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It's the year is underway reading thread!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 9, 3:58pm

Post #1 of 28 (1061 views)
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It's the year is underway reading thread! Can't Post

Wait a minute! What do you mean 2018? Wasn't it just, er, 2003 or so.... Crazy

I imagine a bit of my dislocation comes from reading the latest Smithsonian Magazine, which has several articles about events in the year 1968. I was very young then, but still, I remember it well. Interesting times, certainly.... Unsure

I'm also reading A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor. This is the book version of a BBC radio show in which 100 objects from the British Museum are used to illuminate human history and humanity itself. I just found out that pottery-making began in Japan, with pots made to look like baskets. Each segment is a well-written and fascinating tidbit.

I'm listening to Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery, a short (only 4 CDs) novel about---well, a French food critic is on his deathbed contemplating his life, his family, and food, and his family and associates are thinking about him, and.... That's basically it. There are several narrators playing different roles. I'm enjoying the lovely prose and the thoughtfulness of it.

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 9, 6:06pm

Post #2 of 28 (949 views)
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the Penric novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold [In reply to] Can't Post

I love everything she's written that's set in her Five Gods realms, so I've been downloading the Penric stories onto my phone & reading them. Sadly I am on the last one! I believe they are all compiled in a print book now so I will probably buy that to enjoy a leisurely re-read.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Kelly of Water's Edge
Rohan

Jan 9, 6:49pm

Post #3 of 28 (945 views)
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Started Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm pretty familiar with Imperial Rome, so it's interesting to start with the preceding Republican age which I don't know nearly as much about..
She obviously did her homework, with mightily impressive detail.
As for the usual clandestine details about which we'll never know the truth and gossip of which the Roman historians were so fond and passed down to us with such relish - if half of Sulla's story presented here is true, he was one sick psychopath!


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 9, 7:19pm

Post #4 of 28 (933 views)
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Those are great stories [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel quite sure there will be others to come. Patience!

Wink

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Attalus
Lorien


Jan 9, 7:57pm

Post #5 of 28 (930 views)
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Rome [In reply to] Can't Post

Speaking of Rome, I am re-working my way through Lindsey Davis' Falco series, humorous (and sometimes not so humorous) novels about a detective in ancient Rome. Just finished The Jupiter Myth, pretty good, and introduces the heroine of Davis' nest series of novels bout Flavia Albia, Falco's adopted daughter. She is pretty heartbreaking in this novel, a street waif that gets picked up by Falco and Helena, acts out, rebels and gets tossed out. While out, she is molested by the villain, luckily off-screen.
My other book is the latest in David Drake's RCN series, Death's Bright Day. Pretty good so far, Finished Wiliam Stevenson's A Man Called Intrepid, Readable but factually challenged. His account of the Dieppe Raid I found pretty thin.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 10, 1:15am

Post #6 of 28 (921 views)
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Re-reading The Hobbit and LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

with a break for a re-read of A Wrinkle in Time. I love AWIT and read it every couple of years. The upcoming movie has me excited, based on the trailers.

I haven't read The Hobbit and LOTR for a couple of years, so it's past due. I always read The Hobbit first, because that was how I discovered Tolkien.


Greenwood Hobbit
Grey Havens


Jan 10, 9:20am

Post #7 of 28 (891 views)
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I am very fond of the Falco series [In reply to] Can't Post

and have all the books. The whole range of life is there, from the witty one-liners to the darkest moments and heartache. You really feel as if you are walking the mean streets of Rome in the AD70s and meeting all the different characters; You can practically smell the place - and them! The author has really done her research. The 'dramatis personae' pages at the front are always amusing to read, too. Enjoy!


Attalus
Lorien


Jan 10, 5:10pm

Post #8 of 28 (858 views)
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I shall! [In reply to] Can't Post

@Greenwood Hobbit: Alas, I lost all my books like that (I managed to save some, including almost all my Tolkieana) in a divorce where I lost my house and library. But I am rereading them with much enjoyment and am even going on into the Albia series, which I had not originally not intended. Ave et vale!

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Greenwood Hobbit
Grey Havens


Jan 10, 6:24pm

Post #9 of 28 (842 views)
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I didn't want to mention Flavia's career [In reply to] Can't Post

in case of spoilers! I've read the first of the Flavia books, and didn't settle in to it as well as the old Falcos - but I should give her another chance, really. I can sympathise with your loss; back in the 80s my world and my five-year-old daughter's had to fit into a Ford Transit van. There are a few family things I still miss, but not many. I would need a whole fleet of vans to deal with the stuff I've accumulated since then! I really should de-clutter...


