HuffPost Books' Most Viral Stories Of 2014

HuffPost Books' Most Viral Stories Of 2014

It's been a fantastic year of reading and word nerdery here are HuffPost Books. Not only have we read piles of highly anticipated novels and promising debuts (seriously -- check out our Best Books Of 2014 list!), we've also explored reading habits, writing tips and language trends. "Game of Thrones," grammar and J.R.R. Tolkien were among the topics most shared by your readers (that's you!). To see what resonated most with our audience, check out our most-viral stories from 2014:


13 Words You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By Shakespeare

Like Precalculus and Newton's laws, Shakespeare's plays are among the most groaned-about high school topics, begetting the complaint: "When will I ever need to know about this in real life?" Turns out, pretty often. Shakespeare can be credited for the invention of thousands of words that are now an everyday part of the English language (including, but not limited to, "eyeball," "fashionable," and "manager.")

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The Shocking, Twisted Stories Behind Your Favorite Nursery Rhymes

Dark backstories often lurk behind our favorite childhood songs and fairy tales. This shouldn't be so surprising. Childhood itself is a fairly recent invention, especially in its current form of G-rated entertainment and brightly colored, hazard-free toys, so the older a children’s story the more likely it has very adult, even unsavory roots.

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Why Workplace Jargon Is A Big Problem

We all have our language pet peeves. Some bemoan like and other conversational hedges, while others are more put off by icky-sounding words like moist or munch.But there is one corner of the English language that our culture seems to collectively disdain: workplace jargon. At their best, the trite phrases with which we fill our work speech are vapid and convey a false sense of urgency. At their worst, they are flat-out aggressive.

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17 Everyday Words You Just Might Be Mispronouncing... And Why You Need To Stop

There’s nothing more irritating to a pedant’s ear than someone saying “mischievious” instead of “mischievous,” and nothing more embarrassing than realizing you’ve been pronouncing the word mischievous with an extra i for your whole life. Despite the judgment we exhibit toward people who err in enunciating, we all mispronounce a word from time to time, despite our best efforts.

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14 Heartbreakingly Adorable Quotes From Winnie-The-Pooh

A.A. Milne was born this week in 1882. In honor of the Winnie-the-Pooh creator's birthday, here are 8 adorable quotes from his books.

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22 Common Phrases We All Secretly Hate

What makes a phrase cringe-worthy?We asked HuffPost editors which sayings bother them the most, and found that the common thread among the responses was uselessness. Often, the phrases that we find off-putting are those that serve as conversational fillers, implying that the speaker is vapid or has little else to contribute to the conversation. "Just sayin'" is the perfect example; why, exactly, do you need to verbally acknowledge the fact that you just said something? Why not, to borrow a popular phrase, "just say it"?

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9 Facts You Need To Know If You Love 'Game Of Thrones'

We love HBO's "Game of Thrones." The network has done an incredible job of adapting to the screen what author George R.R. Martin himself thought would be an impossible-to-adapt series of books. But one unavoidable consequence of such an adaption is that so much rich material from the books never makes it to the screen.

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Can You Catch These Common Grammar Mistakes? (QUIZ)

It's time to ask yourself a difficult question: How well do you know the English language?Not to stir up nightmares of your high school English classes or your strict grammarian mother or anything, but we're thinking maybe it's time for a refresher. Take the quiz below to figure out just how well you know the complicated language.

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J.R.R. Tolkien Reveals TRUE Meaning Of 'The Lord Of The Rings' In Unearthed Audio Recording

Over 20 years ago, a lost recording of J.R.R. Tolkien was discovered in a basement in Rotterdam, but the man who found it kept this important reel-to-reel tape hidden away. Until recently, only he had heard the recording. But now, I am one of those lucky Middle-earth lovers who has listened to this magical magnetic tape, and I happily declare that it is awesome. For it proves once and for all that Professor Tolkien was, in fact, very much the hobbit that we all suspected him to be. What's more, we get to hear Tolkien reading a lost poem in the Elven tongue which he translates into English. And to top it off, he states in unambiguous terms (cue Rohirrim war trumpets) the real meaning of The Lord of the Rings!

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An A to Z of Noah Webster's Finest Forgotten Words

October 16 is World Dictionary Day, marking the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Born in Connecticut in 1758, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806, but it was his two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828 (when he was 70 years old) that earned him his place in history as the foremost lexicographer of American English.

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