First Impressions Are So Important

The Lyttle Lytton Contest honors the author who writes the worst opening line to his or her novel. It is named in honor of Edward George Bullwer-Lytton, who opened his 1830 novel Paul Clifford with the immortal words, "It was a dark and stormy night." Recent winners include: 2014 – "'Together, we will beat them all,'... Continue Reading →

Rags to Riches … and Back to Rags

Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832 – 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His books represent the "rags to riches" element of the American Dream. He died... Continue Reading →

He’s Just the Type Who Would Type

  Mark Twain was the first significant author to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher. By his own accounts, Mark Twain admitted that he did not actually do the typing himself, but rather hired someone to type it for him. In his unpublished autobiography, the famous American author stated he believed he was the... Continue Reading →

Funny… I Don’t Remember Being Absentminded

Jean de La Fontaine was a 17th century French author who wrote simple animal stories that contained elements of satire and social criticism. He was famous for his absentmindedness. He once called at the house of a friend whom he hadn't seen in some time. When reminded that his friend had died six months earlier,... Continue Reading →

You Mean Peter Parker Wasn’t the First Spider-Man?

Shortly before the start of the Marvel Era of comic books, Journey Into Mystery #73 published “Where will you be, when… The Spider Strikes!” In it, a common household spider was doused with radioactive rays. Instead of biting an unsuspecting high school student named Peter Parker, the spider instead began to develop the intelligence of a human being... Continue Reading →

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