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 11, 8:47am

Post #10 of 28 (827 views)
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P. B. Shelley's "Ozymandias", published 200 years ago today. [In reply to] Can't Post

And as a.s. wrote here in 2008, likely a precursor of the Cross-roads scene in The Lord of the Rings.

There are four lights.

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(This post was edited by N.E. Brigand on Jan 11, 8:48am)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 12, 7:21am

Post #11 of 28 (799 views)
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"Not 'Nordic', please! A word I personally dislike; it is associated ... with racialist theories." [In reply to] Can't Post

That is to say: I've been re-reading The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. For some reason.

There are four lights.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 12, 9:43am

Post #12 of 28 (786 views)
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I should read "A Wrinkle in Time" again. [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoyed that book and two sequels (A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet?) when I read them many years ago, although all I can remember about the sequels now is that one of them was my first introduction to the word "mitochondria".

There are four lights.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


squire
Half-elven


Jan 12, 1:07pm

Post #13 of 28 (779 views)
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That word [In reply to] Can't Post

That remark reminds of something I am teaching my students today, about race theories in the U.S. at about the same time as when Tolkien was writing:
“Thank God we have in America perhaps the largest percentage of any country in the world of the pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock; certainly the greatest of any nation in the Nordic breed. It is for the preservation of that splendid stock that I would make this not an asylum for the oppressed of all countries.... Without offense, but with regard to the salvation of our own, let us shut the door and assimilate what we have, and let us breed pure American
citizens and develop our own American resources.”
-Senator 'Cotton Ed' Smith of S.C., 1924, arguing in favor the Immigration restriction laws passed that year.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 12, 4:08pm

Post #14 of 28 (760 views)
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Coincidentally... [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the "100 Objects" in the history book I'm reading now is the statue of Ramses II in the British Museum that inspired Shelley's poem, which is cited in the article.

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 12, 5:58pm

Post #15 of 28 (752 views)
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Sounds like Senator Bilbo. [In reply to] Can't Post

"Senator Bilbo" is the name of a clever short story inspired by the coincidence of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings having a character whose first name was the last name of a real American politician, who, as I'm sure you know, was a close contemporary in time, and it would seem in thought, with Cotton Ed.

The author is Andy Duncan. The story was published in the collection Seekers of Dreams, edited by Doug Anderson, who is best known as the editor of The Annotated Hobbit. Also in the collection is Verlyn Flieger's "Green Hill Country", which a number of TORN members heard in a reading at the 2004 Tolkien conference in Milwaukee.

There are four lights.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 13, 5:56am

Post #16 of 28 (751 views)
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Just finished ‘Three Arthurian Romances’ [In reply to] Can't Post

translated from Medieval French by Arthur G Ross. What three romances you ask? Caradoc, The Knight With The Sword, and The Perilous Graveyard. The last of the three was the best; it features an errant Gawain who keeps encountering people who believe that he was slain and dismembered. Rather than trying to convince them otherwise, he finds the knights who supposedly killed him and proves upon them he is very much alive.

Now it’s on to “Merlin and the Grail” another trilogy of medieval French Arthurian Romances; these attributed to Robert De Boron and translated by Nigel Bryant. The three tales are ‘Joseph of Arimathea, Merlin, and Perceval.’ Apparently scholars are divided on whether Perceval fits with the first two tales, itself appearing in a single volume formally known as the Didot-Perceval. I’ve read the Perceval in question before, though translated by Dell Skeels.

As well I’ve been on another read-through of LOTR, taking it in dribs and drabs over the past couple months, resting now at ‘The Field of Cormallen.’ Verlyn Flieger’s effort with our Professor’s “The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun” is staring at me from my bedside pile of books, as is “The High Book of the Grail” ‘a translation (also by Nigel Bryant) of the 13th-century (French) romance “Perlesvaus.”’

... oh and I continue almost daily my habit of reading a chapter of The Bible.

I think I’m due for a new pair of eyeglasses as my eyes water with all this reading.



(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 13, 6:09am)


cats16
Valinor


Jan 13, 7:05pm

Post #17 of 28 (707 views)
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The Door by Magda Szabó [In reply to] Can't Post

A weird little book I picked up at the Strand Bookstore in New York. I thoroughly enjoyed it and very nearly started re-reading immediately once I finished it. I plan to purchase her other two well-known books that have been translated from Hungarian. It amazes me when I learn how many works simply do not exist in English, even in 2018.

