Volume 12 of 12 in the History of Middle Earth, The Peoples of Middle-Earth, compiled by Christopher Tolkien, is in many ways my favorite of the ones...moreVolume 12 of 12 in the History of Middle Earth, The Peoples of Middle-Earth, compiled by Christopher Tolkien, is in many ways my favorite of the ones I've read (I've read the first two volumes and last six).
This volume primarily covers the Prologue and Appendices of LOTR, but it sneaks in a few selections touched upon in Unfinished Tales and provides to two gems in the final section "The New Shadow" and "Tal-Elmar".
The New Shadow, published for the first time in this volume, is the start to a sequel of LOTR. Admittedly, it doesn't go far enough to guess or speculate where JRR was going with this and the notes mention that he wasn't fond of the idea in the first place, but it remains intriguing as to what happened in the 4th Age and here we get a glimpse of what might have happened.
Tal-Elmar is intriguing because it is told from the perspective of the "Wild Men" about the Numenoreans. The change of perspective was wonderful and I wish there had been more of it to read.
The first part of the volume is also the longest and covers the prologue and appendices, what I liked about this was the background provided.
For fans of Tolkien, this is a great read and well worth the effort to read. (less)
I had read this book around ten years ago and decided to re-read it.
I'm not a theology student, but for whatever reason I find the period of time of J...moreI had read this book around ten years ago and decided to re-read it.
I'm not a theology student, but for whatever reason I find the period of time of Jesus' death and the two centuries immediately following very intriguing.
This interest led me to reading several of the books that never made it into the New Testament, which led me to wonder why?
Bart Ehrman's "Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew" introduces some answers and explanations to that question.
Ehrman works from the simple principle that history is written by the victors, therefore it is hard to know what the true history was. He points out that "recent" finds such as the Nag Hammadi Library have provided us with additional insights into unaccepted thinking from various early christian groups.
He also looks at accepted Christian thinkers' arguments and extracts that the argument must have been made to oppose one or more of the opposing views, therefore these other groups or sects of these groups must have had these beliefs.
Overall I enjoyed the book as an introduction to some of the early Christian groups, but don't expect to learn to much about any single group. This really outlines at a high-level how 'consensus' was ultimately won and consolidated into what we know today as the New Testament.(less)
I had wanted to read History of Middle Earth (HoME), and re-reading the published version of each became a pre-requisite to refresh my memory. So I re...moreI had wanted to read History of Middle Earth (HoME), and re-reading the published version of each became a pre-requisite to refresh my memory. So I read The Silmarillion and then decided before HoME, I'd read The Unfinished Tales. I last read this book roughly 20 years ago so re-reading it was essentially a new experience.
While HoME is definitely for the dedicated and hardcore fan of Tolkien, Unfinished Tales is a bit different. I felt like Christopher Tolkien's commentary was more along the lines of a historian providing commentary on events based on other source material rather than a literary exploration that I find HoME to be.
As a result, a person who is a fan of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) that wants to learn more about the events that took place and the history behind those events, can pick up Unfinished Tales and learn something more.
So I decided for this review to indicate which sections are more for the readers who fall into the fan of LOTR vs. HoME. This book is of no interest to anyone who isn't at least a fan of LOTR;-)
The First Age probably won't provide much immediately relevant new information to the LOTR fan, but I would hope they would love the tragic story of Turin (my favorite of all of Tolkien's works).
The first sections of the Second Age also may not be of interest, but certainly The History of Galadriel and Celeborn should be.
Part Three is focused on the Third Age, the time of LOTR and The Hobbit. The Quest of Erebor and the Hunt for the Ring are probably most informative to the LOTR fan, while the other sections probably more enjoyed by HoME fan.
The fourth Part has an intriguing story of the Druedain, but it is probably more for HoME fans than LOTR fans as it is great story-telling, but not highly related to the events of LOTR.
The book finishes with an essay and information on the Istari and the Palantiri. Both play significant roles in LOTR and provide a wonderful extension to what we learn in LOTR.
All in all, the information contained in Unfinished Tales and its presentation is fantastic and I'd recommend this to any person who read LOTR and at the end wanted to know more.(less)
For starters, this book is for fans of Tolkien who want to better understand the back-story of the events in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It is n...moreFor starters, this book is for fans of Tolkien who want to better understand the back-story of the events in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It is not for a casual reader.
I hadn't read The Silmarillion in probably fifteen to twenty years, so in my working through The History of Middle Earth series (HoME) it only made sense to re-read it prior to tackling HoME related volumes.
The Silmarillion is a compilation of not quite completed works of JRR Tolkien written over the span of fifty years by his son Christopher.
I view the Silmarillion in style and type to the Old Testament. You get a Genesis story and cover a broad period of time compared to The Lord of the Rings, which is more like the New Testament, covering a much more finite period of time.
This volume is in four parts with the majority of the work contained within the Valaquenta, which is the lore of the Eldar, Elves.
For me one aspect of Tolkien's brilliance is his ability to not only conceive a mythology for England, but to do so from the perspective of multiple races. This also makes the reading of his works difficult because events, people, and places are named differently depending on the point of view.
For first time readers, I suggest simply reading it and not being too concerned with keeping up with all the details. If you like it, you'll read it again and understand more of it.
Overall, this is a good vs. evil story. It tells the story of the origin of evil in Middle Earth. The story plays out amongst the gods, their servants, and the peoples of Middle Earth.
There are some story epics contained within the overall volume including my favorite Turin Turambar, which is best told in The Children of Hurin. There are also Beren and Luthien and the Fall of Gondolin.
