I've read Tolkien's standards and they have always appealed to me and in some ways it was more a feeling than an actual understanding of why. I movedI've read Tolkien's standards and they have always appealed to me and in some ways it was more a feeling than an actual understanding of why. I moved on to HoME and many of Tolkien's translations, such as Beowulf, Sigurd, and the Fall of Arthur with more to come, such as Kullervo and Sir Gawain.
I recently read Shippey's "The Road to Middle-Earth" and followed it up with "Author of the Century".
These books helped me better understand in some ways that feeling.
I always understood that there was a depth to his work. There was a history, languages in translations, maps, some crossover between stories, but this book helped shed light on much I didn't pick up on directly.
While we may or may not know these stories, I think we inherently know them for they are age old and retold in other forms with other characters.
Then a person like Tolkien comes along and can blend these altogether and leverage his knowledge of word origin and meaning with story, history, chronology, and without understanding why, the story becomes compelling on a level not often experienced.
As Shippey notes, he does so with the origin of evil at its core.
I've been aware of my fascination with this concept for many years. Why is there evil? Where did it come from? I truly believe these are universal questions, but I can't say I associated it with my love of Tolkien's works, until reading this book (though in hindsight it seems obvious).
In Author of the Century, Shippey makes this case, and does so very well.
I'd recommend for anyone who has read and greatly enjoyed: the Hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion, and Tales From the Perilous Realm (or the works comprising it)....more
This is another work that is purely for fans of Tolkien who want to better understand the underpinning's of his works and potentially the inspirationsThis is another work that is purely for fans of Tolkien who want to better understand the underpinning's of his works and potentially the inspirations.
I am an admitted Tolkien geek, but don't consider myself a scholar. I was very interested to learn about the stories that influenced Tolkien's works and am glad to have the opportunity to read many of them that have been published by his son Christopher by way of translations by his father.
In this work, Shippey does a wonderful job of speaking to Tolkien's work through words. I don't think I've ever read a book with such a wide vocabulary. He does a great job of explaining how the chosen words correspond with their ancestors and intertwine with other historic, albeit maybe not well-known words.
He also sheds light on the greater works of earlier days that inspired Tolkien. I learned a ton from this book and will be reading many more books based on the Appendix of "Tolkien's Sources, The True Tradition".
Again, only for the hard-core Tolkien fan, writing fan, or word scholar....more
Having read this book after Rousey got knocked out, I'm viewing from a slightly different perspective than many other reviewers.
To be clear, I'm a hugHaving read this book after Rousey got knocked out, I'm viewing from a slightly different perspective than many other reviewers.
To be clear, I'm a huge fan of Ronda. I also grew up wrestling, my father was a longtime coach and my brother is a coach today.
There is no way I would get in the Octagon. I like to hope that the younger, more bulletproof version of me would have been smart enough not to as well.
From that perspective, I have the utmost respect for anyone that will commit to an MMA fight. I thought the book did a good job describing the training and dieting. Making weight is a brutal undertaking for most and it is hard to describe what your body goes through over a season or period of time training for a single event, not to mention the mental anguish that goes along with it.
I understand that the book was trying to capture Ronda's personality, but I would have been good with fewer f-bombs.
I also thought it did a good job revealing more about Ronda, but could have done more in that regard. Maybe that is the difference between an autobiography and a biography.
Ronda did reveal some shortcomings and relationship challenges, which helped humanize this then unbeatable fighting machine.
I think the biggest tell on what to believe in this book and what not will come in her rematch with Holm, not so much if she wins, but how she carries herself in victory or defeat. She is an amazing athlete competing in a brutal sport....more
This book is a part of the Images of America Series and focused on the C.F. Martin & Co. located in my hometown of Nazareth, PA.
The author is DickThis book is a part of the Images of America Series and focused on the C.F. Martin & Co. located in my hometown of Nazareth, PA.
The author is Dick Boak, who I got to know during the time that I helped run a local art and music center in town.
The book, as the series indicates, presents a history of the company through pictures and the captions provide context.
The book begins with the Martin family's immigration to America and follows their story from New York City to Nazareth. Throughout this time the company evolves and grows as it is passed from one generation of Martin to another.
One surprise for me was a company picnic photo from 1926, which included a name I recognized, my great-great grandfather, of which I knew very little. Apparently, he worked at Martin.
