A new version of Pride and Prejudice opened at the movies and, coincidentally (or not,) a new book of literary criticism makes a nice companion piece to this renewed interest in Jane Austen. Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece. Edited by Jennifer Cruise (BenBella 2005) is a collection of critical essays about the book and the author with the novel approach that Austen's works were the precursors to the current "chick-lit" best-sellers.
Chick-lit is the kind of book that talks about shopping, sex, young single women in the city, and probably lots of fashion, especially shoes. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (2003), Handbags and Gladrags by Maggie Alderson (2005), Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes (2004), Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella (2002) and so on, along the lines of Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (1997) are chick-lit. It's hard to believe that Austen even remotely fits in that category, but it is a good "hook" to trick people into reading good literature, I guess.