The Speed Read

The Return of the King: The late J.R.R. Tolkien publishes two translations of the medieval poems that inspired the Lord of the Rings. ... How motherhood changed the way Ayelet Waldman writes. ... Marilyn French, author of "The Women's Room," has died. ... Obama's mother has a book deal. In December, Duke University Press will publish the late Ann Durham's anthropology dissertation, "Surviving Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia." ... English-language booksellers have Harry Potter; Koreans have Take Care of My Mom, a novel by Shin Kyung-sook which is being credited with the boom in Korean book sales. ... The weepy conservative commentator Glenn Beck has a multi-book (from picture books to audiobooks to ebooks) deal with Simon & Schuster. ... Hairballs, more scientifically known as bezoars, play a crucial if subtle role in the Harry Potter books. ... Yesterday was Alice Liddell's birthday, and it's shocking to realize that the real Alice who inspired Lewis Carroll actually grew old. ... Dr. Seuss goes toe-to-toe with Homer for the title of storytelling master, and it's a draw.

By Rachel Hartigan Shea |  May 5, 2009; 10:34 AM ET
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