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The Limerick: A Brief History

 One of the first limericks known to man. Note the obscenity in line two.

Sunday, May 12, is National Limerick Day, an event traditionally celebrated by dressing like Edward Lear and rhyming things with Nantucket. But for all the hallowed tradition surrounding this beloved poetic form, most of us know precious little about the limerick and how it became such a popular from of rhymery. So this weekend, while you're out mailing limerick cards and singing limerick carols and visiting the nuclear power plant in Limerick, PA, take a moment to ponder the storied history of this simple but profound method of expressing life's truths.

Posted by Rick Chillot

Back from the Dead and Taking Selfies: Classic Authors on Instagram

With its insta-social, insta-vintage snapshot-sharing network, Instagram would be the ideal way to keep up with the lives of your favorite authors… if it weren't so biased to authors who are still alive, that is.

Fortunately, with a little imagination (and Photoshop), we've whipped up some perfect pix to flesh out the feeds of a few dearly departed literary darlings. 

Posted by Kristen Humbert

From Cthulhu to Yeats: Some Of Our Favorite Songs Inspired By Literature

The Cure (Photo via)

Morrissey taught us that Keats and Yeats are on our sides, Syd Barrett set James Joyce’s poem V from Chamber Music to, well, music (Stevie Nicks did something similar with Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee”), and heavy metal vocalists are obsessed with Victorian horror.

Literature and music go together like cheddar cheese and grape jelly – er, okay, maybe that’s just my weird proclivity. Let’s say peanut butter and grape jelly! Read on for some of our favorite literary bedfellows.

Posted by Carrie Jo Tucker

Books You Avoided Reading In High School (But Really Should Read Now)

We all did it. It's sort of a universal right-of-passage for teenagers, avoiding the reading assignments for English class. It's not that teenagers despise books, but the numerous "chapter questions" that go along with reading the book that your teacher assigned makes everything about it dreadful. No doubt there are copies of every William Shakespeare play hidden under the contents of messy lockers at this very moment.

Still, if growing up has taught me anything, it's that those books assigned to us in high school actually were worth reading. And now that you're, presumably, able to read for pleasure, I recommend reading (or maybe re-reading if you were studious and actually did your work) the following books. You can enjoy them now as they should have been enjoyed years ago since you won't be quizzed at the end of the month on what colour shirt the main character was wearing in Chapter 7.

Posted by Maria Vicente

QUARANTINED: Five Literary Viruses (And Their Real-World Counterparts)

I – along with half the nation, it seems – am sick. I’ve quarantined myself with a pile of books, whiskey, and tissues, indulging in Oh-My-God-It’s-Really-The-Apocalypse theories (which now come with Extra Fever!). Seriously – the CDC says 2013 is shaping up to be the worst flu season ever, viruses replicate at record speed, and vaccine-less danger lurks inside every dented canned good (yes, I’m still so afraid of botulism that I won’t even touch a damaged can at the grocery store).

So herewith, an indulgence of my flu-induced paranoia: some of the worst literary viruses that led to apocalyptic meltdowns, complete with unscientific probability percentages based on nothing more than speculation, a few real-world comparisons, and Extra Fever!

Posted by Carrie Jo Tucker

How to Write a Letter: Advice from the Jane Austen Handbook

Today, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice celebrates its 200th anniversary. 

As Quirk fans know, we sure to do love Jane Austen here at the HQ, what with our mashups like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. To celebrate, we've got some giveaways on our Facebook, the interactive eBook App for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is free (today's the last day!), and I've got this cute excerpt from the Jane Austen Handbook on letter writing. 

Why letter writing?

Letters play an important part in Pride & Prejudice (ie: the letter Darcy writes to Elizabeth and Jane's letter about Lydia running off with Wichkham) and a lot of other Austen books. 

So read on, and learn how to write and prepare a proper, Jane Austen era note. Enjoy! 

Posted by Eric Smith