A Hobbit by any other name

Revisiting ‘The Hobbit’, Noble Smith writes at Huffpost, is like sifting through the deep piles of loot in a dragon’s hoard: there’s always something new to discover about J.R.R. Tolkien and his classic.

Here are 10 secrets concerning the author and his tale that you, good lover of Middle-earth, might have overlooked.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo BagginsAP Photo/Warner Bros., James Fisher

Tolkien hated it when foreign publishers changed his word Hobbit to something else, like the first Portuguese edition that was called “O Gnomo” (“The Gnome”). Thankfully the most recent translations of “The Hobbit” in both of these languages now use the word “Hobbit” in their titles. FYI: If you speak Esperanto the book is called “La Hobito.”

The Hidden Hobbit

Two-sentence horror stories

Not so long ago, Reddit users gathered around a digital fire to tell horror stories using only two sentences, Jesus Diaz says on Sploiid. The experiment demonstrated that the power of suggestion is infinitely more powerful than the explicitness of modern Hollywood gore.

One of the nine stories:

Yesterday my parents told me I was too old for an imaginary friend and that I had to let her go. They found her body this morning.

2-sentence horror stories

When spam carries magic spells

What if spam promising a clear complexion gave you transparent skin, or clicking on a weight loss offer made you anorexic? New spam spells filling everyone’s inbox are the work of a prankster who quickly turns dagerous and Thea and her friends must find him before he can destroy their world.

The second volume of my Worldweavers series, Spellspam, has been reissued by Sky Warrior Books. The ebook version is available now, the print version will be available shortly.

Spellspam revisitedWhen it was first issued, it got a starred review in Kliatt that said, in part: “An incredibly enjoyable tale that blends reality, legend, and magic in one of the freshest fantasy narratives this year.”

Spellspam reissued

Published Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

It’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, Stacy Conradt tells us in MentalFloss.

People who accept the challenge aim to write 50,000 words in November. While no one expects masterpieces in such a short time span—the goal is to force writers to get some words down on paper without overthinking it—sometimes it happens.

Sara Gruen’s ‘Water for Elephants’ is a particularly successful example. But she’s not the only author to see buckling down and hammering out 50,000 words in a month pay off. Here are 14 other NaNo books that can be found on the shelves at a bookstore near you.

Published NaNoWriMo books

Galaxy quest for earth-like planets

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft suggests that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable earth-size planets in the galaxy, Dennis Overbye reports in the New York Times.

Galaxy quest
Could earth-like planets mean human-like inhabitants?

“This is the most important work I’ve ever been involved with,” one of those involved in the search said. “Are there inhabitable Earths out there? I’m feeling a little tingly.”

Galaxy quest

Quote of the Day

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing.  It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. –Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning  


Alma Alexander

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