Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
Abdulrahman Zeitoun has been charged with plotting to kill his wife, her son and another man. The protagonist of Dave Eggers’s bestselling (and Millions Hall of Famer) Zeitoun has had a spate of legal troubles since the book’s 2009 release, most of which related to charges of domestic battery. You can read Eggers’s statement on the matter over here. One has to wonder how these ongoing arrests will affect the forthcoming animated film based on Eggers’s book, which was scheduled for a 2014 premiere.
Philip Esler’s new book Sex, Wives, and Warriors: Reading Biblical Narrative with its Ancient Audience, reintroduces our culture to some of the Bible’s most dramatic narratives.
New this week: My Name Is Lucy Barton by the Pulitzer laureate and Year in Reading alumna Elizabeth Strout; The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun; And Again by Jessica Chiarella; American Housewife by Helen Ellis; Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa; This Census-Taker by China Miéville; Eleanor by Jason Gurley; The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne; and Even the Dead by John Banville’s alter-ego Benjamin Black. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2016 Book Preview.
At The Space Review, which bills itself as an online journal devoted to the final frontier, Jeff Foust takes a look at The Pioneer Detectives, our new e-book by Konstantin Kakaes. The verdict? “It’s a fascinating reminder of how complex and challenging the scientific process can be.”