* In 1963, 75 famous novelists (including Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury) replied to a 16-year-old's questions about symbolism in their work. The results are fascinating! http://mentalfloss.com/article/30937/famous-novelists-symbolism-their-work-and-whether-it-was-intentional
* Okay, about to link to some SUPER-CREEPY NIGHTMARE BAIT, so if you're easily freaked out out, give this one a miss. You have been warned. http://retelly.com/art/insects-with-human-skeleton
* Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan have been getting a lot of attention for their current production of "Waiting for Godot" in New York. (A friend saw them and says that the production was amazing and he never wants to see another version, lest it tarnish his perfect vision!) We know they're both incredible actors, but what did they look like, shirtless, in the 1970's? Tor.com found out: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/11/patrick-stewart-and-ian-mckellen-have-been-holding-out-on-us
* In further Patrick Stewart news, witness the most marvelous, geekiest, seasonally apropos thing I have seen in ages: "Let it Snow" as done by "Star Trek: The Next Generation": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiSn2JuDQSc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoiSn2JuDQSc&app=desktop
* And, the last "Star Trek" note for this month: watch Nichelle Nichols talk about the amazing Trekkie who convinced her not to leave the show: http://www.upworthy.com/true-story-one-of-tvs-most-inspiring-women-almost-gave-up-guess-who-persuaded-her-not-to?c=gt1
* Congratulations to author Samuel Delany, whom the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have named the recipient of the 2013 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for his contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy. http://www.sfwa.org/
* Free Philip K. Dick stories for download (only within the US, unfortunately) at this address: http://www.openculture.com/2012/01/free_stories_by_philip_k_dick.html . (We're pretty sure they come from Project Gutenberg, but aren't positive about their copyright status. Caveat downloader.)
* Book Donations: A few months ago, Alan asked for suggestions about places to donate books. He didn't imagine that we would get so many thoughtful and useful replies. Aside from information about where to donate, he received one suggestion that he should collect the information gathered in this newsletter as a reference for other folks out there who wanted to donate books. We think that's a fine idea and so below you'll find that list, along with some comments from him. We hope that it is useful.
Details after the break
SF General Hospital (volunteer office 206-8193)
Laguna Honda Hospital (volunteer services 759-3333)
VA Hospital (Tommy Mendoza 415 750-2144)
For transportation reasons, most hospitals prefer small size paperbacks (i.e. "mass market" size).
Juvenile Probation Department
375 Woodside Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
Phone: (415) 753-7800
(I haven't had time to get in touch with these folks yet but, based on what I've heard, they will only accept softcover books without "adult" content. That standard also applies to other correctional institutions.)
The Global Book Exchange
(Their specialty is books for children, young adults and teens (i.e. grades K through 12th). Unlike many places, they accept textbooks. It seems that all textbooks up to high-school level are needed, as well as college text books published after 2001. They also need fiction for children and young adults.)
The American Library Association maintains this list of international donation organizations
http://www.ala.org/offices/iro/iroactivities/intlbookdonations that can be helpful as well.