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The Tolkien Reader (Middle-Earth Universe)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  4,009 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Stories, poems, and commentaries by the author The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

An imaginative history of the distant and marvelous past that introduces the rather unheroic Farmer Giles, whose efforts to capture a somewhat untrustworthy dragon will delight readers everywhere.

A collection of verse in praise of Tom Bombadil
Paperback, 1st, 291 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1966)
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Aug 07, 2016 Manab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
টোলকিয়েন সাহেব যতখানি যতন নিয়ে দুনিয়া গড়েছিলেন বই লিখতে গিয়ে, ভাবতে অবাক লাগে। এই বইয়ে একটা নামডাক-ওলা পরবনধ আছে, অনেকদিন পর পরবনধ পড়লাম। সেইখানে কিছু চিনতা দেখা গেলো, তাঁর নিজের লেখা যে ধাচের, ঐ ধাচের সাহিতযের বিষয়ে।
অঙগুরীয়পুরাণের শেষের সংযুকতি পড়লে তাঁর শরম আঁচ করা যায়। এটা, মানে পরবনধটা পড়ে জানা গেলো, তিনি লেখালেখিকে কীভাবে দেখেন, গলপকে কীভাবে।
একটা জিনিস যেমন, আমরা ভাবি যে ধূসর চরিতর সৃষটি মহৎকরম, শাদাকালো চরিতরেরা কাঁচা হাতের কাজ। ভেবেভেবেও যে সেটা করা যায়, তাও এতটা ভেবেসেবে, জানতে হলে এ বই
Mark Adderley
Sep 26, 2009 Mark Adderley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a great read, adding a lot to one's knowledge of Tolkien. The three best pieces in the book are "On Fairy Stories," "Leaf by Niggle" and "Farmer Giles of Ham."

"On Fairy Stories" deals with two important themes--subcreation and eucatastrophe.

Subcreation is the act of world-building in which all creators of stories participate. It’s not creation. The primary world, the physical and spiritual world in which we live, was created by God. The world in which the events of our stories take place
RE de Leon
Finished reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? This is the next Tolkien book I'd recommend, a good introduction to Tolkien the essayist and the short-story teller. The short story "Leaf by Niggle" and the essay "On Fairy Stories", alone, are worth the purchase, and the other pieces are pretty good too. (One wishes the poem "mythopoeia" were here too, but alas, it is not.)

The only downside to this book is that it overlaps with quite a few other Tolkien anthologies. But in most cases, that
Sep 03, 2008 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien, Lord of the Ring, writers, science fiction, fantasy readers
This collection is a must read for fans of all forms of fantasy. His essay "On Fairy Tales" is worth reading at least twice.

If reading "On Fairy tales" for the first time, I suggest you try to avoid reading the footnotes. They're interesting, but they knock you out of Tolkien's thought train. Then read it again, preferrably immediately. For, while Tolkien focuses on fairy stories, he in fact discusses nothing short of the nature and significance of all fiction.

"The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth" and
Alexander Rolfe
Nov 07, 2016 Alexander Rolfe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too bad Americans aren't into statuary-- I would put a statue of Tolkien in my house if we did that sort of thing. I particularly enjoyed the moments of self-revelation in his essay about fairy stories. How he longed for dragons as a child, how he "had and has a wholly unsatisfied desire to shoot well with a bow," how he can make himself sit through a cricket match only by using things other than cricket to stay interested, such as a "wild, heraldic preference for dark blue over light blue." It ...more
Bill Tillman
Anyone who wants to know the mind of Tolkien should own this book. A clear insight into his thinking of story writing and his Christian worldview.
Dec 29, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Tolkien Reader" is an excellent collection of shorter writings by the Lord of the Rings author. Each of the pieces here represent a different genre - drama, essay, short fiction, and poetry - that are, for the most part, unrelated to Middle Earth, but if you've read The Hobbit and/or LOTR and aren't sure what to read next, this is a great place to start.

The Reader opens with "Tolkien's Magical Ring," a short preface by Peter S. Beagle, who is best known for his novel "The Last Unicorn." Fan
Nicole Pramik
This work might be small (tiny, even, when compared to the The Lord of the Rings) but it is a shining gem for any Tolkien enthusiast, fan, or fanatic (or which I am all three).

