Prizes and promotions

Waterstones.com (as it calls itself) is currently featuring several competitions. You can win dinner for two at the Savoy; "Ingo" necklaces; a Nintendo WII; Butler and Wilson (who they, ed?) gifts; dinner with someone called Judy Corbett with two nights in a castle thrown in; and a personal consultation with some other person called Glenn Harrold. (Never heard of either of them.) Most bizarre of all, you can win a selection of Agent Provocateur "goodies" — which seem to be gift vouchers or books rather than underwear. Here is the link for all of these tempting prizes (not, in my case).

Marginally, but not much, more useful is that Waterstones.com is offering 30 per cent off Manga titles, including Fruits Basket (highly recommended by Jenny of about 6 months ago, but losing out nowadays in favour of Sims), and 50 per cent off the new Wilbur Smith, which I shan’t be reading even if they give it away.

But the best offer of the lot by far is the chance to attend the "world wide launch" of The Children of Hurin,  which in case you’ve been on a desert island for the past few weeks, is the new Tolkien novel. The event takes place on 17 April (Tuesday), and is billed as "a day long extravaganza of readings, competitions & activities, including illustrator Alan Lee signing the novel. Please contact the store for further details at (+44) 02078512400." I’m fairly tempted to go, to see the marvellous Alan Lee. But I think I probably won’t.

There is an interesting review in yesterday’s  (Saturday) Times of the new book: one feels that the reviewer, Jeremy Marshall,  is completely steeped in Tolkien. It is quite hard to find the review in the online version, partly because of the wall-to-wall Wills/Kate rubbish, and partly because the Sunday Times review of the same book, by Tom Deveson, which is very negative, seems to prevail over the more sympathetic Marshall take. But you should be able to get to both reviews via the links in this paragraph.