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7 of Literature's Most Desirable Leading Men

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What did women do before we had People magazine to define ultimate attractiveness and tell us which leading man is the Sexiest Man Alive? Since the sexiness of said men is debatable and so many more worthy contenders are passed over, I suggest adding fictional men to the ballot. Literary characters are timeless; they never age, lose their looks or compromise their reputation. A self-proclaimed book nerd, I maintain that the most attractive men exist in the world of stories. Obviously I haven't read every book ever written and I prefer certain genres and characters, but let me nominate my top seven über-attractive men from literature. (Warning: Some spoilers ahead.)

1. Mr. Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Ladies, regardless of how good Colin Firth looks in the infamous wet, white shirt, we know that it's the real Fitzwilliam Darcy who captures the heart of every Jane Austen fan at some point. He's deliciously dark. He broods. And yes, he's proud. And all this makes Mr. Darcy my number one leading man. What do I love most about Darcy? Besides the aforementioned brooding, which I cannot resist, his attractiveness increases with his willingness to go against tradition and societal pressures to love and marry the witty and independent heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet. Plus, all those repressed emotions! One of my favorite Darcy moments comes when Elizabeth and that horrid Caroline Bingley take a walk around the room and ask Darcy if he would like to join them. His flirtatious response?

"He was as much awake to the novelty of attention in the quarter as Elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book...

"You either choose this method of passing the evening because you are in each other's confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, I would be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire."

2. Gilbert Blythe (from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery)

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Growing up bookish with a love for writing, I was convinced that Anne Shirley and I would be bosom friends if only I were Canadian and living in the fictional series. But although I wished for Anne's friendship, I wanted to steal Gil away for myself. He loves her from the beginning (red hair and all), gives her his teaching job so she can live at home, resiliently endures her rejection of his marriage proposal, and inspires Anne to write her first published book! And even though it takes her longer to realize his perfection, he waits until she realizes it's not sunbursts or marble halls that she wants. It's Gil: the perfect man for the chronically romantic.

3. Almanzo Wilder (from Farmer Boy and other books by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

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Quiet yet courageous farmer boy Almanzo Wilder won my childhood heart as he won over prairie girl Laura Ingalls. A hardworking farmer who loved horses and carpentry, Almanzo proves his extraordinary bravery and noble character when he risks his life traveling on foot in a blizzard to look for wheat--which no one is certain is even available. He survives and saves the Ingalls family and the town! And while courting Laura, Almanzo picks her up in his carriage when she finishes teaching school. What a gentleman! Eventually, he suffers partial paralysis resulting from a nasty bout of diphtheria and always walks with a limp afterwards, but that only makes Almanzo all the nobler and totally swoon-worthy.

4. Mr. Rochester (from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)

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What can I say? Issues are hot, and Edward Rochester has an aura of danger about him and an abundance of issues. The (again) dark and broody hero of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester has a tormented sense of responsibility to care for his crazy wife locked in the attic, custody of a bratty French girl who isn't his biological child, Thornfield Hall and his name to uphold, and a burgeoning love for Jane to deal with. Perhaps it's just his dark, mysterious nature, or that he tries to do right, even risking his life, but lustful Mr. Rochester is a tortured soul. What woman could resist?

5. Edmond Dantès (from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas)

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Better known as The Count of Monte Cristo in the book by Dumas, Edmond Dantès starts out as a dashing young sailor betrothed to the beautiful Mercédès. After being set up as a traitor to the crown, Dantès is sentenced to rot in prison and loses his fiancé to her jealous cousin! To seek out revenge and clear his name, Dantès reinvents himself and assumes six other aliases, along the way charming just about everyone in Paris with his ruggedly handsome looks and a smile both angelic and diabolic. A good man with a dark past? Quelle mysteriouse!

6. George Emerson (from A Room With a View by E.M. Forster)

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When I travel abroad, I never meet dashing, disturbed Englishmen when there is a mix-up with our hotel rooms. Why is that? When proper, young Englishwoman Lucy Honeychurch (she even brings a chaperone!) travels abroad in Italy, fortuitously she encounters the rogue George Emerson on numerous occasions: at a hotel, at an art museum and of course, while witnessing a murder in the streets, after which he catches her when she faints. When they meet accidentally on a lush Italian hillside, George personifies the romance associated with Italy:

"George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her."

Forbidden love considered socially irresponsible by Edwardian Englanders? Sign me up!

7. Enjolras (from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo)

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Forget that lovesick pansy Marius. I prefer the charismatic leader of the student revolution, Enjolras. Just the sound of his name makes me want to quit my job and fight for France. A devout believer in democracy and equality, Enjolras's ragtag followers look up to him in awe, even the most cynical describing their fierce leader as a "greek god." Alas, ever the hero, Enjolras ends up a martyr for the cause, and that kind of conviction and passion makes my mouth water. Vive la France!

Although I mentioned only seven ideal mates here, I know I have more literary crushes and you do as well. Share the wealth in the comments while I catch up on my (re)reading.

