Thursday, October 14, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021
Friday, October 8, 2021
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Monday, October 4, 2021
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Here are the answers to this year's quiz with everyone's scores below! How did you do?
1. Apples -- YES
2. Bacon -- YES
3. Blackberries -- YES
4. Butter -- YES
5. Cheese -- YES
6. Chocolate -- NO
7. Coffee -- YES
8. Eggs -- YES
9. Garlic -- NO
10. Honey -- YES
11. Mushrooms -- YES
12. Pickles -- YES
13. Potatoes -- YES
14. Salad -- YES
15. Tomatoes -- NO
Most of these appear in the first chapter of The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party." The others appear elsewhere either in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.
Basically, Tolkien did not include any New World foods in Middle-earth except potatoes. Potatoes were so dear to his heart, such an integral part of the rural English cuisine he was celebrating, that he had to keep them. But the three on this list that are NOT in the books -- chocolate, garlic, and tomatoes -- are all New World foods (native to the Americas) and thus excluded (even though tomatoes make a memorable appearance in the ROTK movie). Coffee originally comes from Arabia, so he included it.
Bea -- 12
Catherine Hawthorn -- 12
The Far Side of Forever -- 12
Ivy Miranda -- 12
Shire Rose -- 11
Eva -- 10
Livia Rachelle -- 10
Pages to Remember -- 10
Chloe the Movie Critic -- 8
Mary H. -- 8
Samantha -- 7
Thursday, September 23, 2021
The edition I read, which is the one pictured here, contains the poems that Tolkien published under this title in the '60s, plus a whole lot of commentary on the poems, earlier variations of them, explanations of their history, discussions of how they fit into his Middle-earth world, and so on. There's more of that than of the poetry itself, really.
The poems themselves are not long, and quite varied. Tolkien states, in his preface, that they come from the Red Book of Westmarch, in the Shire, but they were collected from different places. Some of them are attributed to Bilbo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.
My favorites were "The Hoard" and "Shadow-Bride."
"The Hoard" is about a sort of cursed treasure that various people acquire and then waste their lives guarding, only to lose it to someone else when they die. It doesn't do anyone any good, least of all those who 'own' it, and is rather a dark and cautionary tale.
"Shadow-Bride" is mysterious and ethereal and a little spooky. An immovable man-statue suddenly comes to life when a shadowy woman comes near him, they embrace, and become a double-statue that only comes back to life at certain times. Or something. Like I said, it's fairly mysterious -- but that's what I liked about it.
If you love Tolkien, especially his poetry, this is a lot of fun.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for a bit of violence here and there, and some imagery that might scare small kids, but there's nothing harmful here.
This has been my 27th book read and reviewed for my third Classics Club list and my 39th from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021. This has also been another contribution to my 2021 Tolkien Blog Party :-)
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Tolkien's books are full of food. I get hungry just reading them! This particular quiz tests whether or not specific foods are mentioned in either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings -- the BOOKS. Not whether they appear in the movies, but whether Tolkien mentioned them in those two books, meaning they do exist canonically in Middle-earth.
You just have to say "yes" if they are mentioned, and "no" if they aren't!
I'll put comments on full moderation so no one can copy your answers. I'll post everyone's scores, and the correct answers, on Saturday!
Monday, September 20, 2021
Want to hang out with me in Middle-earth for a day or two? Wouldn't that be an absolute dream? Well, we can imagine we're doing just that, using the following to determine where we'll meet and what we'll do. Share your adventure in the comments so we can all enjoy!
Where do you and I meet up? Your favorite warm beverage determines our adventure's location:
- Coffee = Minas Tirith
- Tea = Hobbiton
- Hot Chocolate = Rivendell
- Hot Apple Cider = Edoras
- Chai = Lothlorien
- Mulled wine = Moria
- Other = The Lonely Mountain
Who else comes on this adventure with us? The first initial of your best friend's first name determines our companions:
- A-E = Frodo and Samwise
- F-J = Merry and Pippin
- K-O = Bilbo and Gandalf
- P-T = Legolas and Gimli
- U-Z = Eomer and Eowyn
What are we setting off to achieve today? Your favorite movie genre determines our quest:
- Action/adventure = Stop your half-brother from taking over the world with his creepy army
- Comedy = Find the perfect location for a birthday party
- Drama = Escort three weary warriors home and reunite them with their families
- Fantasy = Rescue your intended spouse from the clutches of your rival
- Mystery = Recover a priceless relic covered in fabulous jewels
- Period Drama = Stop a greedy landlord from turning your parents out of their house
- Romantic Comedy = Deliver a decades-old love note that got lost in the post office
- Sci-Fi = Reunite you with your father and free your allies from an evil tyrant with his help
- Thriller = Convince the authorities you are not an enemy spy
- Western = Find the low-down, dirty skunk that shot your pa
- 0 = We are attacked by giant spiders, but successfully beat them off.
