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It's the summer solstice reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 18 2013, 1:34pm

Post #1 of 17 (195 views)
It's the summer solstice reading thread! Can't Post

So I went there, to Scotland, and have come back again, perhaps not exactly at the turning of the tide Wink My thanks to Otaku-Sempai and Aragorn the Elfstone for filling in for me while I was imitating Treebeard and doing some serious breathing!

Funny how I keep getting New Zealand vibes when I'm in Scotland, and Scotland vibes when I'm in New Zealand.

As for reading, I enjoyed, as always, the London Times Sunday edition (which even had a passing mention of LotR, comparing Christopher Lee's and Viggo Mortensen's associations with rock bands, which was news to me, but then, that's why they call it a newspaper Tongue )

I've also read a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Scroll of the Dead, by David Stuart Davies, part of a series of what are basically Holmes fan-fic novels published by a British publisher. This one dealt with a slimy character searching for an ancient Egyptian scroll. The writing style imitated Conan Doyle's quite nicely, but, as is usual with most pastiches, the plot and Holmes's deductions weren't nearly as puzzling as the original.

No matter. I enjoyed it.

So what have you been reading?

Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens

Jun 18 2013, 5:19pm

Post #2 of 17 (126 views)
A Game of Thrones [In reply to] Can't Post

Great to have you back Lily! Glad you had a great time on your trip. Smile I've always wanted to visit Scotland (one day...).

I've been rereading 'A Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin (about 150 pages in), now that the HBO series is on hiatus. I've also been following along with the rereading/discussions of the book on the archived episodes of the internet podcast "Game of Owns" (which, as I said last week, I recommend heartily if you're a fan of the series). They're getting ready to start their discussions of the second book "A Clash of Kings", so I wanted to catch up. Plus, it's a great motivator to plow through the books (they're monstrously big).

I'm enjoying the experience of delving back into these books immensely. The wealth of information and story you get in the books far surpasses the television show, and unlike my first reading - I'm not getting dismayed by all the names, locations, etc. It's all second hand to me now. Cool It's taking some getting used to reading the "book" characters again, after getting so accustomed to the TV series. Almost everybody's quite a bit younger (Dany's only 13! yikes Crazy). Some characters are very different in my head vs. the show, like Catelyn (who's name I still, even now, mentally pronounce "Kaitlyn") Jon, Jaime, and especially Renly (I forgot how much changed him for the show!).

It's just great having all the knowledge of stuff yet to come when going back to the beginning. All these references early on to Stannis, the Lord of Light, etc. are geeking me out. It's amazing the stuff you gloss over when you are struggling to even get your main characters straight the first time through.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Jun 18 2013, 5:21pm)

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 18 2013, 9:33pm

Post #3 of 17 (113 views)
One day, yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you too, will fall head over heels in love with Scotland!

Your account of re-reading Game of Thrones sounds like many a discussion here on TORn about re-reading LotR, not only about how much more detail the books have than the dramatizations (and how could they not?) but also how many little things you pick up the second, third, or umpteenth time around.

Reconciling the actor playing the part, no matter how skilled, and the character evoked in your mind by the book is always an issue as well. How many of us, for example, saw Elijah Wood and thought, Whoa! Frodo as a child! What a concept!

Well, okay, maybe it was only those of us of a certain age who thought he was shockingly young for the role. He played it well, but he's not really the Frodo of the book.

Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens

Jun 18 2013, 9:57pm

Post #4 of 17 (110 views)
I had it easy with LotR... [In reply to] Can't Post

My first reading of LotR began about a year or so before the release of 'Fellowship', so my impressions of the characters were influenced by the early promotional material for the films. I think that's a large part of why I never had too many reservations about the adaptation. From a visual standpoint, everything was perfectly realized on screen and matched the images of my mind's eye.