The Tolkien Reader combines some of Tolkien's shorter fictional fare with non-fictional insights onto the fantasy genre. In summation, this book contains the following:

1. "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son." This piece is actually a play (yes, Tolkien took a stab at drama and succeeds here) set after the real-
Aug 12, 2012 Tyler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, poetry
This book has a collection of writings by J.R.R. Tolkien that are separate from the Middle Earth and general Lord of the Rings related material.

The essay On Fairy Stories was very interesting, but it was sometimes difficult to follow because his essay responds to the contemporary opinions of critics at the time it was written (1930sish) and is written in such a way that the reader is expected to be familiar with those general arguments. I'm not familiar with what people thought of fantasy and ot
This collection has a little of everything: short stories, short plays, poetry, and literary criticism. Only the latter is truly excellent, though I would only recommend the essay ("On Fairy Stories") to writers and to those who are very interested in Tolkien's philosophy of fantasy writing.

The short plays are stilted products of the early twentieth century; I can't see them as successful productions in our era. The short stories ("Farmer Giles of Ham" and "Leaf by Niggle") are charming enough,
Kate Davis
"On Fairy Stories" should have been required reading for a literature major. Or for anyone who plans on giving kids reading material. He devotes an entire section on why fairy stories aren't only for children; Madeleine L'Engle and he would be good artist friends, and I can't shake the feeling that he was directly condemning Lewis's condescending tone in Narnia.

"Leaf by Niggle" is my new favorite theological exploration of art. If you're an artist of any sort--writer, painter, poet, anything--an
Andrew Laboy
Jun 29, 2009 Andrew Laboy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FOOTNOTE #26 ON PAGE 41-"this is, naturally, often enough what chidren mean when they ask:'Is this true?' They mean:'I like this, but is it contemporary? Am I safe in my bed?' The answer: 'There is certainly no dragon in England today,' is all that they want to hear."
Jan 15, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would be worth its weight in buttered toast if only for "On Fairy-Stories" and "Leaf by Niggle." I was glad for the other additions as well, but these two I will come back to again and again for a reminder that life is ready to be mined for beauty and truth.
Apr 07, 2009 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The master. And to think he could not get published until a friend took pity on the old fool. Scribbling away, I swear he did not invent, he visited!
Apr 28, 2015 Kailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely collection of short stories and poems, some relating to Middle Earth.
Tolkien's genius at work!
Dec 16, 2012 Ana* rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
tree and leaf:brilhante!
o resto das estorias: n gostei mt. X(
Julie Akeman
Nov 04, 2016 Julie Akeman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read some of the featured stories here but it has been a long time since I first read them. Always loved Tolkien, especially anything to do with Middle Earth, but I am finding out more about his other works, this collection features some wonderful fantasy stories, a great essay on Fairy Tales in which he kinda rips into Lang's Fairy book series ie Blue Fairy Book, Green Fairy Book, in which I have a few of those and want to enlarge that collection. There are also some of his most charming ...more
Dakota Kemp
Oct 28, 2014 Dakota Kemp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one – and when I say no one, I mean NO ONE, not Robert Jordan (who greatly influenced my writing style), not Brandon Sanderson (my favorite author), not J.K. Rowling (who wrote my all-time favorite books), not even my own mother (who taught me to read) – had as much influence on my becoming a writer than the father of what we know today as the Fantasy Genre. J.R.R. Tolkien has been my hero since I first read The Hobbit at the age of eleven, and continues to be the inspiration for everything ...more
Dec 01, 2016 Clarita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Толкин плюс прекрасни въвеждащи думи на Питър Бийгъл - какво повече да се каже?:)
Brandon Pearce
May 21, 2008 Brandon Pearce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Tolkien Fans
Recommended to Brandon by: Dr. JeffereyTaylor
Shelves: inkling
In his essay “On Fairy Stories” Tolkien endeavors to answer three questions: 1. What are fairy stories, 2. What is their origin, and 3. What is the use of them.
What makes a faërie story is difficult to define. Tolkien’s answer come mostly in the form of what they are not. They are not traveler’s tales like Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, they are not dream stories as Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland is, and they are not “beast fables” like “The Nun‘s Priest’s Tale. They are stories that take place in a w
Elise Barker
Jan 04, 2017 Elise Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I looooved Leaf by Niggle, Farmer Giles of Ham, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. So very Tolkien while also charting new territory. I was disappointed by On Fairy Stories. I was expecting it to do something grander. I wonder if I would have preferred it in its original form of lecture better. He was a great lecturer by most accounts.
Nick Rivard
Dec 28, 2016 Nick Rivard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and informative book but it errs much more on the scholastic side as opposed to the fictional side of Tolkiens writing.
Jun 22, 2016 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fairy Stories

