1. It is a clever satire of Gothic literature, a particularly interesting project, given that "novels," or full-length books of fiction, where only just emerging as a distinct and consistent literary tradition when Northanger Abbey was written. Moreover, our novel-loving heroine was of a very early generation of literate young women.
2. It is playfully deconstructed, as Jane's voice interjects the story to discuss "our heroine" Catherine Morland's adventures and lively imagination directly with us readers. I particularly fancied Jane's extended defense of the novel as an art form, where she calls out fiction writers themselves for diminishing their own genre as unserious with the sort of 'is the novel dead?' rhetoric that has, absurdly, not yet died out.
3. The book is utterly charming, packed with wit, humor, and laser-sharp insight into the social play of vanity, hypocrisy, modesty, manners, sense, money, and ambition. While much contemporary attention on Austen emphasizes her romance storylines (see: nearly all film adaptations of her books), and indeed, she writes a great romance, it is this insight and this wit that gives Jane Austen her lasting power.
5. It is Jane's first novel, written at the turn of the nineteenth century and sold for publication in 1803–though the folks who purchased it just sat on it. Northanger Abbey wasn't published until after her death in 1817.
6. Jim Thorpe is one of the most dickish characters in literature; I know a few too many of his sort. He is both grating and wonderfully hilarious.
7. Me and Henry Tilney would've gotten along just fine. Ahem.
8. I really loved reading Northanger Abbey this week. Such a fun novel.