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December 2018: Geek Reads > Fellowship of the Ring, by JRR Tolkien, 2.5

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 12, 2018 01:54AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5568 comments When I saw the "geek reads" tag, Lord of the Rings was the first title that came to mind. Most readers are familiar with the series already, so won't attempt to describe it. I always thought of it as a series for boys or men, but this summer I met many women on goodreads who love Tolkien's writing. I liked the beginning, but much of the middle was so slow and tedious, I had to set the book aside several times. Finally when I saw the tag here, I knew I just had to push through. I did enjoy the ending, particularly the parts with the Elven people and Galadriel. The writing seemed more lyrical and the dialogue was much more personal and interesting. Is it a coincidence that a woman was leading the discussions I found interesting? There are many characters in this book but only one or two interesting female characters. That makes their world even stranger. (I did like Lonesome Dove, which was a long journey with mostly men.) I wanted to like it. I guess this just isn't for me.


message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I’ve not read it in a long time but plan to read it to my 10.5 year old some time in the next year or so. It will be interesting to see if I still like it. We read The Hobbit a while ago and loved it.


message 3: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6002 comments I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was in college. I remember that my roommate was aghast that I had never read THE HOBBIT, so I picked it up. I loved it, and went on with the trilogy.

At that time in my life, an adventure story about friendship and loyalty fit right in with what I was going through (I was only 17 went I went across the USA to college).

But ... I doubt that I'd enjoy them so much today.

I went to see the first movie with my two brothers (both younger than I). I thought it was very violent and definitely a "boys" movie. Never bothered with any of the other movies.


message 4: by ShazM (new)

ShazM | 379 comments I've read these untold times and really love The Fellowship of the Ring best of all. The Hobbit's okay and I like parts of The Two Towers and The Return of The King but the first of the trilogy is my all time favourite. I have no idea why but this is also the first one I thought of for geek reads!


message 5: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 430 comments I know this is could be a volatile statement, but it’s not the story line that I dislike in these books (I love all the movies) is the story telling itself. I know Tolkien is iconic, but I just do not enjoy his style of writting. I read The Hobbit and disliked it but felt I had to give the trilogy a go, maybe it was just a fluke. I disliked The Fellowship even more. I may have even given it one star ... But the movies? Absolutely brilliant.


message 6: by Hebah (new)

Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea...


message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments I first read Tolkien as a teenager. About 5 years ago when I began having health issues and was pretty much stuck at home I decided to re-read. I still loved it and wondered why I had ever stopped reading Epic Fantasy-since then fantasy (as well as historical fiction) has been my go to genre. I am sure it is the "escapism" factor that draws me in.


message 8: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments I do not think the story or the movies are "boy" movies, which is implying that girls cannot like adventure and violence. I do think that, regardless of your gender, the movies are not for those who prefer not to have violence in their movies because they are graphic.

I loved the books. I loved the movies almost as much. I thought the movies were brilliant from the adaptation to the acting to how is seemed they picked sets directly from my imagination.

*Stepping down off my soapbox, but if I don't correct small gender stereotyping then I feel like I am just letting it slide.

I do want to eventually reread these books since I haven't done so since grad school, but just keep holding out hope that one day I will have more time for epic tomes such as this!


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea..."

Thanks for sharing that Heba! So true, that we all walked through "our own door" to reading-And that is what makes this group special


message 10: by Dan (new)

Dan | 16 comments I have two kids, both of whom are avid readers. They both tried Tolkien at my insistence it would blow their minds and they both loath Tolkien. They didn't like the films, either. I love Tolkien; I have read LOTR more than once. I enjoyed Peter Jackson's take, for what it was. But they're not buying any of it.

(For the record, they both despise Harry Potter as well.)

But they both devour anime/manga. I tried, really tried, but I don't get it. I prefer Tolkien's world-building, thank you very much.

