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Category: News (71-80 of 610)

On The Books: Tolkien almost cut love story from 'Lord of the Rings'

First it was Ron and Hermione, now Aragorn and Arwen?? A previously unpublished letter reveals the tricksy W.H. Auden tried to convince J.R.R. Tolkien to axe the romance between Aragorn and Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The illuminating letter is from 1955 and penned by Tolkien, who is complaining to his publisher about the struggle to complete The Return of the King. Tolkien laments that Auden views the star-crossed subplot between the mortal king and his immortal lover as “unnecessary and perfunctory.” Wow. Shoot me straight, Auden. How do you really feel? Apparently the poet was on Team Éowyn-Faramir. Considering the level of minutia that Tolkien weaves into the historical fabric of Middle Earth, you would think LOTR could support a number of love stories. If I know the second cousin, twice-removed of every dwarf in the Shire, I think I can follow two romantic subplots. I guess Auden was a purist though. One story of true love per series. It’s good to have standards. Thank God Tolkien didn’t take his advice. [The Guardian] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Washington DC reads more than you do

You read that right. Apparently the nation’s capital is the most literate city in America for the fourth year in a row. News to me. I thought everyone in DC was on the phone with donors all day. The study was conducted by Central Connecticut State University, and it takes into account the number of bookstores, library resources, Internet use, educational levels and newspaper circulation of 77 of the largest cities in America. And coming in at 77th is Bakersfield, CA. Poor Bakersfield. They also took the gold medal in worst air quality in 2013. Let’s show them some love in 2014 please. [USA Today]

Today the Folio Society announced its shortlist of nominees for their inaugural Folio Prize, which honors English-language fiction from around the world that is published in the UK, regardless of form, genre or the author’s country of origin. The prize is £40,000 and a ticket to the “glittering ceremony at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel.” Sounds like luxury!  The authors in the running are Anne Carson, Amity Gaige, Jane Gardam, Kent Haruf, Rachel Kushner, Eimear McBride, Sergio De La Pava, and George Saunders. The biggest surprise is the heavy representation of Americans, who make up five of the eight nominees. Saunders was listed for his latest short-story collection Tenth of December. [Folio Prize]

Great news from Dreamworks this morning. The studio is opening a book publishing unit that will put out titles based on their animated films, like Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. The books will be available in print and digital formats, which is great, but I hope that they offer audiobooks of Madagascar read by the lemurs. Or better yet, classics read by the lemurs. Tuck Everlasting would be so much easier to choke down if it were read by the lemurs. [Wall Street Journal]

Lena Dunham Instagrams the cover of her upcoming book


Even though Lena Dunham’s best known for chronicling the of-the-moment travails of twenty-somethings, she’s gone retro for the look of her first book, Not That Kind of Girl, for which she was reportedly paid in the neighborhood of $3.5 million. The Girls creator and star instagrammed a mockup of the cover and tweeted the release date, Oct. 7. It looks like she’s left her face — which has graced the covers of Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, and Rolling Stone — off the jacket, which calls to mind books from the ’60s and ’70s like Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann and The Women’s Room by Marilyn French.

Here’s the official description of Not That Kind of Girl from Dunham herself: READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Glee's Chris Colfer drops another book

Chris Colfer (the one who plays sassy Kurt on Glee) writes children’s books. Just to make you feel unproductive this Thursday, he already has two books under his belt and he’s only 23. In between filming Glee episodes, he’s found the time to write a third, The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning. In between my heavy coffee-drinking, I found the time to author this post, so we’re all busy. Colfer just announced that the fantasy story will be released on July 8, and USA Today has an excerpt. Don’t all rush over there at once! [USA Today]

You know that feeling that you get when you are swept into a really good book, so lost in what the character is thinking that you can’t hear the subway conductor announce your stop and suddenly you’re in Queens again – and not at your office in Midtown? That’s never happened to me. But if you are this kind of engrossed reader, then imagine how much cooler cracking a book is going to be with a computerized vest that makes you feel like you are the protagonist. MIT developed a vest for readers to wear that can restrict your breathing when the main character is scared or change your body temperature to match a dank basement that the character is trapped in. Wait, that sounds terrible…This should come with a warning label that says: DO NOT use with a Stephen King novel. [NPR]

The script for Red Rising, a new science fiction/fantasy novel that was released last week, is already being tossed around in Hollywood. Deadline is reporting that Marc Forster, the director of World War Z, is attached to the potential film. We liked the book so much that we put it on the Must List last week, so snap up a copy if you’re interested in reading a gripping saga of a young boy trying to break out of the brutal caste system that he has been born into. Vengeance, war, love, and hate — all taking place on Mars. Sounds like a Valentine’s Day read! [Deadline]

Business Insider put together a list of the 18 bookstores every book-lover must visit. Some picks are classics: Book People in Austin, Shakespeare & Company in Paris. And some picks were less known gems: apparently the biggest outdoor bookstore in the world is in Ojai, CA. Then there’s John K. King Used And Rare Books in the industrial wasteland of Detroit, which looks like an episode of CSI waiting to happen. I won’t be rushing out to “get lost” in these book stacks. [Business Insider]

See the cover of 'The Ninth Circle' by Brendan Deneen -- EXCLUSIVE

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Like Dan Brown’s Inferno, The Ninth Circle finds inspiration in Dante’s classic work. This novel, though, follows young man’s coming-of-age as he travels with a circus through nine states, falls in love with the Bearded Lady, and encounters performers who possess magical abilities along the way.

