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  • THE SECRET LIVES OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTS by Cormac O'Brien ($3.99)

    KINDLE / NOOK / KOBO / IBOOKS

    Your high school history teachers never gave you a book like this one! Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents features outrageous and uncensored profiles of the men in the White House-complete with hundreds of little-known, politically incorrect, and downright wacko facts. You’ll discover that:

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    In our darkest hours, it is comforting to know that the leaders of our country are doing everything they can to save us, whether it’s fighting off an alien invasion or trying to prevent a giant asteroid from obliterating us all. Here are some of our favorite fictional presidents who saved the day!

  • You probably know about "The Elf on a Shelf," a toy that parents can use to convince kids that a creepy elf is watching their every move. Which is basically the plot of George Orwell's 1984, right? So we wondered...what other forms of Thing-on-a-Thing-based holiday behavior modification could be taken from classic and contemporary literature? The possiblities are endless... or at least six.

  • Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay

    This Bastille Day, let’s raise a glass of fine (French) wine to some of the most influential French writers of the 20th century. Their thoughts and words helped to shape storytelling, invent new, mystical places, and highlight the hardships of the human condition. These authors have spun tales of fantasy, adventure, and existentialism—and we love them for it. So grab a bottle, relax on a chaise longue, and crack open a book by one of these literary masters. Vive la France!

  •  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.

  • That's Miss Dragon Girl to you, pal.

     

    Admit it: you wish your name were more interesting. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but a Daenerys just wouldn’t sound as awesome if she were a Dana (no offense, of course, to the Danas of the world—I’m sure you’re all lovely people).

    Westerosians get names full of weird letters and strange spellings, but we normals are saddled with names that are...kinda boring. Luckily, English has a vast, rich, and totally weird history of being spelled completely differently, once upon a time. Forget your first pet’s name or the name of the street where you grew up—all you need to spiff up your moniker are a few forgotten graphemes. Swap out the appropriate sounds in your name for their ancient equivalent and you’ll be mistaken for an Enya album in no time.

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