William Shakespeare

Literary Mixtape: Romeo and Juliet

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: in honor of Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. … Read More

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10 of the Greatest Kisses in Literature

It’s the season of romance, and you know what that means — you’d better start gearing up to give that special someone a stars-and-fireworks-worthy kiss come February 14th. So like any other book nerds, we can’t help but think about our favorite literary romances — and in particular, our favorite literary makeout sessions — to give us a little divine inspiration. After all, there’s nothing more romantic than that most elemental of expressions of affection, and who could paint it better than the likes of Shakespeare, Nabokov and Byron? So if you’re looking for a few ideas (or just some steamy bathtub reading) this Valentine’s day, click through to read through ten of the greatest kisses in literature — and since there are of course many more than we listed here, be sure to let us know which characters’ lip-locks make your own hearts flutter in the comments. … Read More

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Hilarious and Informative Condensed Video Versions of Famous Pop-Culture Franchises

In today’s media-saturated market, who has time to invest in watching and reading everything out there? Not us — and we assume that we devote more time to pop-culture consumption than most. But you don’t have to feel left out of your friends’ conversations about Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or even The Bold and the Beautiful. Luckily, there’s a way to catch up the  television shows, movies, and other classics that everybody’s talking about — and it’s much more fun than reading the summaries on Wikipedia. We’ve put together some of our favorite video condensations of famous franchises to keep you up to date. … Read More

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Great Works of Art Inspired by Great Works of Literature

We don’t know about you, but after we finish a dazzling piece of fiction, we want nothing more than to continue it in some way, to bring it to life in the physical realm. If our painting skills were anywhere as good as our reading skills, we would probably do just that, but alas, they are not. However, we can content ourselves with the knowledge that there are lots of wonderful works of visual, aural, and mixed-media art out there that are based on or inspired by books. Of course, many books are illustrated, and the illustrations are meant to reflect the story, but this is not exactly what we mean by “works of art inspired by works of literature” — otherwise this list would be full of artists like Ralph Steadman and Walter Crane, whose iconic illustrations knock our socks off. Instead, we tried to choose freestanding works that depicted or took influence from literature, whether directly or obliquely. Now, we are completely aware that the list of artworks influenced by literature is endless — especially if you consider the Bible literature — so here we’ve chosen a number of our favorite examples, trying to include both contemporary and classic works of art ranging from sketches to book-length collections of paintings to full-scale musical productions from artists both famous and largely unknown. Click through to see our list of great works of art inspired by great works of literature, and let us know your own favorites in the comments. … Read More

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Literary Characters Who Died Too Soon

Last week, we were struck by the news that J.K. Rowling had considered offing our favorite grumbling redhead Ron Weasley in one of the Harry Potter books. And why? For “sheer spite,” she says. Though we have to admit that we’re overwhelmingly glad that Rowling left Ron well enough alone, the news got us to thinking about literary characters that were killed off by their authors, especially those that passed a little too soon for our liking. Authors kill beloved characters for many reasons — to advance the plot, to evoke an emotional response, or just to prove that they’re Not Kidding Around — and though we understand all of these, we can’t help but have an emotional reaction every once and a while that is akin to a child being relieved of its favorite toy. Read our list of literary characters who, at least in our estimation, died way too soon after the jump, and be sure to chime in with your own favorite characters that you wish had stuck around a little longer. But be warned: as with any post about character deaths, spoilers abound ahead. … Read More

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The Worst Consequences of Literary Teenage Romance

Teenagers have it rough when it comes to love. Their hormones are going haywire, their brains are still developing, and when they fall for one another, they fall hard. As our mothers always told us, boys are bad for you — and the more we read, the more we realize how true that can be. In literature, teen romance can be beautiful and eternal, but it can also be costly and crazy — or it can be all of that at once. Consider this our warning to all you teenage lovers out there: make sure your beloved is not a kidnapper, a psychopath, your brother, or a hundred-year-old vampire before you wear his letterman jacket. Or go for it. Up to you. Click through to see our list of some of the worst outcomes of young love in literature, and let us know which of your favorite tragic teen affairs (as there are oh so very many) we’ve missed in the comments. … Read More

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Joss Whedon Reveals More ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Details

After a weekend of teasing, Joss Whedon’s loyal army of fans still hadn’t received confirmation that his seemingly too-good-to-be-true independent film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was anything more than an elaborate prank. Sure, there was a website, and actors close to Whedon were tweeting about it — but how could… Read More

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Fake Books from Fiction That We Wish We Could Read

Within literature’s greatest books lives another library of books, unpublished and unwritten, nested in other books, imagined by their authors and materialized only in the imaginations of their readers — a painfully vast body of potentially brilliant work that we’ll never get to hold in our hands. That’s not to say that every meta-book is a must-read; take for example The Dictionary of the Finnish Language by Caprinulge, which features in Aldous Huxley’s Chrome Yellow – completely unreal and yet completely not something we’d choose to leaf through. Similarly, the white-supremacist The Rise of the Colored Empires by Goddard, thought up by Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby is not all that high on our wish list. But then there are titles that, wholly made up, sound like they might be even more captivating than the books they live in. And it’s those that we never stop hoping will one day be in print. After the jump, peruse 16 titles we’d add to our bookshelves, if only we could. … Read More

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20 Amazing Reimagined Book Covers

Under the influence of characters, setting, and plot, a number of artists have recently taken it upon themselves to recreate book covers of some of the most beloved literature, often with fantastic results. Whether it be through illustration or painting, collage or embroidery, reimagined cover art isn’t limited to the cardboard backings of books, but takes on a life of its own that ranges from extravagant and crafty, with kaleidoscopic-colored thread twirling on the page, to simple but powerful, with bold graphic designs and eerie color pallets. And while each piece is aesthetically different, these book covers have one thing in common — they all pay homage to the authors and works we hold so dear. See 20 of our favorite works inspired by the likes of J.D Salinger, The Brothers Grimm and Roald Dahl after the jump. … Read More

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How to Approximate the College Experience in 10 Books

Disclaimer: we think you should go to college, if you can swing it. But sometimes it seems (especially in the media) that the college experience is just wave after wave of useless information cresting up out of a sea of cheap beer. So we’ve narrowed the whole four years down into ten essential books that will get you to the same place, only perhaps a little drier. If you aren’t going (or going back to) college this fall and wish you were, this list might just tide you over. And if you are, it’s sure to give you a leg up. Click through to check out our (tongue in cheek!) list of ten books that approximate the college experience, and let us know which you’d add or take away in the comments. … Read More

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