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Awards & Prizes Book Recommendations Literary Criticism Literary History Monday Miscellany

Monday Miscellany

Some of what I’ve been reading over the last week:

Why J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ Isn’t Just For Kids

Cover: The Hobbit
The Hobbit

On the 75th anniversary (September 21) of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit, Corey Olsen explains why the book isn’t just for kids:

“The Hobbit” is a brilliantly constructed story unfolding themes that adult readers will still find compellingly relevant to the modern world: themes such as the nature of evil and the significance of human choice, or the corruptive power of greed and the ease with which good people can be drawn into destructive conflict. So this year, I would recommend celebrating “The Hobbit’s” 75th anniversary by dusting the book off and giving it a fresh read. I’m quite sure that if you do, you will discover much more than you remember finding there as a child.

The Top 10 Horror Stories

I don’t read much horror, but if you do: Stephen Jones, editor of a new anthology titled A Book of Horrors, gives us his top 10 list.

Elmore Leonard, master of the crime novel, honored with prestigious book award

For a man who built his career on word economy, the title is pretty darned long — The National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Still, Elmore Leonard says he’s thrilled to receive one of the literary world’s highest honors.

The 86-year-old crime novelist will be presented with the medal in New York on Nov. 14, the same evening this year’s National Book Awards are announced.

Songs of the Free and the Brave

Meghan Clyne discusses the new Library of America edition of the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which presents her nine works of fiction in two volumes with supplementary materials.

Beyond paying tribute to Wilder’s work with critical annotation, the Library of America edition showcases the maturity of her writing through the new experience it offers to readers. The “Little House” series was written for a picture-book format, designed to reach 8- to 12-year-old readers and include frequent illustration. The Library of America has stripped the pictures away, leaving only Wilder’s words to re-create a world long gone. The result highlights her magnificent gift for description, which grows more evident as her heroine matures. . . . Ultimately, this is the greatest contribution of the new edition—to present Wilder’s work as serious literature for adults.

Our favourite books: writers explain

The following five writers discuss their favorite books from childhood:

  • Claudia Casper
  • Marjorie Celona
  • Anne Giardini
  • Erica Johnson
  • John Vigna

Books I Love: Libba Bray

The author of the new book The Diviners discusses 10 “favorite books that have also had a seismic influence on me.”

Lives Remembered in the Statues and Monuments of Central Park

A short video and slideshow about the statues of literary figures in New York City’s Central Park.