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This Week's Best Amazon Deals You Can Still Get
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As a recurring feature, our team combs the Web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, August 20.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

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TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones, Sweatproof Wireless In Ear Earbuds, Sports Magnetic Earphones with Built in Mic (IPX5 Splash Proof Rating, aptX Stereo, Up to 7 Hours of Talk Time, Ceramic Antenna) for $25.99 (list price $69.99)

New Matter MOD-t Desktop 3D Printer | Built-In WiFi, Easy to Use, Safe and Quiet for $269.10 (list price $399.00)

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Invoxia Smart Portable Speaker with Amazon Alexa, Green for $199.00 (list price $199.00)

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The Keyboard Waffle Iron for $54.75 (list price $69.99)

Curva Artisan Series Double Wall Beverage Glasses and Tumblers - Unique 8 oz Thermo Insulated Drinking Glasses, Set of 4 for $26.31 (list price $26.31)

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Vornado VFAN Vintage Air Circulator Fan, Vintage White for $95.00 (list price $119.99)

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Rexford Mid-Century Walnut Table Lamp Set of 2 for $119.98 (list price $179.99)

Seville Classics 3-Tier Resin Slat Utility Shoe Rack, Espresso for $29.99 (list price $34.40)

Byredo - Burning Rose Candle for $68.24 (list price $95.00)

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Deco 79 68135 Metal Bookend Pair for $28.40 (list price $57.00)

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Eames Style Aluminum Group Management Office Chair Reproduction Leather White for $345.00 (list price $1,345.00)

Acrylic Desktop, Folder and Makeup Palette Organizer - Mail, Paper/Paperwork Organizer - File Sorter; File Folder Holder - Laptop Rack - by Unum - Black and Clear, 9" x 6.75" x 6.5" for $20.99 (list price $29.99)

Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse for $23.53 (list price $29.95)

Arteza Real Brush Pens - 24-Colors - Watercolor Markers - (Set of 24) for $21.99 (list price $66.99)

KABB Modern Digital Mechanical Retro Flip Dоwn Clock wіth Internal Gear Operated (Black) for $43.99 (list price $89.99)

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Sharpie Tank Highlighters, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 12-Count for $4.99 (list price $12.96)

Scotch Magic Tape, 3/4 x 1000 Inches, Boxed, 6 Rolls (810K6) for $9.89 (list price $11.45)

Wilson Jones 3 Ring Binder 3 Inch, Round Ring View Binder, Basic, 362 Series, Customizable, White (W362-49W) for $4.89 (list price $7.18)

eBoot 12 Inches Plastic Ruler Straight Ruler Plastic Measuring Tool for Student School Office, Clear, 2 Pack for $6.99 (list price $8.99)

Mead Composition Notebook, College Ruled, 100 Sheets, 5 Pack (72930) for $13.90 (list price $20.30)

Personal Daily Planner Organizer Will Help You to Keep Work-Life Balance & Achieve a Little More Goals - NO DATES Calendar Planner ( 8,5 X 5,7 ) - Diary Notebook for Man and Women 2017 / 2018 / 2019 for $18.99 (list price $29.99)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

Conair Oval Shaped Double-Sided Lighted Makeup Mirror, 1x/7x magnification, Polished Chrome Finish for $26.09 (list price $34.99)

Mudder Silicone Cosmetic Containers Cream Jar with Sealed Lids, 3 Pieces (20 ml) for $8.99 (list price $14.99)

Dukes Daily Age-Defying Facial Moisturizer Cream 4oz - Anti-Aging Lotion - Day/Night Face Wash Fuel for Men – All Organic for $19.99 (list price $45.00)

Himalayan Pink Salt Bar Soap Bar with Rose (Everest) (4 Oz)- Handmade Organic with Essential Oils. Natural Moisturizing Body Soap for Skin and Face. With Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Natural Glycerin for $7.99 (list price $9.00)

Umbra Stowit Jewelry Box - Modern Keepsake Storage Organizer with Hidden Compartment Drawers for Ring, Bracelet, Watch, Necklace, Earrings, and Accessories for $42.05 (list price $60.00)

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OUTDOORS, GARDEN, AND SPORTS

Poler Men's Retro Rolltop Backpack, Black, One Size for $63.71 (list price $74.95)

Everstryke Match Pro Lighter - Waterproof Fire Starter Especially for Survival and Emergency Use for $9.99 (list price $29.95)

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Schwinn Discover Women's Hybrid Bike (700C Wheels),White,28" for $249.39 (list price $275.37)

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Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike, Red for $117.87 (list price $129.99)

eBags Crew Cooler II (Blue Yonder) for $34.99 (list price $49.99)

2 Pack Swimming Cap - TURATA Waterproof Unisex Premium Earmuffs Silicone No-Slip Swimming Cap for Adults Kids Woman and Men One Size Hat - Black & Blue for $11.99 (list price $29.99)

SEMOO Water Resistant ,2-3 Person,1 Door,3-Season Lightweight Tent for Camping with Carry Bag for $42.99 (list price $79.98)

Moon Lence Outdoor Ultralight Portable Folding Chairs with Carry Bag Heavy Duty 242lbs Capacity Camping Folding Chairs Beach Chairs for $34.99 (list price $67.99)

TOOLS

Bosch GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner for $65.00 (list price $69.99)

