SparkNotes Blog

The Book Report: There’s a Dog That Only Responds to Harry Potter Spells, Bram Stoker’s Descendant is Writing a Dracula Prequel, & More

Welcome back to the Book Report, where I bring you the latest in book-related news. This is something I do because I love talking about books, but the only people who will listen are my significant other and that one guy at the bus stop who is frankly more interested in talking about government conspiracies and cheese. Anyway.

8/25/17: Two Rival Colleges Are Arguing About How to Spell Shakespeare’s Name

I think we are all, for the most part, spelling it “Shakespeare.” I think everyone agreed on that at some point. But when the University of Southern California unveiled their new village complex (which cost $700 million), its statue included an inscription quoting Hamlet that spelled the Bard’s name as “Shakespear.” Their rival college was quick to call them out. USC doubled down by saying Shakespeare’s surname has been spelled many ways over the years and they totally did this on purpose. According to a professor who actually knows this stuff, scholars of yore have indeed spelled it multiple ways, including “Shakspeare, Shakspere, Shakespear, Shaksper, Shackspeare, even Shagspere.”

This angers me greatly. We’ve been spelling it “Shakespeare,” like fools, when we could have been spelling it “Shagspere” all along.

9/7/17: Bram Stoker’s Descendant is Writing a Prequel Movie to Dracula

If you’ve ever wondered about Dracula’s origin story, good news! Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, is co-writing the “official” prequel, a movie called Dracul.

A bit of relevant background info: Dacre Stoker also wrote a Dracula SEQUEL in 2009 called Dracula: The Un-Dead. Spoiler alert! It features the original novel’s merry band of vampire-killing heroes, except now they’re all alcoholics and terrible parents. The primary villain is history’s very own Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who is apparently a deranged lesbian vampire. Dracula has a son, who winds up on the Titanic. (I’m SERIOUS.) Given this information, I can tell you what I’ll be doing as soon as this movie hits theaters, and that is seeing it immediately.

9/6/17: This Little Girl Found a Sword in King Arthur’s Lake, Is Now Technically Queen of England

Look, I don’t know you or how many weapons you’ve found in lakes. But have you ever found one in Cornwall’s Dozmary Pool? According to medieval lore, this is where King Arthur tossed Excalibur, that sword he famously pulled out of a rock one time. Legend has it that only the true sovereign of England can possess it. Last week, a seven-year-old girl was swimming in the exact same lake and happened upon a sword. Coincidence? Maybe, but we should probably all start worshipping her anyway, just to be safe.

9/9/17: This Dog Purportedly Only Responds to Harry Potter Spell Commands

I’m not even going to explain this one. I’m going to the video from UNILAD Film do all the talking.

9/10/17: All of Ernest Hemingway’s 54 Cats Survived Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma caused massive devastation over the weekend. (Looking for a way to help the victims? Click here!) But if you were worried specifically about the 54 six-toed cats living at Ernest Hemingway’s old Florida residence, you can rest easy. They all made it through just fine. For those who don’t know, Hemingway had a six-toed cat named Snow White. The 54 cats who still live at his Key West home (now a museum and tourist attraction) are Snow White’s six- and seven-toed descendants. Though the museum is without electricity, all of its employees are also safe, and the house sustained minimal damage.

8/27/15: You Can Now Literally Judge Books by Their Covers

This is actually quite an old story, but it’s new to me. Did you know there is a website out there called where you can judge books by their covers and see how closely your rating aligns with that of the general public? It combines two of my greatest loves: books, and casting aspersions.

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