This novel also won the Morning News Tournament of Books I blogged about a few weeks back.) The other two fiction finalists were "The Privileges" by Jonathan Dee and "The Surrendered" by Chang-Rae Lee.

To see more, including the books that won in the history, poetry, general non-fiction and biography categories, you can visit the Pulitzer website here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2021

Books and Cake

The website Cakewrecks did a post on this very sweet combination in honor of National Library Week (see all the cakes here).

This one, a map of the Land of Oz, is my favorite:

Created by the Cake Doctor

Saturday, April 16, 2021

Where was this idea?

When we had all those leftover books at the end of booksales? We could have made dozens of these rugs *grin*! And, yes, it is a rug made out of book spines - not sure what it would feel like to walk on it though...

 The artist who created it, Pamela Paulsrud, does a lot of things with altered books and "found words".

On the Apartment Therapy website where I first spotted this, the blogger notes: "Most of us love books greatly and don't like to see them damaged. It's easy to believe that they should all be in libraries for an eternity or shipped to places where folks could use them" and commenters also express dismay over what they perceive as the waste of a book.

Folks, as anyone who works with books in large quantities will tell you: books can definitely outlive their useful lives! That computer guide from the 80's? The zillionth copy of the now forgotten bestselling diet guide from 10 years ago? Twenty year old college textbooks? It's okay to consign them to the recycle bin, and if you can find a way to reuse even a small portion of the book before you do so, go for it!

As all good Friends of the Library know, there will always be more books to take their place...

Friday, April 15, 2021

Wonderful design

This is from a children's bookstore in China called Kids Republic (more pictures here).  I doubt I'll be in Beijing anytime soon to visit it, but wouldn't something like this also be awesome in a library?

I want to be curled up in one of those circular seats...

Wednesday, April 13, 2021

Happy Library Week!

This week is National Library Week - show your librarian some love!

Okay, maybe not quite like this!
The book cover above is from a hilarious website called Awful Library Books where two librarians blog about the stranger things they find on their shelves.

Notice the subtitle on this one: "What are those television-typewriters anyway?"  Plus an "up-to-date" buying guide!

Tuesday, April 12, 2021

Cobb County has proposed closing 13 of its 17 libraries to help balance its budget; an editorial in today's AJC by Margaret Johnson-Hodge speaks quite eloquently to the tangible and intangible benefits a library offer to its patrons:
"You see, a library is more than books. It is more than the people who staff them, and the rows and rows of tomes that fills its space. Libraries are refuge for the overwhelmed mind and respite from a technical age. Libraries are lifelines to the outside world and the hope for a better life. Libraries empower the spirit and uplift the soul. Libraries educate and liberate. They are as essential as the air we breathe."
Luckily, Fulton County has so far spared the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system the drastic cuts other surrounding counties have been forced to make - kudos to our commissioners for recognizing the worth of the libraries, especially in such a tough economic climate.

*For more on the Cobb County situation, also see the article headlined "Cobb library proposal seen as political ploy to raise taxes", again from today's AJC.

Update: The libraries managed to avoid the chopping block! They'll stay open after all, due in part to Twitter and Facebook campaigns on their behalf.

Thursday, March 31, 2021


is an adorable Etsy shop, right up a reader's alley.

Literary pin from the Bookity Etsy Shop.

She also makes wonderful garlands from old books and atlases:

Shakespeare Garland

P.S. How perfect is this? She's from the city of Reading in the United Kingdom!

Sunday, March 27, 2021

One Big Happy

The comic strip One Big Happy, by Rick Detorie has been running a series of book-related strips this week. This was the first in the series:
Copyright Rick Detorie, as seen on
If you missed them in the AJC (bottom of the left comic column, next to Family Circle), you can visit the website to see the whole series (just click the blue "Next" button to the right to move on to the following day's strip). You'll meet the much beloved, much beleaguered "Library Lady" in the second strip (thanks for the library love and occasional shout-out, Rick!)

The's Comics section is a good place to keep up with all kinds of comics, be they political or just something you can't find in your local paper. The website also includes all kinds of syndicated advice/lifestyle/health columns and opinion pieces from every point of view. Browse around - you never know what you'll find!

Saturday, March 26, 2021

Community Input Meetings

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system is holding meetings to solicit opinions regarding the new East Roswell, Milton and Alpharetta branches.

East Roswell Library - Thursday, March 31, 7:00 p.m. at East Roswell Community Center, 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell 30076
Alpharetta Library - Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. at Alpharetta Senior Center , 13450 Cogburn Rd., Alpharetta 30004
Milton Library - Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m. at Milton Court Room (located in Milton City Hall), 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Ste., 107E, Milton 30004
You can also share your opinion via an online survey, or by sending an email to

Tuesday, March 8, 2021

The Sweet Sixteen of Books

The Morning News' 7th annual Tournament of Books began today: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom beat Teddy Wayne's Kapitoil, and will advance to the next round*.

