Les Misérables: A Tale of Victor Hugo

In honor of what would be Victor Hugo’s 214th birthday (wow), enjoy a tribute to his most famous and longest-lived work, Les Misérables.

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Let’s start by defining what “les misérables” means. The literal translation is “the miserable ones,” but there remains the distinct possibility that the thematic significance of the title may still be a mystery.

It’s likely that there are a lot of people out there without even an inkling of an idea what Les Mis is actually about, so let’s set the scene: Continue Reading ›

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: Some of Our Favorite Literary Love Quotes

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It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. The media shows us two reactions to this little, commercial holiday: 1) the lovey dovey people feeding each other heart-shaped chocolates into their perfect, air-brushed mouths, and 2) single, bitter people, doubling down on the BOGO chocolate at the local grocery store. Many of us, however, do not adhere to that binary system and enjoy reading love stories, bundling up with chocolate and/or a significant other, and taking the holiday as basically an ordinary day with cheap chocolate. By the way, there are some good deals on boxed chocolate when V-Day finally rolls around.

In spirit of the holiday, enjoy the following collection of love-inspired quotes and the works from whence they came. Books don’t have to fall under the taboo heading of “romance” to have a little of the good stuff, otherwise known as love. Continue Reading ›

Cozy Up with a Classic

Who hasn’t read a 1,488 page epic of the French Revolution and thought, there should really be a version of this for infants. Nobody. Finally, two brothers are filling the void of classic literature for children under the age of 3. Okay, all mockery aside this is actually seriously cute. (So cute I had to borrow the felt versions of Darcy and Bingley for the cover of our latest Kindle Fire competition.) Meet “Cozy Classics”:

Brothers Jack and Holman Wang teamed up in 2012 to create Cozy Classics, an infant primer board-book series that adapts classic novels into twelve simple,  words that appear alongside photographs of handmade figurines. The brothers create the characters, sets, and props themselves through the painstaking process of needle-felting, a handcraft that involves the shaping of woolen fibers with a barbed needle. Each figure takes between eighteen and twenty-five hours to create. The first two titles—Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—were released this past November by Vancouver-based Simply Read Books; the next release, a cozy take on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, is forthcoming in April.

Here’s a glimpse of each of Cozy Classics’ titles so far, every page accompanied by its child-friendly word. Though the series may be developed for children, I have to say these might be too adorable (and adultly ironic) not to pick up for myself. Look for them in an Urban Outfitters near you soon.

Moby Dick




Pride and Prejudice




Les Misérables




To find out more about Cozy Classics, head to its website here. Still to come in Spring 2013, the Cozy version of War and Peace!