Another part that I enjoyed was information about the string division, where I worked after school in HS and during the summer and holiday breaks while in college, before the operation was moved to Mexico. It even included a picture of our family friend, who ran that department and later was a part of the Artist Relations group.
If you are from the Nazareth area and enjoy local history, or play a Martin guitar, you'll likely enjoy this book....more
This book was published in 2001 as a part of what appears to be a World Wrestling Federation promotional effort featuring bio's of some of its stars aThis book was published in 2001 as a part of what appears to be a World Wrestling Federation promotional effort featuring bio's of some of its stars and major events.
I read it this week, because I live in Pennsylvania, my father was from Pittsburgh and was a hall of fame wrestling coach. It was his copy of the book I read.
Kurt Angle won the PIAA state wrestling championship, two national titles at Clarion (a small state school in western PA), a world title, and Olympic gold in Atlanta.
Reading the book was personally engaging for me because Kurt is three years older than me and many of the people he references I had watched wrestle or had met, plus I competed myself and could relate to much of what he had to say about amateur wrestling.
His family story was interesting and I thought the description of how his family life impacted his personality and approach to life/challenges was interesting. I vividly remember watching his nephew wrestle in the state tournament on one leg when he injured his ankle, Mark Jr. was clearly as tough as Kurt said Mark Sr. was.
His description of post-Olympic, pre-WWF life was interesting to read as was his take on adapting and learning how the sports entertainment world worked.
I read this recognizing that it was a promotional biography that was co-written with a professional, but it still didn't seem tight enough of a write. As other mentioned there was a lot of repetition.
I thought the insight was very interesting, especially into the WWF and work that took place to make it happen.
This isn't a book for most people. You need to want to learn more about Kurt, but take it with a bit of a grain of salt. ...more
There is a very limited market for this book, those who enjoy/study Norse Mythology or are very hard core fans of JRR Tolkien would be the primary canThere is a very limited market for this book, those who enjoy/study Norse Mythology or are very hard core fans of JRR Tolkien would be the primary candidates.
I'm a Tolkien fan and knew nothing about Norse Mythology, so from that perspective the book was intriguing, but also a bit confusing as the story part went.
It was confusing, because Tolkien was re-writing the Norse poems, which I had no familiarity of. The poems together were not written by the same person and therefore had some inconsistencies, which also made it challenging to read as a whole.
The benefit of reading from a fan of Tolkien perspective, however, was that you saw many glimpses from the poem that became a part of his middle earth. It also highlighted his academic side, which could easily be overlooked compared to him as author. ...more
I'm a huge Tolkien fan, so last year I got his translation of Beowulf, but I'm not in a good position to rate this book. For whatever reason, while II'm a huge Tolkien fan, so last year I got his translation of Beowulf, but I'm not in a good position to rate this book. For whatever reason, while I consider myself a reasonably avid reader, I hadn't previously read Beowulf. As a result of not having read it before I really can't say if it is a good translation or not.
There is the translation, then Notes on the text of the Translation, Commentary, Sellic Spell, and the Lay of Beowulf.
Beowulf as a story is enjoyable, reads well, and provides some potential insights into the impact on Tolkien's own works (dragons, evil, treasure stealing people, kings, honor, warriors), but I can't say if it is better than other translations or not.
For academics, I would imagine the notes on the text of the Translation would be interesting, but for me, not so much so. I couldn't read through them. The same was true for me relating to the commentary on the translation.
The Sellic Spell is a work of Tolkien's based on Beowulf and a final and original version are included.
The Lay of Beowulf is also a work by Tolkien and similar in what he did with the Lays of Beleriand retelling his own stories of Beren and Luthien and the Children of Hurin in the Lay style.
Dostoyevsky is not for everyone. If you like a fast, exciting, page-turner, this is not for you.
The demons in this book are the ideas entering RussiaDostoyevsky is not for everyone. If you like a fast, exciting, page-turner, this is not for you.
The demons in this book are the ideas entering Russia in the late 1800's from Europe and are expressed by a range of characters living in a small provincial town outside St. Petersburg.
The book is organized in three parts. Part one introduces most of the characters and brings many of them together in the parlor of Varvara after Marya begs for help outside the church and is brought to the home.
The second part is focused on Stavrogin and then Peter and addresses the revolutionary activity or more to the point inactivity taking place.
The third part starts with the disastrous fete and works through resolving each of the characters in the book.
Dostoyevsky is very good at showing that people are crazy and the more rational and sane they think they are, the crazier they become.
