The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Credit: Todd Eyre

A new book from Tolkien! HarperCollins has the rights to JRR Tolkien's translation of Beowulf, which will be published on May 22nd and edited by his son, Christopher. Tolkien translated the oldest extant poem in Old English in 1926, but never had it published. The book will feature a selection of lectures on Beowulf given by Tolkien at Oxford in the 1930's. Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary is the first new book from Tolkien since the narrative poem "The Fall of Arthur," which came out last year. [The Bookseller]

More on the @GSElevator brouhaha: Grove Atlantic has picked up Straight to Hell by John LeFevre after Simon & Schuster dropped it like a hot potato. Grove announced today that they are planning on a September publication date for LeFevre's controversial book on things that are overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevators.

The poet Bill Knott died on March 12th. For real this time. Everyone was a little wary of the news because the artist had faked his death once before. The New Yorker writes: "Nearly fifty years ago, in the fall of 1966, a mimeographed letter made the rounds among poets, critics, and literary magazines, announcing that a twenty-six-year-old writer named Bill Knott had killed himself in his Chicago apartment. The letter, ostensibly written by a friend of Knott's, said that the poet was a virgin and an orphan, and that he was tired of living without being loved…When word came again, last week, that Knott had died, no one knew quite whether to believe it. Death makes deniers of us all, but in Knott's case we had good reason to trust our instinctive disbelief."

Christopher Benfey and Zadie Smith have both written spring-themed pieces in the New York Review of Books. Benfey's is a poetic approach to current news issues. ("Climate change: Noah and NOAA.") And Smith's is a short essay on our emotional confrontation with climate change. ("It's amazing the side roads you can will yourself down to avoid the four-lane motorway ahead. England was never as wet as either its famous novels suggest or our American cousins presume.")

And just for fun — enjoy this Apple computer commercial with Hunter S. Thompson from 1990's (ish). Bear in mind that HST shot his Mac with a shotgun in a fit of rage over his impending deadlines. (Been there.)

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