Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)'s Reviews > The Book of Lost Tales, Part One

The Book of Lost Tales, Part One by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Jan 24, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: sci-fi-fantasy, mythology, 2011, adult-lit
Recommended for: hard-core tolkien fans; anyone who wants to see the evolution of tolkien's work
Read from June 10 to 21, 2011

I thought I’d give this book a try since I love both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and wanted to get some of the backstory.

This book isn’t what I expected. In fact, the book was far different than what I thought it would be. I expected some of the folklore and mythology of Middle Earth, which it was, at least to an extend. However, the “lost tales” were compiled by Tolkien’s son Christopher, who tried to make sense of the notes that his father left behind.

Each chapter is one of the lost tales, which are immediately followed by notes and commentary by Christopher. It definitely shows the evolution of Tolkien’s work, as Christopher often shows several drafts of each tale.

It was hard for me to get into, and hard to get through it- I was only able to get though one chapter at a time. It was interesting to see the evolution of Tolkien’s work and how it changed, plus seeing Christopher explain his father’s notes was interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a lot of it, but at least I gave it a try. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who’s really into Tolkien (and anyone who liked the Silmarillion), but if you liked Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, you might not like it. If you want to give it a try, though, keep in mind that it shows the evolution of the stories that make up the backstory of Middle Earth.

If I had to pick a favorite/memorable chapter, it would definitely be the coming of the elves. Honestly, it was the one that stood out the most, and the one that I remember the most from. I think I’ll try reading the second volume now that I know what to expect- assuming that it’s similar to this one, which seems likely. Maybe I’ll try to take notes in order to help myself keep up with all the different characters.

There is an appendix with all the different names- I only flipped through it, but it appeared to be about the origins of the different names, and quite frankly, I could care less about the etymology. However, it is clear that Tolkien obviously put a lot of thought into the world of Middle Earth, and into naming everything.

I give it a 2.5 out of 5. Interesting book, but not really my cup of tea.

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06/10/2011 page 63
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