Interesting point that the world is dividing into Eloi (children) and Morlocks (the adults who feed on them). I’m taking it much further than he meant by it; he was talking about, as best as I can tell, the sense of enjoying literature vs. only enjoying sensible things (defined insensibly). But there’s a sense that it’s becoming more literally true. Both in the sense of parents who refuse to let their children grow up, and in the sense of society borrowing off of the wage of the nex
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is a collection of shorter pieces by Tolkien and an essay "Tolkien's Magic Ring" by Peter Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn. The Beagle essay on Lord of the Rings is decent, the sort of thing you see in introductions to books, even if I didn't find it particularly insightful. "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son" is a short verse play by Tolkien inspired by an Old English poem, "The Battle of Maldon." I found Tolkien's afterward on that poem and the mindset of the Anglo Saxon no ...more
Feb 04, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great little book for fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings who want to get a taste of stories he wrote that take place outside of Middle Earth. One such story, Farmer Giles of Ham, is entertaining and funny, introducing us to a simple Farmer who through various twists and turns ends up representing his village in a fight with a dragon.

The other great story here, Leaf by Niggle, may just be the best thing I've read on the goodness of work. We meet a man named Niggle who loves to pai
“The Lonely Troll he sat on a stone/ and sang a mournful lay:/ O why, O why must I live on my own/ in the hills of Faraway?” These are the first four lines in the poem “Perry-the-Winkle” from The Tolkien Reader by J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. This poem is a favorite because it shows the beauty of friendship: when we go out of our way to be nice to another, we find the treasure of a friend.
Perry-the-Winkle’s prosperity was a direct product of his friendship with the Lonely Tro
Jesse Booth
Jul 31, 2015 Jesse Booth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of some of Tolkien's short works. Having been a Tolkien fan for many many years, I finally got around to reading this book at the recommendation of a friend and fellow writer.

My favorites out of the collection are On Fairy-Stories, Leaf by Niggle, and Sir Giles of Ham.

On Fairy-Stories is a priceless essay. As an author, I was blown away with the concept of all of the ideas being a big cauldron of soup, with new ideas being added, as well as older ide
May 08, 2016 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the stories in this collection, the three components that make up the "Tree and Leaf" section are by far the strongest. "On Fairy Stories" is a veritable dragon's hoard of Tolkien's ruminations on the subject of stories and storytelling, and is highly worth reading several times over. "Leaf by Niggle" is a tale in which he explores what he calls "subcreation," the work of an artist in world-building or myth-making, and the perfection of that work in the sight of the ultimate Creator (thou ...more
Finally finished... though by "finished" what I really mean is "read the majority of and sorta skimmed through the rest." I didn't quite make it through all the poetry, and as for the Anglo-Saxon drama, I skipped over it completely. But I'm pretty sure I've read it several years ago, and most of the poems are actually from other writings, so I can safely say I've read almost all of them. To be honest, "finished" really means "exceeded my limit of renews from the library and needed to return it," ...more
Chris Munson
The Tolkien Reader is an interesting compilation of short stories, poems, and essays that were written throughout his career. In general...if you've already read "Tales From the Perilous Realm" (including the Appendix), you'll probably want to pass this book up. The only thing you're really missing is the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (which is comes from Tolkien's translation work) and you aren't missing that much. In short: The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth is a dark Beowulf/Shakespeare-like poem that w ...more
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J.R.R. Tolkien: Group Read January-March 2014: The Tolkien Reader 8 75 Mar 31, 2014 03:28PM  
Tolkien's World 2 15 Apr 23, 2009 11:01PM  
  • Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien's Ring
  • Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Exploring the Spiritual Themes of the Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...

Other Books in the Series

Middle-Earth Universe (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
  • The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)
  • The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth
  • The Children of Húrin
  • Beren and Lúthien
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)

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“He is a great enough magician to tap our most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies, but he never invented them either: he found them a place to live, a green alternative to each day's madness here in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.” 35 likes
“The impulse is being called reactionary now, but lovers of Middle-earth want to go there. I would myself, like a shot. For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien’s considerable gifts in showing it to us. I said once that the world he charts was there long before him, and I still believe it. He is a great enough magician to tap our most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies, but he never invented them either: he found them a place to live, a green alternative to each day’s madness here in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers—thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.” 16 likes
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