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7 Bizarre Re-Imaginings of Pride and Prejudice

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By Scott Meslow

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an obsessive Jane Austen fan in possession of a Macbook must eventually write their own version of Pride and Prejudice. So 200 years to the day after Austen first published the classic novel, let's take a look at the pervasive trend of "Pride and Prejudice variation" — a name for any story that takes Austen's original novel and mashes it up with the author's own work. Over the years, the lure of Pride & Prejudice has been powerful, attracting noted authors (P.D. James, who released the sequel Death Comes to Pemberly in 2011) and spawning the occasional literary sensation (2009's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which became an unlikely bestseller and earned two sequels of its own). But for every re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice that manages to break into the mainstream, there are dozens of oddities lurking in obscurity. Here, 7 bizarre literary re-imaginings of Pride and Prejudice.

1. Vampire Darcy's Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation

Twilight novel came out, we saw the release of not one, but two books that rewrite Pride and Prejudice to make Mr. Darcy a vampire. (Vampire Darcy's Desire is not to be confused with Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.) "Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Mr. Darcy vows to live forever alone rather than inflict the horrors of life as a vampire on an innocent wife," says the book's plot description. "As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a 'pride and prejudice' never before imagined — while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love."

2. Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks

Do you love Jane Austen, but wish she had written more about curling? Congratulations! You're the incredibly narrow target audience for Andrea Marie Brokaw's modern re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice, in which the teenaged Darcy Bennet crosses brooms with the infuriating (but handsome!) Lucas Fitzwilliam as she pursues her dream of being an Olympic curler.

3. Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens

"The truth is out there, though it is not universally acknowledged," says the tagline for Jonathan Pinnock's Pride and Prejudice sequel Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens, which submits that Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennet) spent the years following her marriage attempting to rescue her sister Lydia — and, by extension, the rest of regency England — from an alien invasion. "Most unexpected," says a stoically polite representative from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

4. Pride and Prejudice with a Side of Grits: A Southern-fried Version of Jane Austen's classic

This re-imagining trades the stuffy British colloquialisms of Jane Austen's comedy of manners for what author Mary Calhoun Brown describes as "the dialect of the American South." The "Southern-fried" version of the original novel's famous opening line: "Jest 'bout everybody 'round here knows that if'n a feller's got two cents to rub together, he's a-lookin' fer a right-nice girl to git hitched to."

5. Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition

It's safe to say that the literary Mr. Darcy has inspired a bedroom fantasy or two, but the aptly-named Michelle Pillow takes the original novel's subtext and makes it explicit — to say the least — in the "wild and wanton" rewrite of Pride & Prejudice. "From first kiss to orgasmic finish, this book is every Austen fan's dream come true — the story you love, with the heat turned up to high," promises the book's description.

6. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

Author Heather Lynn Ragaud's modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy as the "tall, dark, and enigmatic virtuoso guitarist" of a band called Slurry, which invites a band called Long Borne Suffering — led by singer Elizabeth Bennet — to join them on their latest tour. "The music's hot, but backstage is an inferno," says the book's description.

7. Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret

The synopsis of Vera Nazarian's wonderfully if puzzlingly named Pride and Platypus does not, in fact, include any platypuses — but it does include pretty much everything else. "The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness — all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!" A "delightful illustrated edition" is also available.

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Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Reading Aloud to Your Kids Can Promote Good Behavior and Sharpen Their Attention
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Some benefits of reading aloud to children are easy to see. It allows parents to introduce kids to books that they're not quite ready to read on their own, thus improving their literacy skills. But a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the simple act of reading to your kids can also influence their behavior in surprising ways.

As The New York Times reports, researchers looked at young children from 675 low-income families. Of that group, 225 families were enrolled in a parent-education program called the Video Interaction Project, or VIP, with the remaining families serving as the control.

Participants in VIP visited a pediatric clinic where they were videotaped playing and reading with their children, ranging in age from infants to toddlers, for about five minutes. Following the sessions, videos were played back for parents so they could see how their kids responded to the positive interactions.

They found that 3-year-olds taking part in the study had a much lower chance of being aggressive or hyperactive than children in the control group of the same age. The researchers wondered if these same effects would still be visible after the program ended, so they revisited the children 18 months later when the kids were approaching grade-school age. Sure enough, the study subjects showed fewer behavioral problems and better focus than their peers who didn't receive the same intervention.

Reading to kids isn't just a way to get them excited about books at a young age—it's also a positive form of social interaction, which is crucial at the early stages of social and emotional development. The study authors write, "Such programs [as VIP] can result in clinically important differences on long-term educational outcomes, given the central role of behavior for child learning."

Being read to is something that can benefit all kids, but for low-income parents working long hours and unable to afford childcare, finding the time for it is often a struggle. According to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, only 34 percent of children under 5 in families below the poverty line were read to every day, compared with 60 percent of children from wealthier families. One way to narrow this divide is by teaching new parents about the benefits of reading to their children, possibly when they visit the pediatrician during the crucial first months of their child's life.

[h/t The New York Times]

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