That's not to say that the two perfectly sync up. My mental image of Aragorn may resemble Viggo Mortenson, but the character is still quite different from Viggo's on screen performance. Sean Bean, on the other hand, nailed my entire impression of Boromir. I remember when he said "If this is the will of the council...", I was smiling ear to ear and saying to myself "That's sooo Boromir!" Laugh

'A Song of Ice and Fire' (Game of Thrones), on the other hand, I began reading a whole 2-3 years before they even announced the series. So that's taken some getting used to. I love the characters in both the books and show - but in many cases (especially Catelyn), they are quite different entities.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Jun 18 2013, 10:03pm)


Jun 19 2013, 12:39am

Post #5 of 17 (101 views)
I get Scottish vibes in British Columbia [In reply to] Can't Post

rainy, mountainous, green countries with lots of Scots?

I went to the semi-annual library book sale & came home with a bunch of Agatha Christies; re-read "Peril at End House" and read "The Third Girl" which was new to me.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 19 2013, 1:10pm

Post #6 of 17 (86 views)
In my case... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I'd been reading LotR for thirty years before the movies came out. Even then, I felt PJ nailed some of my mental imagery (which sounds painful!), such as Boromir.

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 19 2013, 1:12pm

Post #7 of 17 (92 views)
I've only been to Victoria in BC [In reply to] Can't Post

But would love to hang out in the mountains a bit. Green, misty, watery countries, yes.

I won't say you can't go wrong with Christie, because you can, but overall you can be assured of an entertaining hour or so.

One Ringer
Tol Eressea

Jun 19 2013, 2:32pm

Post #8 of 17 (91 views)
Wow, [In reply to] Can't Post

That's quite the view there! Cool

I find I've been lucky in terms of Holmes pastiches (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes, and vs Dracula respectively, both by Loren D. Estelman). I'm not sure I'm willing to leap into another author's swing at the characters with how much I've enjoyed the one's so far, though there are plenty of titles that have me enticed.

I actually just re-read A Study in Scarlet last week. I still find the second portion of the book to drag away from the meat of the story, but I trudged through with more ease than I did a few years ago. Regardless, it's still a fun read, and I never grow tired of Holmes and Watson. Smile

But what's really been taking up most of my reading lately is a little book called Captain Blood, by Rafael Sabatini. I've seen the Errol Flynn adaptation a couple of times now, but while reading this I've come to realize how much I really love this story, between the threading of the plot, environs, and most of all the characters, it feels like the kind of book I've been searching for for so long. It has to it the air of a classic (such as Three Musketeers ((which I finally finished a while ago)) and Treasure Island), but there's something about it that feels pre-modern. I hate saying these things so early, but I truly believe this is an instant favorite. I strongly recommend checking this one out, whether by book or film or both.

Stigmata Script, a bastion for aspiring writers - http://stigmatascript.com/

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


Jun 19 2013, 3:13pm

Post #9 of 17 (83 views)
yes [In reply to] Can't Post

some of her books were clearly written in haste. And overall, I find Ngaio Marsh writes a much tighter (and more baffling) mystery. But still, ya gotta love Christie.

She showed up on Doctor Who once, did you see that? A clever explanation of the time she went missing. Of course aliens were involved!

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Jun 19 2013, 3:26pm

Post #10 of 17 (97 views)
Still plugging away through the audiobook of FOTR. [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess it has been longer than I realized since I listened to it the last time, because I don't remember much about the performance. It is mostly very good, although there are places where he misses the inflection or emphasis that I think Tolkien intended. For example, when Radagast gives Gandalf the message that Saruman wants him and he keeps referring to "Shire." At one point, Gandalf corrects him and says it is "the Shire." However, Mr. Inglis reads the whole phrase "the Shire" as if it is an exclamation of surprise.

For other reading, a friend loaned me Sean Astin's book, "There and Back Again, an Actor's Tale," so as soon as I get a chance to sit down with a print book, I'll start that. The reviews on Goodreads are mixed. There are several, unfortunately, who say that Astin comes across in the book as whiny and arrogant. We'll see.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 19 2013, 5:34pm

Post #11 of 17 (77 views)
Swashbucklers can be fun! [In reply to] Can't Post

But for whatever reason I didn't know that Captain Blood was a book before it was an Errol Flynn movie. It's become so identified with Flynn I suppose I thought it was created for him.