Also started Middle C by William Gass. I've never read Gass before but wanted to check him out after he passed away last month.

I started Sense & Sensibility over the holidays, but ended up being so engrossed by The Door that I haven't picked it up since. Sorry, Austen fandom! I'll pick it up again soon.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 14, 10:50pm

Post #18 of 28 (669 views)
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I don't love the second two as much as the first [In reply to] Can't Post

but they are good. I am really looking forward to the movie, but as ever, if it disappoints, I'll still have the book.


Starling
Half-elven


Jan 15, 4:20am

Post #19 of 28 (656 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

It was filmed here, so it will be the best movie ever. Laugh




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 16, 4:28pm

Post #20 of 28 (579 views)
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It's the halfway through January reading thread! [In reply to] Can't Post

We're having an actual winter here in North Texas, although I realize what passes for winter here would make some of y'all from the northern and northeastern states laugh. Smile So it's good weather to huddle beneath a warm blanket and read.

I'm now audio-reading (to coin a phrase) Fadeaway Girl by Martha Grimes. I've enjoyed several of Grimes's British mysteries and expected this to be similar. No, it's in the voice of a young girl in the US. I keep falling asleep so am vague on the details of the story, such as when it takes place---it's obviously not today, but I'm not sure whether it's happening in the 50s, the 30s, or what. As for the plot, the girl wants to solve a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances that have taken place in the area over the last few years. Okay....

On paper I just finished a real treat, Whispers Under Ground, book three of the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. I love this series for its skillful blend of fantasy and police procedural, for its evocation of contemporary London, for Peter's strong voice, and for its frequent geeky references. For example, here Peter and his colleague Lesley are questioning a dealer in a secret market:

"Nobody ever says where they get their goods from," said Hyacinth. "And if they do say, you figure they're lying."
"So what did Kevin Nolan say?" I asked.
"He said he got them from Mordor," she said.
"Morden?" asked Lesley. "What, in Merton?"
"No," I said. "Mordor as in 'where the shadows lie' from Lord of the Rings."
"Is that the place with the volcano?" asked Lesley.
I was about to say something incredibly geeky when....
Wink

One thing puzzles me, though. The cover copy ends with, "...the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She's young, ambitious, beautiful---and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil." But I can't actually find this anywhere in the book! There are two very casual, vague references to the agent's religious beliefs, but nothing more, which is a pity---this particular wrinkle would have added interesting material to the story, not that the story needed any more interesting material.

Has anyone else read this book? Did I miss something? Is it possible there's a difference between the original British version and the American one I read? Or was the cover copy written for a version of the manuscript that didn't subsequently make it into print?

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 16, 5:26pm

Post #21 of 28 (570 views)
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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisen [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow. I can see why it won the Hugo.

Experiencing the happiness of finding a new writer to love who has already written a lot of books!

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 16, 6:02pm

Post #22 of 28 (563 views)
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Looks intriguing! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll add it to my 'to read' list. :)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 16, 7:36pm

Post #23 of 28 (563 views)
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"Watership Down" [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to reading this, but I finally have, and I loved it. A real delight.

Having finished that, I decided to read a Dickens that I hadn't previously read (which is most of them, to be fair). Annael's mentioned that Our Mutual Friend is a favourite of hers, so I picked that up, and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. This one should last me for quite a while...


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Kelly of Water's Edge
Rohan

Jan 16, 9:23pm

Post #24 of 28 (548 views)
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There's significant crossover [In reply to] Can't Post

between Middle Earth and Watership Down fans, perhaps because of (without giving anything away) the similar theme of some having to make large sacrifices for the security of the home they love.
There's a very good animated movie version with John Hurt as Hazel and Richard Briers as Fiver heading the voice cast, which you should definitely watch at some point. Haven't heard much about the BBC/Netflix animated miniseries coming later this year except that it will expand the roles of at least some of the female rabbits to account for societal changes.
As for Dickens, most novels of the time were quite long, because reading and music were the primary non-active leisure pursuits pre radio and tv.


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 16, 9:39pm

Post #25 of 28 (543 views)
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I've seen that movie [In reply to] Can't Post

many years ago, but had forgotten enough of the details to make reading the book feel quite fresh. The miniseries sounds potentially interesting, too.

I think the length of Dickens' books is related to the serial form, and to his ability to unfold complex plots with a large cast of characters and an array of interconnected sub-plots. Not all writers of the period chose to produce books of such length, though certainly they tended to be longer than today's.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View

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