Around the Common Room: October 19, 2012

It’s not particularly Halloweenish–though The Hobbit certainly has its creepy moments–but perhaps owing to the upcoming first The Hobbit film, Tolkien seems to be in the news a lot. This week, we’ve got Buy Cheap Viagra”>HarperCollins announcing publication of a never-before-published epic poem by the good professor, USA Today weighs in on why we still love The Hobbit, Blastr has 17 little known facts about Tolkien and his work (did you know he was briefly kidnapped as a baby? I didn’t), Warner Bros. is creating a couple of free online Hobbit games, and a man from Bainbridge Island, WA, not far from where yours truly lives, has built a Hobbit-like house.

On that last note: whimsy, often very enjoyable whimsy, appears to be making the rounds. Example A: Introvert fairy tales. Also, The Weather Channel thought it would be fun to start naming winter storms, and especially fun to use mythological names–which include Draco, Luna, and Gandolf (yes, spelled that way; named after a different fantasy character, apparently, but their chosen namesake is hardly the one everyone will think of.) Author Shannon Hale recently hosted a competition looking for the best pictures of boys reading ‘girl books’ and got an enthusiastic and rather adorable response. A very well-done Simon and Garfunkel filk on Battlestar Galactica has hit the interwebs: The Sound of Cylons. And I find myself wondering whether this customer is unusually uninhibited, or if she just lost a bet.

Meanwhile, Rowling claims her next book will be for children, and English professor Ben Yagoda credits her with introducing a lot of British words and phrases into American common speech. (I know I use “nicked” and “mental”, “ginger” and “snog”, and occasionally even “effing.” Don’t you?)

Author Marie Brennan doesn’t mention Harry Potter in her post about the sudden closure of the publishing industry to portal fantasies–though Narnia gets mention; a portal fantasy involves the protagonist traveling between our world and another, as through the famed wardrobe–but it loosely qualifies, with a handful of portals between Muggle England and the Wizarding World (The Leaky Cauldron, Platform 9 3/4, The Knight Bus, etc.) It would seem a terrible shame to let that category die away forever.

Author Nathan Bransford has an interesting post up about the strangeness of re-reading older children’s books; how cultural thought has changed, what authors were once allowed to get away with. It’s interesting to ponder how future generations might see Harry Potter’s writing style and themes.

Book bloggers (including myself) can universally enjoy Deborah Levy’s retort to Man Booker Prize head judge Peter Stothard’s recent lash out against the likes of us.

Kirkus Reviews revisits Bram Stoker’s Dracula–a happy Halloweenish thought for lovers of the old vampire tale.

And in myth and faerie, Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan has a post on his favorite mythologies, and the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on the importance of fairy tales in their old (non-Disneyfied) forms.

Emma Watson finds herself shocked by the forwardness of American men. Fair enough.

And in the all-powerful numerological lists: author Chris Holm’s top 5 Halloween traditions (Ray Bradbury and October beers!), the top 2 worst sci-fi and fantasy shows ever, 14 SFF doctors L.B. Gale wishes were real (hurrah for Nynaeve al’Meara making the list!), 4 reasons why Doctor Who should return to the serial format, remembering 7 Doctor Who companions, the 10 best Doctor Who companions and 5 worst, 10 inspirational disabled characters from sci-fi and fantasy, 10 great alternative (fictional) political leaders, all of whom are as corrupt as the ones we have now, 28 SFF TV shows that started off as movies, the 10 greatest SFF couples of all time, 10 supporting characters that completely stole the spotlight, 8 rules of writing from Neil Gaiman, which are thoroughly wonderful, the top 10 must-see literature based movies, the 12 greatest time travel effects from movies and television, 13 kick-ass time travelers who had what it took to change the past, 10 literary authors who illustrated their own work (Evelyn Waugh? Cool new trivia), 25 little-known facts about Star Trek: Next Generation, 6 unforgettable duos in sci-fi movies, and one deep breath of relief from your resident link aggregator.

Finally, in the Halloween spirit, there’s a new Wuthering Heights movie coming out! Trailer at the link.

3 thoughts on “Around the Common Room: October 19, 2012

  1. I just opened up a gazillion tabs in my browser to look through these. Can’t Wait.

    In solidarity, ‘”dodgy” has replaced “sketchy” in my vocabulary, I do use “ginger” quite a bit though I have shied away from “Merlin’s Pants” 🙂

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