Modern Good Reads discussion

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MGR Events (BOTM, etc.) > August BOTM Discussion

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message 1: by Kirstin, Moderator (new)

Kirstin Pulioff | 252 comments Mod
Welcome to our August discussion. This month we voted on our favorite fantasy reads, and the overwhelming response was for Ye Gods! and Lord of the Rings...

So, let's discuss...


message 2: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Hinkey (lynnemhinkey) | 13 comments Hi All,

I'm the author of Ye Gods! so won't talk about that (but am happy to answer questions, if you have any!)

So, on to LOTR: it really set the benchmark for all fantasy epics. I love both the book and the movies--and most of all, I love that Tolkien had a specific plan, and an ending. Tell the complete story in 3 books, and each book is a story in itself. JK Rowling knew her entire story trajectory and we knew it would end in Harry's last year at Hogwarts--7 books, each with it's own stand alone story and part of the bigger story trajectory. They clearly outlined or time-lined or in some other way knew where they were going and got there.

Then there are those fantasy writers who have gone overboard with never-ending stories. Robert Jordan hadn't wrapped up his Wheel of Time series after 12 books, then he died. George RR Martin has 6 and counting--not sure if he has a plan for ending or not. I love the Song of Fire and Ice series, but worry that he's on the same path Jordan was. Thoughts?

(And back to Ye Gods!--it was written as a stand alone, but I've since outlined the next 2 books in the Chupacabra trilogy, at which time the story will be complete.)


message 3: by Guilie (new)

Guilie | 3 comments I'm wary of series as a rule (Wheel of Time example)... They tend to feel (to me) somewhat drawn out, a sort of soap-opera syndrome. But Lynne has it right: LOTR and Harry Potter are great examples of what a series needs to be: it's a single story, with a single arc, that just happens to either span a long stretch of time (as HP does) or has so many things happening in it (LOTR) that it requires more than one book to tell it complete. It is *not* the unnecessary prolongation of a story simply because "people like it" or "it's an interesting subject" (I'm thinking of the Jean M. Auel books here--could've done with just the first one), or that infamous slippery slope of "I can't say goodbye to these characters yet". A story is only as good as its arc, and too many series stretch that arc so badly it ends up deformed.

Ye Gods!, on the other hand, seems to have the perfect theme for a series, Lynne. This first book answers enough questions to make it complete in itself, but those answers raise more questions, and I'm glad there's two more books to come soon.


message 4: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Hinkey (lynnemhinkey) | 13 comments Jean Auel's books are another great example, Guilie. And thank you for the kind words about Ye Gods! I worried whether I wanted to write them because I wasn't ready to leave the characters or because I had more. The plot is very different, but the themes remain the same--belief bringing gods to life.


message 5: by Travis, Moderator (new)

Travis Luedke (twluedke) | 450 comments Mod
Lord of the Rings was probably one of the first fantasy series I ever read.

Its amazing to think back and realize I read The Hobbit in sixth grade, then, later, when I was probably 14, in JR High, I read the rest of the series.

I shake my head at the content restrictions people place on teens today. By some standards LOTR shouldn't be a book for teens, but, it has inspired entire generations of teens into the fantasy and gaming worlds.

Look at how far we have come since LOTR. The development of these fantasy worlds today is so deep, intense, visual, graphic, interactive.

And yet, when you look at the dialogue, the intricate plot, the sweeping, epic reach of LOTR, the fundamental truths of good vs evil, and the sacrifices of war, you realize that Tolkien is still the standard for which we reach in all fantasy fiction.

Some of the lines from LOTR are timeless, literary even:

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

“Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

“Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn!”


LOTR might lack some of the contemporary flare and intricate creativity of today's fantasy and gaming world, but, it holds a timeless beauty few works of literature will ever attain.


message 6: by J.A. (new)

J.A. McLachlan (janeannmclachlan) | 6 comments LOTR - I actually liked the movies much better than the books. I couldn't get into LOTR till at least half-way through the first book, which is a LOT of pages of wading. Tolkein had more fun imagining a world than telling a story. After the half-way mark, I finally got involved in the story, and read them all. But I think T. could have used a good editor editing. I wouldn't persist so long now, which is regretful, because it really is a good, classic story.


message 7: by Grace (new)

Grace Hamilton | 50 comments It was many years ago that I read LOTR, as a teen it was stunning and spellbinding, then the movies came out, it brought the books back into focus, I met HP as an adult and although it was primarily written for the young end of the market I thoroughly enjoyed ever moment of ever book. Since Jean Auel's books The Earth Children have been mentioned I thought I should clarify, I wasn't at all of the impression that they were of the fantasy genre, more like a well researched historical story or perhaps pre-historical, it's one of my favourite reads, and if I have not much to read or I wish to greet an old friend, I go to the book shelves and take it out. I've just finished Diana Garaldon's, The Outlander which is being made into a TV series, I've seen the first two parts which have impressed me greatly and I can wait until the next one...another of the fantasy genre


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I have only ever read "The Fellowship of the Ring," and that was many years ago, when I was far too young to appreciate it. I really need to revisit the series, and take time to absorb Middle Earth. Plus, I need to compare the books to the movies!


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