Get Lost in This Collection of Pulp Covers of Classic Works of Literature

Tom Simpson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Tom Simpson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You're probably familiar with the term "pulp fiction," referring to books printed on cheap "pulp" paper with covers featuring sexy illustrations of bombshells and studs. Originating in the first half of the 20th century, these books weren't known for their quality; these were lowbrow detective novels, romances, and sci-fi aimed at the general public.

But pulp covers aren't only reserved for second-rate titles. Classic works of literature have been reimagined in the lurid style, too. As Emily Temple at Lit Hub reported, pulp editions of classic novels have been printed since the 1940s and '50s, and they were done in the same style as the genre fodder. The strategy here was to sell the literary canon to the average reader, even though they would likely find that the book they were reading was not as sexy as the cover seemed to imply (although, as readers of the classics know, those hallowed tomes have their risqué moments, too.)

Temple has compiled 50 of these over-the-top, endlessly absurd covers for your browsing pleasure, including works from Jane Austen, the Brontës, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and George Orwell. Here are a few of the best:

1984 and Heart of Darkness pulp covers

Courtesy of Steve, Flickr

Of course Signet picked 1984's Junior Anti-Sex League as the source of the cover art for this 1954 edition of George Orwell's classic. Sex sells, and so does slapping the words "Forbidden Love" on the cover. As for this copy of Heart of Darkness from 1952: literally everyone on the cover is shirtless.

Madame Bovary pulp cover
Heritage Auctions

The red lipstick and the pose make Madame Bovary look more like a 1950s pin-up girl than a woman living in the 19th century.

What are these people's clothes made out of? Silk? Clouds? Mist?

Head to Lit Hub to peruse the full collection.

[h/t Lit Hub]

Patrick Stewart Is Reading a Different Shakespeare Sonnet Live Every Day

Jack Taylor/Stringer/Getty Images
Jack Taylor/Stringer/Getty Images

While they're stuck inside during the novel coronavirus pandemic, some celebrities are connecting with fans through reading. Sir Patrick Stewart has joined the trend, and as Lithub reports, the classically trained actor is bringing a Shakespearean twist to his virtual live-reads.

Since March 22, Stewart has been a reciting a sonnet a day for his Instagram followers. He started with William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, and after receiving such a positive response, he vowed to continuing reading through the Bard's body of 14-lined poems.

"When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn't much) and as she put it in front of me she would say: 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away,'" he wrote in one video caption. "How about, 'A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away'?"

In addition to Sonnet 116, the Star Trek and X-Men actor has read through sonnets 1 through 17 of Shakespeare's 154. After they're broadcast over his IGTV feed, each reading is available on his Instagram profile.

The internet is currently rife with celebrity readings to suit every literary taste. Dolly Parton has been reading children's bedtime stories every Thursday night, while LeVar Burton is hosting readings three times a week for kids, teenagers, and adults. Here are more virtual ways to stay entertained in quarantine.

[h/t Lithub]

Audible Makes Hundreds of Audiobooks Available for Free While Schools Are Closed

This gleeful teen is probably not listening to Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.
This gleeful teen is probably not listening to Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.
max-kegfire/iStock via Getty Images

To keep kids occupied and educated at home, Audible recently launched “Audible Stories,” a completely free online library with hundreds of audiobooks that’ll stay “open” for as long as schools are closed.

The stories are split into categories like “Littlest Listeners,” “Elementary,” “Tween,” and “Teen,” so parents can easily choose an age-appropriate bedtime story for their toddlers, and high-schoolers can automatically bypass titles like ABC: Learn Your Alphabet With Songs and Rhymes. And while the platform might’ve been created mainly for the benefit of housebound schoolchildren, you definitely don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the calming adventures of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. There’s even a “Literary Classics” section with audiobooks that appeal to listeners of any age, like Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Some of the audiobooks even feature the familiar voices of top-notch talent from your favorite films and television series. Westworld’s Thandie Newton narrates Jane Eyre, Scarlett Johansson lends her versatile voice to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Rachel McAdams brings her own spirited spin to Anne of Green Gables. The crown jewel of the site is probably Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, read by Stephen Fry.

You don’t need an Audible account or the Audible app to access the platform. Just open "stories.audible.com" in any web browser on any device. And if you want to take a break from listening, Audible will save your spot (but only for the most recent audiobook you’ve played).

The digital library is not just for English-speaking users—there are titles narrated in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, too, including foreign-language versions of classics like Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. If you're interested in Audible's full offering, you can try out a 30-day free trial.

Looking for something to do while you listen? Here’s how to grow your own yeast for sourdough bread.

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