Wonderful Wanderlust: Books that Make You Want to go Places

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Travel is one of the most wonderful experiences granted to us – what other creature can say (relatively on a whim) that they want a change of scenery and to experience something new? With the potential exception of migratory birds, not many. So what influences us to want to see the sights? Often, it’s hearing about grand adventures or seeing pictures of some far-off land. But there is another medium that gives us an itch to get going: literature, books, stories, etc. Reading the story of a life somewhere far, far away makes us yearn to see the places the author describes.

That being said, it is important to note that not everything happening in all countries is peachy. Many books (set in the U.S. and around the world) focus on the strife and turmoil happening within those borders, and it’s relatively impossible and perhaps irresponsible to make a booklist that ignores drama and conflict. So please, enjoy the following list, make some travel plans, learn some stuff, and stay safe out there! Continue Reading ›

Owl Eyes Annotated Texts: A Great Resource to Add to Your Teacher Toolbox  

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The beginning of a new season is always a good time to consider new ways to engage students in the classroom. One way to do it—only a few keyboard clicks away—is to incorporate Owl Eyes annotated texts into lesson plans and instruction.

In case you’re unfamiliar with using the annotated texts at Owl Eyes, here are a few things to know to get started. First of all, they’re free, and they’re comprehensive! At Owl Eyes you will find hundreds of poems, short stories, novels, and essays to which instructional annotations have been added throughout the texts—and hundreds of additional annotated works are on the way. Continue Reading ›

Literary Nostalgia: A Few Favorite Reads from Over the Decades

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One of the best things about books is that they can be about anything. Anything. There are post-apocalyptic stories dating all the way back to ancient times, and a lot of those wild and crazy stories about medieval kings and primordial gods are still being read today (thank you, oral tradition). As it happens, some of the best books are also some of the oldest books, and epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey never go out of style. Continue Reading ›

8 “To Kill a Mockingbird” Quotes that Exemplify Harper Lee’s Legacy

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As the sad news of Harper Lee‘s passing hit us and the rest of the literary crowd this morning, we’ve decided to compile some of the best lines from To Kill a Mockingbirdinarguably one of the most influential and important novels in our lifetime. These lines, in context and out, are simultaneously ethereal and grounded, simple and complex.

Lee’s legacy in TKAM will be continuing to show students and readers about the importance of love, tolerance, and friendship. Rest in peace, Harper Lee. Continue Reading ›

Vicious and Delicious: The Best of Literature’s Foulest Characters

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To be sure, some of the best characters in literature are the so-called “good guys,” but let’s face it: these goody-goodies are rarely the most interesting characters in the story. Most of us, most of the time, want to see good triumph over evil in the end, but we’re really interested in what the villains are up to. Think about it: if not for Ursula in “The Little Mermaid,” Ariel would never have even had the chance to get some land-legs; she would’ve stayed a lady-fish and Eric would’ve married a human and had pretty babies.

In honor of these dynamic characters and their questionable motives, enjoy the following list of some of our favorite fictional criminals/murderers/psychopaths from literary history. Continue Reading ›

Shakespeare on Love: A Love for Modern Times?

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For one often hailed as the Bard of love stories, Shakespeare sure has a weird way of showing/telling it. Even his most famous tale of romance, Romeo and Juliet, is a little…off…in the love department, at least for modern times.

Romeo and Juliet isn’t the only Shakespeare work that is little bit strange; in fact a pretty large number of his works depict love in ways that are off-putting. Even the most dedicated Shakespeare fan has to acknowledge that the fairy shenanigans in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the sheer wickedness of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew are a little less than appealing to one who loves love. Continue Reading ›

10 Popular Songs With Literary Roots

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Books, movies, music… the media. They influence and mimic (and steal from) one another, resulting in a rich network of ideas and entertainment.

At eNotes, we are unabashedly biased toward the written word (#BookNerdPride), and become giddy when books are the source of motion pictures or other modern cultural benchmarks. While bopping my head to some Lana Del Rey last week, “hey, Lolita, heyyyy” blasted through my headphones; I became curious about other modern songs with bookish Easter eggs. A bit of Wikipedia studious research later, and I was pleasantly surprised with all the hit songs with literary inspirations. Continue Reading ›