**spoiler alert** This is a book that I'm being paid to read and summarise. This is not a book that I would have chosen to read all by myself. I disli**spoiler alert** This is a book that I'm being paid to read and summarise. This is not a book that I would have chosen to read all by myself. I dislike allegory and I particularly dislike spiritual allegory. I've always considered it rather insulting, rather like saying "Well, you'll never understand this, so let me dumb it down for you."
This is the story of a shepherd boy and his 'Personal Legend'. Basically, what this book seems to be saying is that if you follow your intuition and behave in an extremely superstitious manner all your dreams will come true. None of which I believe. I do believe that you must be prepared to take detours and so on while trying to reach your goals. Of course, I also believe that you should make decisions based both on rationality and on your own desire. I do not believe that you should allow anyone (regardless of who they might be) to dictate your life to you.
The one message of this book that I do like is the one that says: you will not be a fulfilled person if you do not make every effort to follow your dreams. That is something I can agree with....more
This was my introduction to Tolkien, sometime in primary school. Wandering about the library, one of the student-librarians suggested I try this. I'mThis was my introduction to Tolkien, sometime in primary school. Wandering about the library, one of the student-librarians suggested I try this. I'm not sure I made it past the first paragraph. I know I didn't make it past the first page. To this day, I still rather dislike the Hobbit.
I've read this book a few times and, like most things, familiarity is tending to make it more and more preferred. It's well-written, a good story, lots of fun and interesting. I'm a rereader. Thankfully I read fast enough that I can reread many books as well as reading many new books. I reread LotR once a year. I reread a fair amount of other favourites every year. Sometimes more often. This book, however, I reread about once every five years. For some reason I just don't enjoy it that much. There's no good reason for it, it's just one of those quirks. I suspect that at least part of my dislike stems from the fact that the narrative is weighted heavily towards the dwarves and Bilbo - the anthropologist in me wants more variety to study.
It's still a book to be recommended. It's just not one I particularly enjoy most of the time....more
**spoiler alert** I must say that this is, in many ways, my favourite volume in the series (though I'll probably say that about them all). While I'm a**spoiler alert** I must say that this is, in many ways, my favourite volume in the series (though I'll probably say that about them all). While I'm all for considering the entire work as a whole, as I understand Tolkien did, they are divided into the three volumes and I've already considered the work as a whole.
I love this volume. I love the descriptions of the landscapes. I love the hobbits. I am a hobbit in many ways (though I do wish I could enjoy both cooking and gardening in a slightly more balanced, continuous way, rather than the off-and-on way I do now). I would probably fit in very well at Rivendell as well, devouring all those stories (I sometimes see myself as Sam, being tutored by Bilbo and getting completely wrapped up in tales), though no one would ever mistake me for an elf.
I find many parts of the book beautiful, occasionally sad and frequently wistful. There's an autumnal quality to this first volume, particularly as you enter into Book II with the death of Gandalf, the twilight nature of Lothlorien (don't ask me to explain that, because I can't) and the eventual breaking of the fellowship. It really does seem to be the ending of an Age (and, really, it is the beginning of the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth) and that is probably why I always turn back to it in Autumn.
This is probably the volume I reread most, particularly the beginning (except for the Tom Bombadil chapters, which I frequently thoroughly despise and skip without reservation) with the apparently idyllic Shire (how I'd love to live there) and the adventure and excitement of setting out - both on a perfectly lovely walking trip and on an Adventure. It appeals to me in every respect. I particularly enjoy rereading this after watching the movie (definitely my favourite of the three, almost without comparison [I'm very attached to the sections on Rohan in TTT movie]) as the depth and intricacy is so much clearer after that pale reflection....more
**spoiler alert** For the first time in a long time, a children's story that allows itself to be frightening. There are a lot of parallels to Pan's La**spoiler alert** For the first time in a long time, a children's story that allows itself to be frightening. There are a lot of parallels to Pan's Labyrinth, though neither suffer from the similarities. Also, Coraline's real life is nice and normal and not half so scary as the beldam's world. A wonderfully funny and frightening escapade that anyone who liked to explore as a child will appreciate and enjoy....more
For some reason my thoughts turn towards this book every year around Autumn. Rather like Frodo contemplating adventuring out of the Shire every AutumnFor some reason my thoughts turn towards this book every year around Autumn. Rather like Frodo contemplating adventuring out of the Shire every Autumn. I imagine that LotR is my mental equivalent of comfort food, in somewhat the same way as Enid Blyton is. Also, as I said somewhere previously, I'm somewhat obsessional and my obsessions tend to be cyclical, so I go through a LotR phase every now and then.
My first experience of Tolkien was not a good one. Some years later I was told to read LotR by my Dad, and I did. I loved it. There were some bits that dragged (there still are, but I've read every word multiple times and have no issues with skipping entire chapters if I feel like it), but most of it was phenomenal. I love this book. Until the last few years, I lived at home and read my Dad's copy. Then I moved out. I had no LotR of my own. I was given this beautiful 50th Anniversary edition one year. It's gorgeous. I adore this book. The cover is soft, it has a little box, the edges of the pages are shiny gold, like in very old books and there's a little red ribbon to mark your place. The maps are fantastic, in black and red and there are some images in the book of the pages of the Book of Mazarbul (from the Chamber of Records in Moria). I also have a copy of Two Towers illustrated by Alan Lee. I'd like individual illustrated copies of Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King as well (by John Howe, preferably, but I'll take Alan Lee as well) - this is a book I like to read in the bath and my single volume is too unwieldy and precious for that.
I like to watch the movies too, despite the many and varied objections I have to it (not the least of which is our missing 2nd half of the Two Towers Extended Edition). It's a fun romp through a book that tugs at the heart strings and evokes all manner of feeling. Also, it's pretty and quicker than reading the book. Of course, no sooner than I watch the movie (again) than I want to read the book (again), so they feed into themselves.