I started this comment with the intent of asking whether Tolkien is more of a 40+ genre that the new generation finds amusing. "Oh, you old people and your Tolkien." Now, I'm not sure. Could just be my kids.


message 11: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Dan wrote: "I have two kids, both of whom are avid readers. They both tried Tolkien at my insistence it would blow their minds and they both loath Tolkien. They didn't like the films, either. I love Tolkien; I..."

No Tolkien or Harry Potter love?!? Is it too late to exchange them?!? ;)


message 12: by Jgrace (last edited Dec 12, 2018 11:18AM) (new)

Jgrace | 2938 comments Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea..."

Terrific speech! Now I may have to read one of her books.
The way she spoke about 'finding a different door' made me think of how I feel about teaching young children to read. I have all the credentials and years of experience, I am legitimately an expert of reading instruction. But, I've shocked parents and principals when I've admitted that I really don't know how children learn to read. No one does. I know how to facilitate the process. I know how to diagnose difficulties and find highly varied alternative methods. But when it comes down to the individual child and her individual brain putting it all together and finally reading, 'Do you like green eggs and ham?' with ease and understanding; I don't know precisely what made the lightbulb go on.

I love Tolkien's work. I've read the books multiple times, some parts to the point of memorization. But I can't say that everyone should read and love them as much as I do, anymore than I would say that there is only one way to teach a child to read. There are a lot of doors and many ways to make the lightbulb switch on.


message 13: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments Jgrace wrote: "Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea......"

I was a Reading tutor for 4-5 years at the 1st and 2nd grade level, so I get what you are saying. I had 8-10 students each semester, and how some of them found that door and others couldn't-it was a mystery to me. I am glad to see you, as obviously an expert, never understood it either!


message 14: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea..."

Thanks for this -- my 'door' to reading was Nancy Drew - my 10th Birthday, my much older brother gave me 3 of them to read.


message 15: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7782 comments Theresa wrote: "Thanks for this -- my 'door' to reading was Nancy Drew - my 10th Birthday, my much older brother gave me 3 of them to read.."

Those were some of my early favorites too! I keep saying I want to reread a couple of them, but I am worried that they will ruin my memory.


message 16: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5068 comments I also intend to try out Schwab's books after reading that speech, I loved it! The earliest books I can remember reading (after Dr. Seuss) are Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. At 7 I was devouring Nancy Drew. But though I was already an avid reader by the time I read Tolkien, it was my doorway into fantasy meant for adults as opposed to those targeted for children, like Narnia.


message 17: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments LOTR did not give me my love of reading - that already existed -- but it definitely expanded me into fantasy, although I'm still not much of a reader of the genre.

I first read LOTR when I was 15 or 16 - this was back around 1970. I borrowed it from my high school library because it was one of the few non-classics there to read, and some of my classmates were into it (I was in the nerd section of classes - so of course some were fans and learning elvish although the popular series was Frank Herbert's Dune series which I personally found unreadable). I absolutely adored it because it was an adventure story, good outdoing evil, and read like historical fiction which I loved. It was a world close enough to our real world in a past time that I could see myself as part of the Fellowship, journeying through Middle Earth. I persuaded another friend or two to read it, and whenever it came up in conversation, I recommended it and defended it.

Read it again in my late 20s and loved it even more --- only this time, my heart was captured by Frodo and his journey. Then I tried reading The Hobbit - hated it and in fact have never finished it. It stands as one of my main DNF reads of all time. I read the Silmarillion and others - loving them all. I even own a hardcover reissue set of LOTR.

The lack of women in key roles, other than elves, bothered me a bit at that point (I had attended a women's college by then, had grown into my feminist persona), but not enough to make me diss the books. It's still an amazing adventure, and a journey for each of the primary characters, most of whom are not humans. The lack of strong women's roles in this particular plot did not and do not bother me.

I adore the movies, believe them to be classics. Such an amazing adaptation and really great adventure, good vs. evil. In fact, my girlfriends and I consider them chick flics - Viggo! Sean Bean! David! Hugo! Get out the drool cloths! And the movies led me to read them again -- this time for some reason it was Sam's journey that touched me the most. I still loved the books, will eventually re-read them again.

