Bookish News of the Day

Happy Leap Day!! On this day, in 1940, and for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.

Welcome to your Bookish News of the Day!


Born on This Day

1692 – John Byrom, English poet
1920 – Howard Nemerov, American poet
1920 – Fyodor Abramov, Russian novelist

Died on This Day

1928 – Ina Coolbrith, American poet
1940 – Edward Benson, English novelist, biographer, memoirist and short story writer
2004 – Jerome Lawrence, American playwright


Literary Proposals Quiz

On the traditional day for women to propose to men, The Guardian is popping some questions – on bended knee, of course – about literary marriage offers. How did you do? I sucked canal water, with only 5 out of 9 correct! DOH!

How To Spot a Reader

Well, yeah!


Best Translated Book Award Longlist Announced

Yesterday, my TBR list grew and grew! The Best Translated Book Award finalists were announced. “Organized by the publisher Three Percent at the University of Rochester, the annual Best Translated Book Awards recognize the best works of fiction published in English but originally written another language.

Founded in 2007, the BTBA is notable in recognizing both author and translator in tandem. The 2012 BTBA longlist features authors from 14 countries writing in 12 languages. The author of the original work will receive $5,000 and its translator $5,000.”


Book Covers

Two much anticipated new books have had their covers revealed!!

The cover for Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf HallBring Up the Bodies – (and the second book in the planned trilogy!!) has been shared by the publisher. What do you think?

As well, yesterday saw the realease of the cover image for Zadie Smith’s upcoming novel.


Charlotte Brontë

A long-lost short story written by Charlotte Brontë for a married man with whom she fell in love is to be published for the first time after being found in a Belgian museum a century after it was last heard of.

Hear Gillian Anderson read ‘L’Ingratitude’ for the LRoB!


Art of the Hobbit

JRR Tolkien created more than 100 illustrations, recently uncovered amidst Tolkien’s papers, digitized by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and freshly released in Art of the Hobbit — a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit with 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolours.


Laura Miller

Miller is a writer over at Salon, who I enjoy reading very much. Today, in response to the death of Dmitri Nabokov, she is writing about literary executors. Miller argues that “We live in an age of some very daunting keepers of the flame.


Poem of the Day

Writing by Howard Nemerov

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen’s point or brush’s tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger’s to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the ‘Slender Gold.’ A nervous man
writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.

Miraculous. It is as though the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.


Word of the Day

Clerihew: A form of comic verse named after its inventor, Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). It consists of two metrically awkward couplets, and usually presents a ludicrously uninformative ‘biography’ of some famous person whose name appears as one of the rhymed words in the first couplet:

Geoffrey Chaucer
Could hardly have been coarser,
But this never harmed the sales
Of his Canterbury Tales



Because I am a Geek like that!

Big Bang Theory…re-imagined as Firefly (possibly best mash-up ever):

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