To view all the brackets, and follow the excitement :), check it out here.

To play along at home, print this.

*I haven't read Kapitoil yet (I'll have to check it out of the Gwinnett County Library - it seems Fulton County doesn't own a copy *cough, cough*), but Freedom is a tough one to beat...

Sunday, March 6, 2021

Quote of the Day

"Libraries, and librarians, do the Lord's work."
         Karin Slaughter, writer and founder of Save the Libraries

The quote is from an article in today's AJC: read the rest here.

Saturday, March 5, 2021

Here a book, there a book

Books for sale in an Anthropologie clothing store.
This is an interesting article from the New York Times, about the increasingly diverse places publishers are finding to sell their wares.

Once I started to think about, I realized how common it is to see books, of one kind or another, in nearly every retail establishment around. From clothing stores to furniture stores to home improvement warehouses, books are everywhere.  And with bricks-and-mortar bookstores increasingly disappearing, it's wise marketing indeed.

Friday, March 4, 2021

Borders closing sale

The Johns Creek Borders dropped its store closing prices again today - they now range from 25% off (books) to 50% off (magazines, greeting cards). I haven't been in since last weekend, but it was already getting kinda cleared out even then, so if you've got something specific in mind to look for, I'd head in soon.

Self Destructing Books

 One publisher has come up with a new twist in the world of ebooks - one that may have important consquences for the titles available from your local library. Read more about it here.

*Visit the AFPL website here to find out more about our library's downloadable books program.

Thursday, March 3, 2021

The me I could be

Vanity Fair Magazine has an online slide show of the photographs taken by Steve McCurry on the last roll of Kodachrome film ever produced. McCurry is perhaps most known for his National Geographic cover photo of an Afghan refugee girl (that girl with those eyes!).

The photo below, one example from that last roll, is of a woman reading in a park - a woman I can only hope to be someday! I love in particular how comfortable she is with herself: shoes off, feet up, utterly engrossed in what I can only hope was a wonderful book.

Go check out all the images in the VF slide show here.

Friday, February 25, 2021

Donor Recognition Wall

We've selected a design for our donor recognition wall, which the Hamlin family has funded in memory of their parents.
It will be similar to this - engraved brass plates on the spines of "books" on shelves. We will probably either frame it in white, or finish the wood in a lighter shade, to make it 'pop' against the brick wall in the entry.

We need to find a woodworker to recreate the wooden elements for us - anyone know of someone?

Wednesday, February 16, 2021

It's official...

The Johns Creek Borders store will be closed as a part of their bankruptcy reorganization. Very bummed, but not surprised. Click here to see the full list.

Monday, February 14, 2021

A message from the library director

Dear Friends:
I want to thank those of you who advocated for the library by speaking at budget hearings, writing or calling the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. I can’t stress enough how much impact a heart-felt statement of support can have.
The Board of Commissioners approved the FY2011 budget for the Library System at the same amount as last year and added $300,000 to the materials budget, bringing the total library budget to $31.6 million. I believe this boost to the collection was due in large part to your expressions of support.
In addition, I want to let you know that $160,000 in capital funds will enable us to replace malfunctioning and outdated computers throughout the Library System.
While many library systems throughout Georgia and the country are struggling, we are fortunate to maintain our staffing levels, with no branch closings and no reduction of operating hours. This level of service is due to hard work on the part of our staff and to your support.
Progress continues on the Library Bond Program. The project manager from Heery/Russell and her staff are now on board in offices in the Central Library. Request for proposals for architects and contractors will be issued this spring and we anticipate having them selected by the summer. At which time the site selections for new branches must be completed.
Your voice in support of libraries truly makes a difference. Please accept my sincere thanks for your advocacy and for all that you do year round.
John F. Szabo

Friday, February 11, 2021

Poor Jane

I'm currently reading Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman, which tracks the ups and downs of Austen's popularity through the years, and Mark Twain is quoted thusly:
"Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig [Austen] up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone."
I can't say I share Mr. Twain's opinion (though I do appreciate the wit), but it is interesting how critical appreciation of Ms. Austen's work has altered over time.

I'm also re-reading Pride and Prejudice in a lovely annotated edition edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks, as I read Jane's Fame, and the books dovetail nicely, as the annotations frequently expand on something Harman mentions, and vice versa.

Other random facts I've discovered:
-Jane Austen was so anonymous in her own time that only 2 authenticated sketches of her survive (both drawn by her sister), and one of those only shows her from behind!
-Reading Jane Austen can be quite the comforting experience, and Karman relates that during the Great War, her work was quite popular among British soldiers for the relief it offered from the horrors of fighting. Rudyard Kipling even wrote a short story, "The Janeites", concerning this phenomenon, with an illustrated magazine cover showing a soldier at the front reading Persuasion.