On the third reading I did notice that it took me some time to get into Tolkien's writing style which seemed a tad dry and stiff - something I did not remember from prior readings. I had always found the first 50 pages or so difficult --- the books only came alive for me once they reach Bree. but again, that's not enough to have me rate them less than 5 stars. Every time, I reach the last page, I read all the appendices, indexes and additional material because I just don't want to leave Middle Earth and its inhabitants.

Much as I love LOTR, I loathe The Hobbit. It's not for everyone and doesn't need to be. I also love GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire series, Patrick Rothfuss' series, and Dickens. Others dislike all those but my eyes cross when they rhapsodize over Janie Wurtz. That's what makes it all so interesting.


message 18: by annapi (last edited Dec 12, 2018 01:05PM) (new)

annapi | 5068 comments I can't say I loathed The Hobbit, but it did not capture me the way LOTR did. I always felt it was written for children whereas LOTR was written for adults. I can't count how many times I've read LOTR (though I admit that every re-read I always skim or skip past Tom Bombadil), and that I started at 9 years old. It was only in later readings that I finally ventured into LOTR's appendices, and that opened Middle-Earth even more for me, and eventually led to The Silmarillion, which I read three times. I taught myself to write in Elvish and memorized a few phrases, and I chose 23 as my lucky number because in the Elvish Quenya language the 23rd letter (equivalent to our Y) is called anna. That's how geeky I was! (Still am, I guess!)


message 19: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments annapi wrote: "though I admit that every re-read I always skim or skip past Tom Bombadil)"

Well except for the bath song! Co'mon! That bath song is fabulous!

[confession - I love a long hot soak in a bubble bath!]


message 20: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6183 comments I loved reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. When the first movie came out we watched at home and my husband told me to never have him watch another one. He did not enjoy it at all.


message 21: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Nancy it is so nice to know that someone else does not love these books. I read the series for a reading group and it just wasn't for me.


message 22: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5568 comments Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea..."

Thanks for sharing this article. She got me thinking, and I realize that I like speculative twists in a real world, more than a completely different world. I read one of her books with a book club long ago and I'm wondering what came next.


message 23: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2502 comments Such a great speech - thanks for posting the link, Hebah!

Personally, I love LOTR, always have. But I don’t view it as some kind of sacred cow. (And Tom Bombadil does my head in, every time...)

I hope Will loves it, Susie. I read it to my then 10 and 7 year old sons, thinking I’d have to skip loads of boring description - but in fact we read all three volumes with no cuts. They adored it. I’ll never forget Andrew (the younger one) sobbing his little heart out when one favourite character died in battle in ‘Return’. He’s been passionate about the books ever since - to the extent that he managed to get to play an orc and then an elf when The Hobbit was being filmed.

I have the director’s cuts of all the LOTR films too, and love them but then they are basically a tourist video for New Zealand, lol.


message 24: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I really hope Will loves it as much as your boys did Kate. What a lovely memory.


message 25: by AsimovsZeroth (new)

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments I loved The Hobbit, but I must admit, that partly, that's possibly a nostalgic bias. When I was a kid and started to suffer my own health problems, my dad took time out of his busy schedule, to read The Hobbit with me. Time with him was pretty precious and we took turns reading the chapters with each other somewhere around 10-12, just like we used to do when I was 7-8. So to be honest, I can't give an unbiased review of it, because I haven't read it again since. It's a nearly superstitious fear of ruining the magic of that memory.

However, I did later read LOTR and while I loved it, I agree with Kate - the trilogy has some... problems. It's not a sacred cow. There are definitely portions of the book where it slowed down painfully. However, to be fair to Tolkien, the entirety of LOTR was originally supposed to be one volume of a set, the other volume being The Silmarillion, but his publisher stubbornly insisted he pad the work considerably.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Theresa wrote: "Hebah wrote: "I'm just going to leave Victoria Schwab's speech on fantasy doorways riiiight here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/13/in-sea......"

