The Weekly Word: Dec. 12, 2011

The holiday season is here. It is time for familial cheek-pinching, ugly sweaters, and cozying up to [insert cozy oject here]. Cozy object possibilities: a fire, your S.O., or a Shmoop-worthy book.

Speaking of good books, we have news for you:

10 Books for the Holidays

Shmoop HQ has been feeling festive lately. We’ve just put up our holiday lights, for one thing, even though we almost lost several Shmoopers in the process (shocking, we know). To get you in the spirit, we’ve compiled a list of books to warm the cockles of your hearts.*

If you’re looking for lit about anything that has to do with winter, snow, or reasons to be glad that we’re all still alive (no, seriously), head over to our holiday picks here.

Movie Madness: New Sherlock Holmes Comes Out This Friday

Thank Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for creating the immensely cool, if slightly drug-addled, diminutive detective. And thank Robert Downey, Jr. for gaining the life experience necessary to play Mr. Holmes to a T.

Looking to be one step ahead before you fight parking at the theaters? Snoop our guides to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

This Week in History: The Boston Tea Party

As much as we’d like to believe that the Boston Tea Party consisted of a bunch of colonists sitting down to invisible crumpets with Mr. Snuffleupagus, reality doesn’t support that vision.

The actual event was still pretty cool, though. Outraged at the whole “taxation without representation” thing, protesters took it out on the tea. And thanks to those noble men, Boston Harbor will be forever steeped in history.

Every 2400 Begins with Shmoop

No matter what you’re celebrating this time of year, Shmoop is the perfect gift for all ages. Yes, it’s corny, but at least we don’t threaten you with simple spelling exercises or murder scenarios. And we’re a lot less expensive than diamonds.

Check out our deals for schools and districts here.

Literature Birthday: Jane Austen, Dec. 16, 1775

Shmoop readers already know that Janey wasn’t just about Pride and PrejudiceSense and Sensibility, or even love and marriage, but her personal correspondence really showcased the more, uh, caustic elements of her wit. A small sampling from her letters:

  • “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
  • “I will not say that your mulberry-trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.”
  • “How horrible it is to have so many people killed! And what a blessing that one cares for none of them!”

The acerbic Miss A. turns 236 on Friday. We’d wish her a happy birthday, but we’re sort of afraid of what she’d say.

This Week in History: A Christmas Carol published Dec. 17, 1843

The basics: Marley was dead (Scrooge’s partner, not the cute Labrador that made everyone cry, though he’s technically dead too), and Scrooge was looking to deal with supernatural visitations. And…that’s all we’ve got.

Okay, okay, we don’t have a guide to the classic tale of Ebenezer and the ghosts that scared him into being a nice guy. Bah humbug to you! However, you can catch up with Dickens’ life and works here.

Shmoop Shout Out: Luke’s Wings

Luke’s Wings helps injured U.S. soldiers be close to their loved ones when they need it most: during the holidays. Watch the video. We guarantee it’ll make you a big fan.

Shmoop Shout Out 2.0: Angela Zhang, 17, Wins 100K Science Prize

We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate a local student, Angela Zhang, on her recent win at the Siemens Foundation’s high school science competition. Her research into cancer treatments could have profound effects on the future of how doctors target tumors.

She certainly puts our vinegar and baking soda volcano to shame. Find out more about this teen titan and all the other winners here.

Spreading Shmoop Cheer,

The Shmoop Elves

*Note from our science team: “heart cockles” aren’t actually a thing.

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