Retelling Tolkien in Russia, Jules Vernes's Birthday, Reading in Bed, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

A Russian paleontologist retold the story of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings from the perspective of Mordor—where Sauron, the villain, lives—and the tale has proved so popular it's now being translated into English and non-commercially distributed, much to the chagrin of Tolkien's exclusive publisher HarperCollins. (Guardian)

Jill Lamar, former Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program director, has been named editor in chief at Henry Holt, a Macmillan imprint. (Publishers Weekly)

To honor Jules Verne's 183 birthday today, Google created a doodle based on the French science fiction author's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Fifteen unpublished stories by Dashiell Hammett, who also wrote The Maltese Falcon, were discovered in the archives of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. (Guardian)

The Wild Root Bookstore in Lowville, New York, suffered significant smoke and water damage when the 135-year-old building next door was gutted by an accidental fire Saturday morning. (ABC50)

Starting Friday evening, the Annapolis Bookstore in Maryland will kick off a twenty-four-hour Read-in-Bed-a-thon, in which local residents will take turns reading in the bed in the store's display window.

This year's National Book Festival in September on the National Mall will be expanded into a two-day event. (Library of Congress)

McSweeney's gathered some data to counteract predictions of the death of books, pointing out the astonishing number of books sold in 2010—750 million, according to Nielsen's BookScan—as well as other positive statistics. A blogger at Writer's Digest, Jane Friedman, explains why she feels many of McSweeney's findings are misleading.