Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Historical Heartthrobs" is WAY More Than a Sexy History Book

"The dreamers by day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible" --The real life 'Lawrence of Arabia'

We've been hearing for ages now that Nerdy is the new sexy, but it seems the author of Zest Books' Historical Heartthrobs is ready to prove that that's always been the case.

Kelly Murphy has created a book that makes history romantic, and focuses on figures who don't often receive their due. Case in point: the tagline of the book is "50 timeless crushes", but JFK is nowhere to be found, and Marie Antoinette only gets a 2/5 on the "Heat factor scale". Looks aren't everything in this surprisingly measured title.

This book could have quickly turned into a weird objectification of historical gents and ladies, but Murphy establishes early on that she's not here to play that game. The figures included are rated based on a variety of elements. First they each have a mini-biography along with a photo, the tale of their sex lives (or lack thereof), why they matter, their best feature, how high their "heat factor" is, and quotables either from or about them. The book is put together like a middle school scrapbook, but like it was created by professional middle schoolers (if that were a thing). The result is a collection of portraits that humanize men and women who we may not think about as, well, men and women.