• A literary treasure brought to our attention by Open Culture: The British Library has posted a digital copy of Jane Austen's simply delightful parody, "The History of England," which she hand-wrote and illustrated when she was just 15 years old.
• HuffPost presents 8 female characters who deserve their own book. (My addition to the list: Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.)
• Ever wondered what sorts of books Bill Gates likes to read? (Some might be a little surprising!)
• J.K. Rowling recently admitted to having a few regrets about the ending of the Harry Potter books, inspiring the folks over at The Millions to round up a slew of other infamous literary second thoughts.
• Stein by Picasso, Zola by Manet—Book Riot offers up 9 portraits of great authors painted by great artists.
• Even Nobel Prize winners get rejected.
• Famous writers champion unappreciated books . . . back in 1934.
• Stephen and Billy talk poetry.
• A big thank you goes out to the folks at Book Riot who compiled this list of bookish Pinterest boards.
• Over on Today.com, some of the biggest authors share how they dealt with getting rejection letters.
• Little Free Libraries are popping up all across the country—find out where with Book Riot's interactive map.
• Awful Library Books is one of my go-to blogs when I'm looking for amusement, and their profile of this book certainly delivered. Seriously, you'll be distracted by the silly photos, but you have to read the text, too. Hilarious.
• No doubt you've heard all of the outcry over Google basically sanctioning the use of the word "literally" for things that are not, in fact, literal. Quirk followed up with this list of other words we've been misusing.
• Check out Book Riot's fun collection of kid lit stamps from around the world.
• Over on Open Culture, Cormac McCarthy shares the three punctuation rules he follows while writing.
• The 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice continues with a Daily Beast article about two new books that feed into the current "Jane-O-Mania."
• Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes about curating the window display at the New York Public Library shop.
• BuzzFeed posted a collection of fun photos of famous authors when they were o-so-young.
• Cookbooks aren't just for the kitchen. Bee Wilson at Page-Turner discusses The Pleasures of Reading Recipes.
• What do Jane Austen and Kelly Clarkson have in common? A ring—and it's causing quite a kerfuffle.
• Check out this eloquent account of how a woman with anosmia (lacking a sense of smell) found olfactory enlightenment through reading books.
• Even though we will have to wait three long years, we're still really excited to hear that a collection of Roald Dahl's letters will be coming out in 2016.
• The August 5 issue of The New Yorker features a never-before-published story by Shirley Jackson, "Paranoia." You have to be a subscriber to read it. But everyone can read this interesting interview with Jackson's son, Laurence Jackson Hyman.
• Two words: LEGO librarians.
Is there a topic as universal and timeless as the relationship between men and women? It seems that dating "rules" are constantly changing—it can be hard to keep up! Luckily, these three guides offer advice (and one a lot of amusement) for today's single folks looking to couple up.
Modern Dating: A Field Guide
By Chiara Atik
From the knowledgeable experts at HowAboutWe.com and Harlequin, this frank, funny, super-comprehensive guide offers advice in small, easily digestible chunks, and is chock-full of informative charts, graphs and illustrations. Topics include how to wing for other women; the art of playing it cool; a dating profile decoder; 75 out-of-the-box date ideas; and a worst-case scenario sex-survival guide. Seriously, this book covers just about everything a modern gal needs to know about navigating today's dating world. Refreshingly, it also encourages women to embrace being single while they're dating and not just lament their solo status.
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Mr. Darcy's Guide to Courtship
By Fitzwilliam Darcy
The actual author of this guide is Emily Brand, but her pitch-perfect ability to capture the stodgy—and, of course, prideful and prejudiced—voice of one Mr. Darcy c. 1812 makes this tongue-in-cheek dating guide so utterly and delightfully amusing. Sections include advice concerning "The Lamentable Preponderance of Plain Women"; "The Language of Hair"; "If Your Charms Are Limited"; "Hints Towards Recognizing a Harlot"; and "On Roguish Behavior." Other 18th-century notables—including Caroline Bingley, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Collins and Miss Maria Bertram—contribute brief essays relaying wisdom gained from their own courtship foibles. This book is sure to have Austen/P&P/Darcy fans swooning—though they should take note that "immoderate laughter . . . may be taken as a token of a disturbed mind."
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Smitten: The Way of the Brilliant Flirt
By Ariel Kiley and Simone Kornfeld
Smitten asks that you toss aside your preconceived notions of flirting as merely tawdry trickery. Acknowledging that dating can be so fraught with anxiety and uncertainty that it can reduce many women (and men!) to nervous ninnies, this revelatory guide is divided into two sections. The first (and longer) section is all about "unveiling your luminescence," which is fancy talk for believing that you're a pretty cool chick—curious, open-minded and authentic. Self-confidence is the foundation of becoming a brilliant flirt. The second part of the book lays out eight flirtation techniques—including "the quirky question," revealing intelligence" and "decisive decisions"—that will "tap into your authenticity" and turn you into a veritable man-magnet. The book's focus on authenticity brings a refreshing dynamic to the genre.
From Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus to The Rules to He's Just Not That Into You—do you have a favorite dating/relationship guide?