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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Austen after After

My philosophy of youthful reading can be summed up in three words: It’s all good.

Comic books, novelizations of TV shows, futuristic dystopian science fiction-fantasy hybrids, Harry Potter fanfic, goopy romance novels, ghost-written celebrity autobiographies – if you like to read it, more power to you. To paraphrase Henry Tilney, the mere habit of learning to love reading is the thing.

Heartening support for this approach comes from the news that devotees of the After books, Anna Todd’s blockbuster fanfic series inspired by the boy band One Direction, have expanded their reading to take in books mentioned in the books – specifically, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice.

Todd’s series, now published by Simon & Schuster, started its life on the digital reading platform WattPad, and according to this Tech Insider story, After readers have accessed Bronte’s and Austen’s out-of-copyright masterpieces the same way: “Thanks largely to Todd, Pride and Prejudice currently has over 3.5 million reads on Wattpad and Wuthering Heights has just over 1 million.”

I haven’t read the After books, but judging from the brief excerpt offered by Tech Insider, the fan who read Austen and Bronte and then told Todd, ""These writers are as good as you are! Even better I guess,” was being a tad – ahem! – generous to Todd. But hey – this is how you learn to love.

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