True Utility FIXR Multi-Tool (20 Tools in 1) for $4.09 (list price $14.99)

GlowGeek 120 to 3000 Grit Sandpaper Assortment, Dry/Wet, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 42 Pieces,Sand Paper for Automotive Sanding, Wood Furniture Finishing, Wood Turing Finishing for $9.96 (list price $24.99)

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Dremel 2200-01 Versa Flame Multi-Function Butane Torch for $39.00 (list price $42.99)

Plus Pen Style Compact Twiggy Scissors with Cover, White (34609) for $4.36 (list price $5.99)

Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool for $79.00 (list price $99.00)

Southwire Tools & Equipment POUCH4 Leather Tool Pouch for $15.28 (list price $17.98)

NoCry Safety Glasses with Clear Anti Fog Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses and No-Slip Grips, UV Protection. Adjustable, Black & Green Frames for $9.39 (list price $10.49)

Signstek 45 in 1 Professional Portable Opening Precision Screwdriver Hand Tools Kit Set with Tweezers & Extension Shaft for Precise Repair Maintenance for $8.00 (list price $19.99)

Bingogous 5.0Ah 20V Max Premium XR Lithium Li-ion Replacement Battery for Dewalt DCB205 Dewalt DCB180,DCB204-2,DCB205-2,DCB200-2,DCB200 Dewalt DCD/DCF/DCG Series Dewalt 20V Battery 2 Pack for $59.99 (list price $99.99)

ORIA 86 in 1 Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnet Repair Tool Kit with Portable Bag for iPhone/ Cell Phone/ iPad/ Tablet/ PC/ MacBook and Other Electronics for $29.99 (list price $89.99)

Hole Saw Sets,16 Pcs Hole Saw Kit 3/4"-5" Inch Metal Circle Cutter Wood Steel Saws with Mandrels and Install Plate for Door Knob Lock for $16.14 (list price $18.99)

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Big Questions
Should You Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Solar Eclipse?
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PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

By now, you probably know what you’ll be doing on August 21, when a total solar eclipse makes its way across the continental United States. You’ve had your safety glasses ready since January (and have confirmed that they’ll actually protect your retinas), you’ve picked out the perfect vantage point in your area for the best view, and you’ve memorized Nikon’s tips for how to take pictures of this rare celestial phenomenon. Still, it feels like you’re forgetting something … and it’s probably the thing that's been right under your nose, and sitting on your lap, the whole time: your pets.

Even if you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse, you undoubtedly know that you’re never supposed to look directly at the sun during one. But what about your four-legged family members? Shouldn’t Fido be fitted with a pair of eclipse glasses before he heads out for his daily walk? Could Princess Kitty be in danger of having her peepers singed if she’s lounging on her favorite windowsill? While, like humans, looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse does pose the potential of doing harm to a pet’s eyes, it’s unlikely that the thought would even occur to the little ball of fluff.

“It’s no different than any other day,” Angela Speck, co-chair of the AAS National Solar Eclipse Task Force, explained during a NASA briefing in June. “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either. It is not a concern, letting them outside. All that’s happened is we’ve blocked out the sun, it’s not more dangerous. So I think that people who have pets want to think about that. I’m not going to worry about my cat.”

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian, author, and founder of pawcurious, echoed Speck’s statement, but allowed that there’s no such thing as being too cautious. “It’s hard for me to criticize such a well-meaning warning, because there’s really no harm in following the advice to keep pets inside during the eclipse,” Vogelsang told Snopes. “It’s better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. But in the interest of offering a realistic risk assessment, the likelihood of a pet ruining their eyes the same way a human would during an eclipse is much lower—not because the damage would be any less were they to stare at the sun, but because, from a behavior standpoint, dogs and cats just don’t have any interest in doing so. We tend to extrapolate a lot of things from people to pets that just doesn’t bear out, and this is one of them.

“I’ve seen lots of warnings from the astronomy community and the human medical community about the theoretical dangers of pets and eclipses, but I’m not sure if any of them really know animal behavior all that well," Vogelsang continued. "It’s not like there’s a big outcry from the wildlife community to go chase down coyotes and hawks and bears and give them goggles either. While we in the veterinary community absolutely appreciate people being concerned about their pets’ wellbeing, this is a non-issue for us.”

The bigger issue, according to several experts, would be with pets who are already sensitive to Mother Nature. "If you have the sort of pet that's normally sensitive to shifts in the weather, they might be disturbed by just the whole vibe because the temperature will drop and the sky will get dark,” Melanie Monteiro, a pet safety expert and author of The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out, told TODAY.

“If [your pets] have learned some association with it getting darker, they will show that behavior or at a minimum they get confused because the timeframe does not correspond,” Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn Vet Hospital told CBS Philly. “You might put the blinds down, but not exactly when the dark is coming but when it is still light.” 

While Monteiro again reasserts that, "Dogs and cats don't normally look up into the sun, so you don't need to get any special eye protection for your pets,” she says that it’s never a bad idea to take some extra precautions. So if you’re headed out to an eclipse viewing party, why not do your pets a favor and leave them at home. They won’t even know what they’re missing.

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