While The Ninth Circle is film-exec-turned-editor Brendan Deneen’s first prose novel, he’s already an established graphic novelist and playwright, having written Scatterbrain and contributed to Flash Gordon and Casper the Friendly Ghost. At Macmillan Publisher’s, Deneen edits The Walking Dead novels by Robert Kirkman and the novelized sequel to the Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All.

On The Books: A book deal for 'Style Rookie' Tavi Gevinson

Style Rookie” Tavi Genvinson – the coolest, quirkiest, little fashionista-feminist to ever pen a blog – has just gotten two more book deals approved. The projects will be two “yearbooks,” which feature highlights from her online mag, Rookie. If you don’t already read her blogs, then get over there now. She thanks Ira Glass and Jane Pratt for being her guardian angels. Get me in on that please! If only we all had this much moxie at 17 years old. Le sigh. [Yahoo] READ FULL STORY

'Good Morning America' anchor Amy Robach to chronicle living with breast cancer in upcoming book

Back in October 2013, ABC news correspondent Amy Robach, 40, discovered she had breast cancer after she underwent an on-air mammogram at the urging of her Good Morning America colleague Robin Roberts. In an as-yet-untitled memoir acquired by Ballantine Bantam Dell, Robach will chronicle her living with and treating her cancer while continuing her career at ABC News and raising a family with her husband Andrew Shue.

“This is completely unchartered territory for me. I have covered the tragedies and triumphs of others for nearly 20 years as a journalist, but never before have I faced such personal fear, humility and uncertainty,” said Robach in a press release. “I want to share this road that so many have traveled before, and help pave the way for those who unfortunately will follow. Nothing is the same, everything changes, but the fight to live joyfully has been ignited.”

On The Books: Jane Austen Was Bored In Church

Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection

A fragment of paper with Jane Austen’s delicate scratch on it was discovered in a first edition of The Memoirs of Jane Austen. Apparently she was transcribing a sermon that her brother wrote, which is just so like her. Maybe she was bored in church too. She’s human after all! For another (less delicate) snippet of Jane Austen, peep this, a succinct yet nuanced account of Pride & Prejudice. [The Guardian]

Another Austen-y thing online today: a “fictional” map of London. Curiocity, a British map-maker that designs alternative and unusual ways of looking at London, has just published a map of the city’s nooks and crannies that have been featured in famous works of fiction. To answer your most pressing questions, yes, they feature hot spots from Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’ Diary. [The Independent]

Today seems to be the day for scraps of handwriting to be cropping up online. An article on David Foster Wallace showcases two of his childhood poems written in his own adorable baby-hand. Everyone knows the man was a genius, but clearly he was also a child prodigy. I can barely scratch out a haiku and he was penning rhymes in kindergarten. DFW FTW. [Open Culture]

Good news for romance fans! The Hallmark Channel has just announced that they will be developing a television series based on Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores novels. Thank God. I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing in the programming between Golden Girls and I Love Lucy. Problem Solved!

On The Books: Neil Gaiman reads you a bedtime story

Don’t you wish that Neil Gaiman was your kooky uncle? He would sneak you into the circus and you’d get to hold the Biggest Amazonian Python That Ever Lived (whose name is Lucille). He’d help you put frogs in your sister’s bathtub. He’d keep secrets for you, like that time that you accidentally buried your dad’s favorite watch in the park. He would agree that pirate treasure is only good if it’s buried. To help you cement the fantasy that Gaiman is your favorite uncle, here he is reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

A federal judge sentenced a woman to five years in prison and also assigned her some reading for the long nights behind bars. What philosophical tome would a judge think a former eco-saboteur could benefit from? Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. Naturally. [Gawker]

Apple is in an ongoing legal scuffle over the prices of their e-books. Bloomberg reported that consumers are demanding $840 million in damages. Turns out you’re not the only one who thought you were overpaying for 50 Shades of Grey on your ipad. But before you get excited, it’s unlikely that you will be getting any of that money back. [Bloomberg]

If you were dying to know how Zadie Smith feels about tipping waiters, let out a sigh of relief because she’s laid it all out for The Telegraph today. In short, she finds giving money to the delivery man “awkward.” If I felt indignant on behalf of America’s “service with a smile,” her dig at the Astor Place Pret A Manger made up for it. Smith also has a short story in The New Yorker this week. [The Telegraph]

See the all-star lineup of readers for Lemony Snicket's next audiobook -- EXCLUSIVE

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Lemony Snicket always has a few tricks up his sleeve, and it appears he’s called in some favors for the upcoming audio version of File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (out on April Fool’s Day, fittingly). File Under presents 13 mini-mysteries that a young Snicket must solve, and for the audio version, 13 very cool people have signed on to read. Among them are a few radio hosts, an MSNBC anchor, some popular YA authors, musicians, and a football player. Listen to an intro from all 13 readers and see the list exclusively below: READ FULL STORY

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