Canterbury-west-Winter-Highsmith2Canterbury tales mural by Ezra Winter, Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.

Poor Friday the 13th . . . he’s been getting a bad rap for ages. No doubt books have played a part in his misfortune. After all, Friday’s been considered bad luck since Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (tail end of the 14th century); and let’s not forget Thomas “Copper King” Lawson’s Friday, the Thirteenth (1907)—wherein an unscrupulous broker plays off superstition to bring down Wall Street.  Be it known, however, both are works of fiction—so go forth and be happy (and safe).

Also, a few bookish bits from throughout the week . . .

J.R.R. Tolkien’s rolver from his military service has gone on display at the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester. Tolkien fought in WWI from June to October 1916; trench fever sent him to Birminham . . . and that’s when Middle Earth began to take shape.

Jane Austen portrait sells for 164,500 pounds at Sotheby’s.

Alice Munroe’s video response to winning the Nobel Prize, as shown at the Swedish Academy on the 7th of December, 2013.

Yale University has acquired what it believes to be the first recovered memoir written in prison by an African-American (dated 1858).

More than 500 writers petition the United Nations for an International Bill of Digital Rights.

12 Interesting Literary Facts for Christmas.’

And with that, a tweet: I like that “wassailing” now sounds quaint and charming. Now, I shall wassail till I can no longer stand. @Shakespeare