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11 Things We Read This Week: 11/04/2019
04 Nov 2019

11 Things We Read This Week: 11/04/2019

A weekly roundup of surprising, insightful and interesting stories from the Internet

By Courtney Suciu

  1. Find out the story behind The Discouerie of Witchcraft, believed to be the first book in English on the topic of magic. You can also peruse this “grimoire” courtesy of the Library of Congress and ProQuest Early English Books.
  2. See Peruvian scholar Roxana Quispe Collantes defend her dissertation in Quechua, the primary, now-endangered language of the Incan empire. Her doctoral thesis (on the topic of Quechuan poetry) is also the first to be written in the language.
  3. How much do you love Jane Austen? Enough to live like her? Meet the people who do – at least on the weekend.
  4. Letters from soldiers sent to their loved ones back home reveal to us the personal impact of war. Read about one historian’s quest to rescue millions of these frail eyewitness accounts from attics, basements, garage sales and trash bins.
  5. Here’s a look at the multitude of ways libraries are an essential part of our lives and communities – not in the least because they are one of the few public spaces where everyone is truly welcome.
  6. Did you know Dante referenced the Capulets and the Montagues in the Inferno long before Shakespeare wrote about the feuding families in his best-known love story? Discover what else you might not know the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet.
  7. Historian Marnie Hughes-Warrington laments that “wonder is sadly absent from much of our discussions on history and philosophy today.” Why does she think we would benefit by being more baffled and discomforted by the past?
  8. We moody sorts don’t need to be told that French poet Charles Baudelaire, that “flower of evil” himself, was the “godfather of goths,” but here’s a little primer for the rest of you.
  9. Check out this footage of a couple of masked bandits making mischief in the Arkansas State Library – and looking kinda cute in the process.
  10. Discover what analysis of 8 million books and 65 million newspaper articles going back to 1820 reveal about national happiness.
  11. And, finally, how does your favorite fictional librarian rank in LitHub’s compilation of the top 50?

*Image: An 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown depicting Romeo and Juliet's famous balcony scene, available from the public domain.

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Courtney Suciu is ProQuest’s lead blog writer. Her loves include libraries, literacy and researching extraordinary stories related to the arts and humanities. She has a Master’s Degree in English literature and a background in teaching, journalism and marketing. Follow her @QuirkySuciu

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