If you are fascinated with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and you want to learn more about this amazing world, The Silmarillion will be incredibly eye-opening. Tolkien's attempt to create a mythology for England is accomplished in this work.(less)
I finished reading The Hobbit on a flight back from Germany and had this book on my Kindle app from the Gutenberg Project.
I read nearly all of it on t...moreI finished reading The Hobbit on a flight back from Germany and had this book on my Kindle app from the Gutenberg Project.
I read nearly all of it on the return flight and found it to be scary good.
This edition was based on the 1896 edition of HG Wells' classic novel.
The story is a report of a man lost at sea for nearly a year in 1887. He was deemed to be demented based on his account of his time lost.
I found this work to be very intriguing, and by design, disturbing.
Edward Prendick was the man lost at sea, saved, and nearly lost again, maybe. He was saved by Montgomery who worked for Dr. Moreau on an island where they conducted surgical experiments.
I won't give too much away, but at the end one is left to wonder if Prendick had imagined the entire episode. At the same time, having read the story, you have to believe that he had provided a true account as remarkable as it was.(less)
This is a quest story with the unlikeliest of heroes, a Hobbit, named Bilbo. He is recommended to serve the role of burglar to a band of dwarves set o...more This is a quest story with the unlikeliest of heroes, a Hobbit, named Bilbo. He is recommended to serve the role of burglar to a band of dwarves set on recovering their ancestors' gold from the dragon Smaug, by the wizard, Gandalf.
I've read this book multiple times throughout my life, as a child, in HS, college, to my daughter as a bed time story, and most recently last week. Each read has been at a different phase of my life and thereby has been viewed from a different perspective.
This time, I wanted to revisit the story for two reasons, one to better recall where the movie diverges and takes liberty with the story, and two, I've been reading HoME and would like to read the books relating to The Hobbit soon.
There were several things that struck me as I read the book anew, but two passages toward the end were poingant to me specific to Tolkien's "moral of the story".
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." Thorin Oakenshield [to Bilbo].
"Very kind of you," said Bilbo [to Bard]. "But really it is a relief to me [to not be rewarded most richly of all]. How on earth should I have got all that treasure home without war and murder all along the way, I din't know. And I don't know what I should have done with it when I got home."
I've not viewed Bilbo's selflessness as much as I did this time, not to mention his loyalty.
The story itself is wonderful on its own. It is not dark, it is an adventure with stories of old being told throughout, magical creatures and places good and bad, and the reader gets to experience it all through the innocent eyes of Bilbo.
I'd previously over-looked Tolkien's description of the city of Dale, "and the toy market of Dale was the wonder of the North". A reference to what today we believe to be Santa's Workshop?
He also references the invention of golf with the telling of Bullroarer knocking off the Goblin Kings head.
Tolkien includes mysterious figures like Beorn, ancient weapons like Orcrist and Gladring, and he references the Necromancer and his being driven from Mirkwood. The seeds are sown for the bigger story without over-complicating the one at hand.
My parting question is why did Gandalf chose Bilbo? This is one I'll delve more deeply into and be interested to see how the story evolved in HoME.
To close, no matter when you read the Hobbit, it is an enjoyable and unforgettable adventure.(less)
I've read a lot of military history and non-fiction about terrorism and insurgency.
I enjoy reading suspense and literary works....moreHow to review this one?
I've read a lot of military history and non-fiction about terrorism and insurgency.
I enjoy reading suspense and literary works.
I own a GSD and our last dog was a mix lab/GSD.
What struck me most about this book was the very simple fact that I couldn't imagine the level of fear/tension that took place as MWD Sergeant Rex and Mike Dowling, his handler, got out, exposed themselves to the enemy, and sought out IED's that were typically triggered by cell phones.
With landmines, you had to worry about where you stepped, Mike and Rex only had to be close enough and it would all be over.
I really liked learning about how the military role for the K9 was revived in Iraq and how the service people responded to the K9's.
The writing wasn't that great and I felt some of the order of events could have been done better, differently. It wasn't something that I couldn't get over. It was more like having a few conversations with a person on different days, some felt new, some repeated, some a bit out of order, but at the end of the day a good talk is a good talk.
I respect that my GSD is not a working dog, but you can definitely take pride in the breed and the story Mike tells speaks volumes for them.
It took me a long time to get through a book that ought to have been read in a week. Part my fault, part the author's.
I won Berry's first book through...moreIt took me a long time to get through a book that ought to have been read in a week. Part my fault, part the author's.
I won Berry's first book through a contest and got to read it pre-publish and have been compelled to read all his works since. I've found that I enjoyed the earlier works more than the latter ones.
The draw of this work is the question what do you really know about Columbus? Most of us have very fundamental knowledge. The rest is set to make you rethink everything, but it does drag out and I have issues with the ending.
All in all, 3 stars is fair, but potentially generous.
Most people have noted this is only for die-hard fans of Tolkien, and it is. I'd also argue it is for those who seriously want to explore Tolkien's wr...moreMost people have noted this is only for die-hard fans of Tolkien, and it is. I'd also argue it is for those who seriously want to explore Tolkien's writing process (I'd imagine these are die-hard fans, but could be academics as well).
The titles of each of the three History of the Lord of the Rings books are misleading in that this volume mostly addresses content from book 1 of LOTR and book 3, which I began today, mostly covers book 2.
Get past all that and you will gain tremendous insight into how the characters and storylines developed as Tolkien wrote and re-wrote.(less)