He also does an excellent job of depicting people, faith, and ideas and how they conflict with one another in an on-going basis.
I won't say much more because it would ruin many of the shifts and surprises that take place throughout....more
Tatiana is the 8th installment of the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith. The series started with 1981's Gorky Park.
I've always greatly enjoyedTatiana is the 8th installment of the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith. The series started with 1981's Gorky Park.
I've always greatly enjoyed these books, because of the character of Renko. He is a police detective in Moscow, whose father was a ruthless World War II General. His mother committed suicide in the lake by the family dacha and did so using rocks collected by Renko then a young boy. Renko, like everyone, has issues.
In college my history courses were split between Soviet/Russian and the Middle East. I attempted to learn Russian, but dropped it (I've found languages are not my thing). And to this day I enjoy reading the works of Russian authors. Over the past several years I've been focused on Dostoevsky.
For me, the draw of the series over other detective/suspense series is the authenticity of Renko. What I thought was missing from this book was some more pealing back of the onion that is Renko. The reader didn't really learn more about him in this book. Nor did he seem particularly "challenged" or "conflicted" as he has in so many of the earlier books. There didn't seem to be any inner-wrangling in this one and as a result it felt a bit flat.
I also thought the story was ok, but not great. I felt like somethings were found out too easily or weren't relayed well to the reader and could have been better described rather than simply told.
The same could be said for the setting, which to me has been another distinguishing factor in earlier books. The fishing vessel, Cuba, Chernobyl, these were fascinating settings in which Renko worked. Kaliningrad could have been more intriguing, if maybe Renko had to get to the shipping yard where cold war and current submarines and ships were built, repaired, and harbored, but it never happened.
Finally, I liked the insertion of the character Zhenya into the series. I wasn't convinced that his character would want to join the army. It seemed to me that this was added for the purpose of having a conflict of wills to help the story move forward, but it wasn't plausible within my take on the world that had been created by Cruz. Zhenya was anti-authority, but he wants to now join the army? It wasn't believable within the story for me. The other college kids calling him out as a chess hustler, I didn't feel was as developed as it could have been as well. Using Zhenya and his new friend Lotte to try to solve the puzzle of the notebook was a good call.
I probably sound like I'm being really hard on this book, and I probably am, because I have high expectations for the books in this series. All-in-all, it is a good read with good characters, but for me Martin Cruz Smith has set the bar high when it comes to Arkady Renko....more
I picked up a hardcover copy of Gorky Park at our local library fundraiser (a paperbag of books for $5). I hadn't read this book previously since maybI picked up a hardcover copy of Gorky Park at our local library fundraiser (a paperbag of books for $5). I hadn't read this book previously since maybe the late 1980s to early 1990s. I grew up in the cold war and have read the entire series over a long span of time.
As such, I forgot much of what started the series.
Gorky Park introduces us to Chief Investigator Arkady Renko.
All in all, Arkady Renko, despite what his government or other governments submit him to, is all about his country and local being.
The story to me is very Russian. It is not a Dan Brown page turner, nor is it Dostoyevsky, but it is longer than short.
The story opens with the murder of two Siberians and an American in Gorky Park. They are not only murdered but mutilated to conceal who they were. Renko arrives after a KGB agent with whom Renko has had previous run-ins.
The investigation brings in several individuals and travels from Russia to America.
This is very much a cold war novel in a time very distinct from today, but all of the aspects of Renko that I find so frustrating and yet appealing are right there in the beginning....more
I've read and enjoyed each of Matthew Pearl's books. They are in a sense similar in style, but diverse in the story being told. They are not DaVinci CI've read and enjoyed each of Matthew Pearl's books. They are in a sense similar in style, but diverse in the story being told. They are not DaVinci Code style page turners. They often build up and crescendo at the right time.
The Last Bookaneer, however, threw me a bit. I liked the concept and characters for the most part, but I don't feel like this story ended as well as his others.
I'm not sure what would have worked better, but I know that having Stevenson's step-son not recall the people who are the focus of the story five years later didn't strike me as plausible.
I wanted to know more about what happened to Belial and Davenport. Vao's story could have been expanded on as well, and the Stevenson families' ending was very general and quickly summarized.
Finally, Fergins ending also didn't feel right for me.
Again, I'll keep reading Pearl's books, I enjoy them, but this ending didn't work so well for me....more