I had read volumes 1 & 2 of the History of Middle Earth many years ago. I've more recently read volumes 6 through 12, leaving 3, 4, and 5 left forI had read volumes 1 & 2 of the History of Middle Earth many years ago. I've more recently read volumes 6 through 12, leaving 3, 4, and 5 left for me in the series of edited works by Christopher Tolkien of his father's work.
I really enjoyed the books on LOTR as it allowed me to see how the story developed over time.
Volume 12 provided two previously unreleased stories, which were intriguing to me.
Volume 3, however, has become my favorite of the series. The Lays of Beleriand is comprised of two poetic versions of stories known well by fans of Tolkien, one the story of the Children of Hurin and the other the love story of Beren and Luthien.
The former is my favorite of all Tolkien's stories, and as a poem it was as if I was reading it for the first time, or more accurately, I felt like someone was telling me the story for the first time.
Tolkien does an excellent job of using the medium to capture the oral storytelling of days of old.
Yes, there is development, and you can see where he changed his writing, but at heart these are the same stories told in a very different way than what we get in The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales (or more recently the Children of Hurin).
The entire series is for fans of Tolkien, academics, or individuals wanting to understand how a great writer revises and develops a story over time.
I've read a lot of books that focus on uncovering hidden mysteries by way of a quest.
I'm typically pretty open to how far the author is willing to goI've read a lot of books that focus on uncovering hidden mysteries by way of a quest.
I'm typically pretty open to how far the author is willing to go provided it stays within a realm of being believable. So what is that? I don't think there is a hard and fast rule, but as I'm reading (or watching) it has to have some level of consistency that allows me to continue to believe it.
I couldn't keep believing this story and as a result I can't give this book more than two stars.
The story reads fast, but it is almost too fast as if the speed allows the author to gloss over the 'reality' of the situations the characters are encountering.
I also expected more from the hidden mystery at the end.
The good news is I read this as a short diversion from the History of Middle Earth and it was one of thirty books my daughter and I got for $10 at a library fundraiser a month or so ago....more
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 onesVolume 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. ...more
I knew nothing about Joanne Harris or the book Gentlemen and Players as I picked this up during a library book sale fundraiser and tossed it into my $I knew nothing about Joanne Harris or the book Gentlemen and Players as I picked this up during a library book sale fundraiser and tossed it into my $5 take as many books as you can fit in a paperbag option. My daughter also had a bag so we grabbed about 40 books that day and took the approach of grab anything of interested there is nothing to lose.
I started this book, stopped and read another one, then returned and finished it.
For me, this book was good, not bad or great, just good.
The story is set at a private school in England and is presented from two perspectives, one of a tenured teacher the other of a person who was an employee's child grown into an adult who desires to bring the institution down. As the story unfolds the reader gains greater understanding into why the grown child has this desire.
I think my problem with this book was that I was curious to know what happens next, but not compelled to know.
The question for me, then, is why? I think it comes down to not loving or hating any of the characters enough.
From reading the other reviews it seems that what was missing for me, wasn't for many others, so if this books sounds intriguing to you, I'd give it a read....more
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah.
Unfortunately, I felt like the summary on the jacket cover was more interPeople of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah.
Unfortunately, I felt like the summary on the jacket cover was more interesting than the book itself.
I felt like there was a disconnect between the history aspect of the book, with the modern time. It didn't flow right for me and I didn't feel like the historic rebuild was connected and sequenced properly.
It was a decent read, but nothing I'd brag about or recommend....more
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 JI 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....more
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 reI 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....more
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 nFor 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....more
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 tI 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....more