Nine Notable Nom de Plumes

In honor of George Eliot’s (Mary Anne Evans) birthday today, let’s take a look at nine noteworthy literary pen names. Did you know these authors had “secret identities”?


Row 1: George Eliot – Best known for: Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871), Real name: Mary Anne Evans; Mark Twain – Best known for: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), Real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens; Currer, Ellis & Acton Bell – Best known for (respectively): Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights & Agnes Grey (1847), Real names: Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte; George Orwell – Best known for: Animal Farm (1945), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Real name: Eric Arthur Blair.

Row 2: Dr. Seuss – Best known for: The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Real name: Theodore Geisel; Voltaire – Best known for: “Plato’s Dream” (1756), Candide (1759), Real name: François-Marie Arouet; O. Henry – Best known for: “The Gift of the Magi” (1906), Real name: William Sydney Porter; Pablo Neruda* – Best known for: Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (1924), Residencia en la tierra (1933), Real name: Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto *Legally adopted his pen name in 1946; Lewis Carroll – Best known for: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking-Glass (1871), Real name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

Most of the authors above chose to write under a pseudonym either because they wanted their work to be taken seriously (especially challenging for women before the 20th century), or because they were hiding from a possibly disapproving family member or society. Would you publish under a pen name (or do you already have one)? Let us know in the comments! – Kate

Kate is Promotions & Direct Mail Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.

10 Heartthrobs of Literature We Love

Some we fall in love with as soon as they are written onto the page. Others we gradually grow to love as the story progresses. They are the men we wish would step out of the book and whisk us away. They are why we turn the page. You may ask, “Who are these men that make you devour a book in one sitting and then sigh wistfully as you read the last word?” Well, I can only speak for myself, but these are the men of literature that get my heart pumping.

77e4fdc96e72f7eff6fe0fff9c506106Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice— Sure, he’s proud. He is handsome, intelligent, and extremely wealthy.  What’s wrong with that?

jane-eyreEdward Rochester from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre— Okay, so he keeps his crazy wife locked up in his house. Nobody’s perfect.

heathcliffHeathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights— He is the epitome of passionate and consistent love, but he does have a mean streak. Hey, who doesn’t like a bad boy?

sense-and-sensibilityJohn Willoughby from Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility— Talk about love at first write. He gets “A”s in rescuing damsels in distress. He’s just not so good at marrying them.

angelAngel Clare from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles— Okay, so he has really bad timing and makes a lot of poor decisions. Eventually, he will come around, even if it is after you’ve already given up on him.

Blakeney.jpgSir Percy Blakeney from Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel— Funny and fierce, this man definitely knows how to keep a secret.  Don’t you love a man who ends up being more than he seems?

anneGilbert Blythe from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series— (Sigh) Why do boys always seem to want the one girl they can’t have?

laurieTheodore Laurence (Laurie) from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women— He’s the typical boy next door.  You know– rich, with a cranky grandfather, who spends most of his time with four little women.

edwardEdward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series— Hey, he’s a man who can read your mind.  So what if he has some dietary issues?

Peeta.pngPeeta Mellark from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy— There’s nothing sexier than a guy who’s willing to put himself in danger to protect you.  Real or not real?

Well, that’s my list. What’s yours? (I’m always looking for a few good books.)

– Julie

Continue reading