Oh Theresa, how I loved Nancy Drew! It opened my world up to so many great mysteries to solve. Or at least I thought I was solving mysteries.:) I ended up with the whole set of books.


message 27: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2938 comments KateNZ wrote: "Such a great speech - thanks for posting the link, Hebah!

Personally, I love LOTR, always have. But I don’t view it as some kind of sacred cow. (And Tom Bombadil does my head in, every time...)
..."


Now I'm racking my brain to remember which character who died in Return of the king could be so loved. You may just have forced me to reopen the book to the last battle.


message 28: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5068 comments I can't think of any beloved character who died either...


message 29: by ShazM (new)

ShazM | 379 comments Theresa wrote: "LOTR did not give me my love of reading - that already existed -- but it definitely expanded me into fantasy, although I'm still not much of a reader of the genre.

I first read LOTR when I was 15 ..."


Hey! What about Orlando? How could you miss out Orlando?


message 30: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments I think those of you who cannot think who died, need to think about "beloved" with the mind set of a small boy(let me know if I am right Kate)(view spoiler)


message 31: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments ShazM wrote: "THey! What about Orlando? How could you miss out Orlando..."

We just saw him as a punk kid -- we were a bit too old to find him remotely attractive. We left him for the teenagers.


message 32: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments Rachel wrote: "Oh Theresa, how I loved Nancy Drew! It opened my world up to so many great mysteries to solve. Or at least I thought I was solving mysteries.:) I ended up with the whole set of books. i..."

I read before that but Nancy gave me the world of mysteries and the absolute passion for reading. My sisters and I managed to borrow or buy all of them in print at the time we were growing up and we each still own some of them. I graduated from Nancy, the Hardy Boys and the Happy Hollisters directly into Agatha Christie, Helen MacInnes, Alistair McLean and so on and so on.

I'm sure eventually I would have had something ignite that passion - it was dormant, just waiting for the match to light it up.


message 33: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments Joanne wrote: "I think those of you who cannot think who died, need to think about "beloved" with the mind set of a small boy(let me know if I am right Kate)[spoilers removed]"

You have to be right, Joanne!


message 34: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2502 comments Joanne wrote: "I think those of you who cannot think who died, need to think about "beloved" with the mind set of a small boy(let me know if I am right Kate)[spoilers removed]"

Kind of yes, but not the episode I was thinking of. It was (view spoiler)


message 35: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7402 comments KateNZ wrote: "Joanne wrote: "I think those of you who cannot think who died, need to think about "beloved" with the mind set of a small boy(let me know if I am right Kate)[spoilers removed]"

Kind of yes, but no..."


AH, of course. And he was so brilliantly portrayed in the movies!


message 36: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments Theresa wrote: "ShazM wrote: "THey! What about Orlando? How could you miss out Orlando..."

We just saw him as a punk kid -- we were a bit too old to find him remotely attractive. We left him for the teenagers."


KateNZ wrote: "Joanne wrote: "I think those of you who cannot think who died, need to think about "beloved" with the mind set of a small boy(let me know if I am right Kate)[spoilers removed]"

Kind of yes, but no..."


Ahhh-for some reason he slipped my mind.


message 37: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments Theresa wrote: "ShazM wrote: "THey! What about Orlando? How could you miss out Orlando..."

We just saw him as a punk kid -- we were a bit too old to find him remotely attractive. We left him for the teenagers."


Well, I must be a teenager at heart🤣
💕💕


message 38: by Lucia's Fire (new)

Lucia's Fire My favourite book series, love the adventure and characters. ☺ First read this when I was 11, loved it ever since.


message 39: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5568 comments Lucia's Fire wrote: "My favourite book series, love the adventure and characters. ☺ First read this when I was 11, loved it ever since."


It's wonderful when you can read a series as a child and still love it as an adult. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was like that for me.


message 40: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6183 comments NancyJ wrote: "It's wonderful when you can read a series as a child and still love it as an adult. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was like that for me. ."

Me too, but it has been quite a few years since I last read it.


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