I've read mostly short Holmes pastiches---I have more than one anthology of stories, including one that mixes Holmes with science fiction---but I'm pretty sure I've read the Estleman Dracula as well as Meyer's The West End Horror. Unless Meyer also did a novel featuring Holmes and Dracula, hmm.

I think it's easier to maintain the voice in a short story than in a novel, no surprise there.

(My photo of is Sango Bay in Durness, in the far NW Highlands, not far from Cape Wrath. This is definitely one of my happy places Smile )

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 19 2013, 5:37pm

Post #12 of 17 (74 views)
One of these days... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I want to buy an audiobook of LotR, as well as the audiobooks of Harry Potter, just to have on hand. I already have a huge tottering to-be-read pile, so why not a to-be-heard pile as well? I can see where a "wrong" emphasis would get your attention, though.

Speaking of the to-be-read pile, I've had the Astin book for ages but have put off reading it. If he comes across as whiny and arrogant, then I'd just as soon not know it. Unsure


Jun 19 2013, 5:39pm

Post #13 of 17 (83 views)
There are two other Captain Blood books / [In reply to] Can't Post


Pippin: "When you guys fall in the forest, does it make a sound?"
Bregalad: "Are you kidding? Scott fell last week and he hasn't shut up about it since!"


Jun 20 2013, 4:37am

Post #14 of 17 (66 views)
My friend is leaving on vacation to New Zealand and Australia [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd love to visit New Zealand and see some of the locations where LOTR was filmed :) I asked my friend if she was a Lord of the Rings fan, and she said no. Her quote: "It's too complicated for me to understand*

This was my reaction: Shocked >:( on the inside, but on the outside I just said ok. Oh well, different strokes for different folks I guess.


Jun 20 2013, 7:35am

Post #15 of 17 (64 views)
The Haunted Hotel [In reply to] Can't Post

by Wilkie Collins. I really enjoy his writing style! Flowing, dramatic and mysterious. He writes his characters very well. The Haunted Hotel was a shortish novel but fun and spooky.

I'm also reading The Two Towers. I have never finished LOTR before Crazy and I'm currently in new territory! (They've just arrived at Helm's Deep). Loving it so far, and sort of savouring the moment because I won't be able to read it "for the first time" again. There are many parts I feel that I won't fully appreciate until rereads though.

I recently went to the Appendices and Unfinished Tales to read the Hobbit/Dwarf related parts. It was fabulous Laugh.

(This post was edited by Nunilo on Jun 20 2013, 7:43am)

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 20 2013, 4:13pm

Post #16 of 17 (57 views)
Collins tells a great story! [In reply to] Can't Post

And while some contemporary readers might find his style a bit overwrought by today's standards, I, for one, love the intricacy of the language.

What a treat to be reading LotR for the first time! Since I first read it many years ago, I didn't have the movie imagery playing in my mind at the time. Are you finding that to be helpful or distracting?


Jun 21 2013, 3:09am

Post #17 of 17 (44 views)
Yes, intricate but very relatable! [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel like Collins often taps deep into human nature when forming his characters, which makes them feel real and human even when he adds some flair or drama. Even when writing in third person he maintains this flow of immediacy with the characters through their thoughts and observations. A real page turner!

I've only read a couple of his books, but I find his use of other perspectives such as plays and diary entries very interesting. The Moonstone is next on my list.

Even though I've watched the LOTR movies many times, I haven't found them a distraction when reading the books (so far). Although the imagery is in my mind as I read, I still imagine everything slightly 'differently' to what we see on screen. The characters themselves act a little different, and so their appearance is sort of a 'blur' between the movie-looks and something else. The locations in particular vary, for example Lothlorien appeared quite different to me while Theoden's hall seemed very close to the movie. I guess it depends on how much the movie/scene strays from the book, but it's an interesting experience.


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