Tolkien's precision and profundity are two of the most enduring qualities of this work. The language is exquisite, the descriptions are evocative, the characters are real. This is a book that stays with me, always. The issues are real and - most importantly - applicable to each and every stage of a person's life. Also, I'd make a very good hobbit....more
Daisy is sent from New York to live with relatives in England because her stepmother doesn't like her. Or something, that bit isn't important. What isDaisy is sent from New York to live with relatives in England because her stepmother doesn't like her. Or something, that bit isn't important. What is important is how she interacts with these new-found relatives who live out in the country. Next thing you know, there's a war on and the only adult in the house is in a different country.
This is a story of survival in the face of horror, and tenacity. It's a story of how bonds are made and sustained. It's a 'young adult' book, which I usually take to mean children, along with things like Nancy Drew and the Twilight series (neither of which you'll find on my bookshelves, though I have read them). This is not a story I'd recommend for anyone under sixteen. It's a harsh, sometimes graphic description of the horrific reality of war and the effects that exposure to this can have on people - both individually and as a group.
It's a fantastic book, well-written and I heartily recommend it to adult readers....more
**spoiler alert** I love this book. It's my favourite part (I know, I said the same about Fellowship and I'll probably say it again for RotK). One of**spoiler alert** I love this book. It's my favourite part (I know, I said the same about Fellowship and I'll probably say it again for RotK). One of the most interesting things about it is, in the words of a truly awful song, 'there's no beginning, there'll be no end' ('Love is All Around' by Wet Wet Wet, if you're wondering). This is the middle of the story and there is no real beginning and no real end - those are in the other books. This dives right in to the adventure and makes no attempt to tie the ends off. It does, in fact, end off on a cliffhanger.
I am particularly fond of the last chapter, The Choices of Master Samwise. It's such a fascinating insight into the relationship between Sam and Frodo from Sam's perspective. It's also interesting to see the way in which Sam considers his choices and eventually decides what it is that he's supposed to do. There's something poignant about the whole chapter, as Sam grieves and then finds his strength. His confusion is so real and the whole section is incredibly moving.
I'm also extremely fond of anything that involves Eowyn. She's the single major female character in the entire volume. I love Eowyn. She loves and she despairs. She's bound by the culture and the time period in which she lives and yet she manages still to be headstrong and independent. I love watching her character develop. Even though, in this book, one merely glimpses her a few times, one can feel her strength and her desperation behind the scenes and from what people say about her. At least, I think you can, I may be projecting because I've read it so many times I know the characters better than I know myself.
Of course, the heroes of Gondor and Rohan appear here for the first time. Faramir and Eomer. Both are honest, law-abiding men. And yet they're not afraid to bend the laws of their countries (and, really, as heir-apparent in both cases they're probably two of the few who can). These are strong, confident men who trust in their judgement. They believe that they can tell the truth of your intentions and what is best and right to do. They will not take the easy path. They will always do what they believe is right. These are the kind of men that you want to have as your leaders.
My extra super favouritest thing about this book? Merry and Pippin in Fangorn Forest with the ents. I love Treebeard's speeches. I love the contrast of the tiny, quick hobbits with the enormous, deliberating ents. I love love love the scene where the party from Helm's Deep arrives on the edge of the ruin of Isengard and is greeted by the hobbits. The reaction of the Fellowship members and Theoden, with Gandalf amused in the background is something that I read two or three times every time.
I could probably write a ten page essay on the things I love about this book, but I won't. I'll just leave you with the highlights....more
**spoiler alert** When I was little I had a big yellow (Disney) picture book telling this story. I remember it fondly. And, I will say only this: if y**spoiler alert** When I was little I had a big yellow (Disney) picture book telling this story. I remember it fondly. And, I will say only this: if you have fond memories of the story from your childhood, do not ruin them by actually reading the book. The book itself is dreadful. There are only two decent characters in it: Tootles (a Lost Boy) and Liza (the Darling's maid). The narrator is irritating and ingratiating. The Darlings are ridiculous. The children are spoilt and horrible. Peter Pan is the worst of the lot. Tinker Bell is an awful example of fairies. The 'Picaninny' tribe of 'Red Indians' is the most offensive characterisation in the book. The pirates are ridiculous, with Captain Hook the most foppish dandy that ever led a group of cutthroats. The prose is ridiculous and... well... words cannot describe how disappointed I was by the reality of this book.
Do yourself a favour, remember this story fondly and do not read the book....more
**spoiler alert** This was the most fun I've had reading in a long time. I was initially reluctant to read as it seemed like yet another boring sci-fi**spoiler alert** This was the most fun I've had reading in a long time. I was initially reluctant to read as it seemed like yet another boring sci-fi/fantasy book. I was wrong. The first part of the book is spent trying to evade capture as the list of people you can trust dwindles away slowly. The second part deals with what happens when you're captured and it turns out that it's not that bad. Almost... I couldn't wait to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy. Read it!...more
This was less the collective biography I was expecting and more about CS Lewis. I really did enjoy it, though. I was not aware that the Inklings mainlThis was less the collective biography I was expecting and more about CS Lewis. I really did enjoy it, though. I was not aware that the Inklings mainly revolved around him, and discovered the names of a number of people that were important to both him and Tolkien (who, of course, is my main reason for being interested in the Inklings). I had, for example, virtually no knowledge of Charles Williams except for the fact that he was an Inkling. Now I have some interest in finding some of his works and reading them as well as Tolkien's and Lewis's. I'm also going to be looking for some of Lewis's wife's works (mostly written before she moved to England and married him)....more