News & Notes – 3/01/14

March 1, 2014 sidekicks, tips for writers 8

News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.

Books & Ebooks in the News:

    Worth Reading: 

    • Tolkien letters.  A 5-page handwritten letter to a fan (H. Cotton Minchin) recently went up for auction, and the Tolkien Library has the full transcript. The letter discusses maps, Tolkien’s colleagues’ reactions to his writing fantasy, publishing difficulties, the origins of Sam Gamgee, and more. The Guardian offers an article on another, unpublished letter to Rayner Unwin (son of Tolkien’s publisher, who was influential in getting the books published.) In it, Tolkien regrets W. H. Auden’s dislike of the Aragorn-Arwen romance and discusses his own difficulties in preparing the appendices found in the third volume of The Lord of the Rings.
    • Time explored the world of fanfic in an excellent and balanced article from back in 2011.  Still worth reading!
    • “Are the robots about to rise? Google’s new director of engineering thinks so” profiles Ray Kurzweil, the genius inventor and visionary (or crackpot, depending on your view) who now heads Google’s engineering program.  What I found most interesting (or alarming) is the list of AI companies Google has recently bought.  Stop worrying about Amazon; it looks like Google is out to take over the future.
    • A forensic linguistics computer program helped confirm Rowling as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling when the leak first occurred, and here’s how. (Smithsonian Magazine)

      For Writers & Bloggers:

       

      Book Announcements:

        Awesome lists: 

         

        Just for fun:  

        Hank Green rants about books!
         

        Bookish Quotes:

        That’s it for this week!

        I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature.  You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.

        8 Responses to “News & Notes – 3/01/14”

        1. Greg

          Fascinating Guardian article on Tolkien. I’m glad in the end he kept the Aragorn- Arwen romance, and the appendices as well. I always enjoy reading through those, as well as some of the other material that sheds additional light on the world he created. I like Unfinished Tales a lot, it has a lot of great background info as well…

        2. Bea

          I’ll have to check out the Tolkien letters. And while I love the idea of being able to share and borrow ebooks, that Kickstarter does sound iffy.

          • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

            Yes, I’m not sure how they think that’s going to work for them. I gather you’re supposed to only “lend” books that are in the public domain or whose authors have decided it’s OK, but seriously, who thinks all the users are going to stick to the rules?