A new, free, story from Neil Gaiman! On the Guardian page! It's called Down to a Sunless Sea, and reminds me of Bruce Springsteen's version of Mrs McGrath:
I was clearing out some old emails (I actually deleted a few, imagine that!) and came across a link to this tumblr page (from back before I had my own): Cover Spy London - covers of books being read by commuters on the London Tube!
Fellow writer news - Theresa Milstein has a short piece in Twisted Endings!
Tomorrow is the first day of the new year - if you live in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth, that is. For the rest of us, it's Tolkien Reading Day!
(that map and the bottom righthand image aren't his, obviously)
What better way to explore a Tolkien landscape than on Radagast's Rhosgobel rabbit sleigh?
No, I'm not kidding. I made fun of this when reviewing The Hobbit the movie, but have since stumbled across this wonderful essay from a dogsledder, all about the plausibility of Radagast's sled, and sled-pulling animals in general. Even featuring a cat in a harness...
The Tolkien Society has a "reading pack" with suggestions for games and leading questions and so on. You needn't even read only Tolkien - anything about trees or Oxford or WWI and WWII or something else related to Tolkien will do, I'm sure. I just got a copy of Simon Tolkien's latest book, for instance!
As for landscapes, though, if I had to choose an illustrator besides Tolkien, I'd go with Pauline Baynes:
(Yes, some of those are Narnia images. Odd Google search...)
At the moment I'm on my yearly reread of The Lord of the Rings, and I'm also rereading the Twelve Books of Middle Earth; on Book Five at the moment, which features The Lost Road (a sort of travel-through-time story) and etymologies of Elvish words and names. Just this weekend I read the chapters featuring the Old Forest and Tom Bombadil; I love the forest as a foreshadowing of Fangorn, and its 'contained' wildness as a barrier between the orderly, well-tilled, comfortable Shire, and the wild world outside. Interesting that Bombadil, too, has a self-determined contained dominion, over which he is Master, even though he's been in Middle-earth - and presumably visited a wider landscape - since the beginning.
I switched ROW80 gears this week, as I'm busy editing a short story for the Sunlounger competition! I hope I can finish tweaking in time. And keep an eye out for a visit from Laurel coming on Wednesday!
What will you read for Tolkien Reading Day? Have you entered any competitions lately?