The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- J.K. Rowling has returned, ever so briefly, to the world of Harry Potter with a profile of the "Singing Sorceress" Celestina Warbeck. (You'll remember her song "A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love" from the sixth Harry Potter book.) "Three devoted fans were involved in a nasty three-broom pile up over Liverpool while trying to reach the last night of her 'Flighty Aphrodite' tour, and her tickets often appear on the black market at vastly inflated prices," Rowling writes on a post on the website Pottermore [subscription required]. Rowling added, "Celestina is one of my favourite 'off-stage' characters in the whole series, and has been part of the Potter world ever since its inception. I always imagined her to resemble Shirley Bassey in both looks and style."
- A group of lawyers is arguing for a different interpretation of the ubiquitous Shakespeare quote "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" that graces mugs and T-shirts the world over. The Wall Street Journal reports: "According to the attorneys' interpretation — one supported by many but not all English scholars — Shakespeare's point is to portray lawyers as the guardians of the rule of law who stand in the way of a fanatical mob. The lawyers may have a good argument, but more than four centuries after the play made its debut, Dick the Butcher's words still haunt the legal profession, enduring as shorthand for frustration with excessive fees, frivolous lawsuits and ambulance chasing."
- England's Richard III may have been "subtle, false and treacherous" — and, apparently, something of a glutton. A bone analysis of the 15th century king's recently discovered remains by researchers at the British Geological Survey and the University of Leicester found that the king feasted regularly on rich food and wine. According to a paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Richard's two-year reign afforded him the chance of eating such rare game as crane, heron and egret, and other "delicacies of the privileged."
- Novelist Karen Russell talks to Guernica: "My first story for our college workshop was about a tooth artist who painted miniature landscapes on his teeth and worked at a crab shack with some burlesque crustacean woman named 'Leona the Lobstar.' Which I guess could be classified as fantastical literature, but could just as easily be a Wednesday afternoon in South Florida."