- 1 = We are pursued by a band of Uruk-hai for three whole days, until they get bored.
- 2 = We lose all our food while trying to cross a fast river.
- 3 = We almost get eaten by trolls, but are rescued by a friend at the last minute.
- 4 = We get lost and wander around a swamp for two days before finding the road again.
- 5 or more = We get sidetracked by hunting for treasure, which we find.
How does it all turn out? The time you went to bed last night determines whether we succeed or fail:
- Before 9 pm: We succeed, and everyone lives happily ever after.
- Between 9 and 10 pm: We succeed, but not all of us are happy about it.
- Between 10 and 11 pm: We succeed, but we wish we hadn't.
- Between 11 pm and midnight: We succeed, but you take an arrow to the knee.
- Between midnight and 1 am: We fail, and you and I both get thrown in a dungeon.
- After 1 am: We fail, and everyone dies.
Now just put that all together!
For instance, I would meet up with you at Rivendell, along with Frodo and Samwise, and we would all set off to find the low-down, dirty skunk that shot my pa. We are pursued by a band of Uruk-hai for three whole days, but they get bored and go home, so we eventually succeed, though I take an arrow to the knee and limp for the rest of my life. Sigh. Oh well, it could be worse!
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Welcome, hobbits and humans, elves and dwarves, and all free peoples! Welcome to the ninth annual Tolkien Blog Party.
Nine is such a significant number in Lord of the Rings. There are nine companions in the fellowship of the Ring, nine Nazgul, and so on. I'm really excited that this event has been so long-lived! I look forward to hosting it every year. I collect up prizes for the giveaway for months. It's such a delight to share the love of Tolkien's storytelling with you, year after year!
Speaking of the giveaway, I posted that a couple minutes ago, so you can check out the prizes and enter it right here. It's open worldwide, as always!
I did something a little different with this year's tag, to reflect the theme of nine. Here it is:
1. Aragorn: Favorite Tolkien hero/heroine
2. Boromir: Favorite Tolkien character arc
3. Frodo: Favorite song or poem by Tolkien
4. Gandalf: Favorite wise Tolkien quotation
5. Gimli: A Middle-earth location you'd like to visit
6. Legolas: Favorite Middle-earth Weapon
7. Merry: Favorite way to celebrate Tolkien's stories
8. Pippin: Favorite funny Tolkien quotation
9. Samwise: A Middle-earth food you'd like to try
Just copy that to your own blog and answer it, then be sure to share a link to your post in the widget below.
Like last year, you are not limited to doing that tag, when it comes to participating in this party! You can contribute ANY Tolkien-related post, as long as it is new. (Please don't link to something you posted last year, for instance.)
Anything Tolkien-related is welcome -- it doesn't have to revolve around Middle-earth. You could review a book by or about Tolkien, share thoughts about the movies, list off your favorite Tolkien quotations, share your collection of LOTR merch, whatever! There's no sign-up sheet, just post what you want to and then share your post via this link-up:
Don't forget to add a button to your posts! I think these are my favorite buttons of any I've made for this event. Practice makes perfect? Anyway, be sure to link back to this post so your blog followers can come party with us.I'll be posting a couple of games over the course of this week, so be sure to check back for those! Especially since participating in them can gain you bonus entries in the giveaway.
Thank you for joining me to celebrate the inspirational storytelling of J. R. R. Tolkien. I hope you'll have fun, enjoy reading each others' posts, and maybe even make some new friends. I'm so glad you're here!
This giveaway is open worldwide.
The main way to gain entries is to participate in the party by contributing a post, such as your answers to the official tag or another Tolkien-related post. Once you've written your post, be sure to add its link to the Mister Linky widget at the bottom of my kick-off post (which is also where you'll find the tag questions).
But that isn't required! You can also earn entries by doing other things like commenting, playing party games, and telling me your prize choices. And you can even get an entry just for being interested.
I do my best to match winners with their choice of prizes, but that doesn't always work out -- that's why I ask for your top three choices. However, I cannot guarantee that you will win something you want/request.
Also, please be aware that mail delivery is still slow. I will ship all prizes via the USPS, and they do not ship to every country these days, so if you are one of my international friends, please check this official list to make sure your country is still receiving mail sent via the USPS.
This giveaway runs through the end of Friday, September 24. I will draw the winners on Saturday, September 25 and post the names of the winners on this blog, as well a notify them by email no later than Sunday, September 26.
PLEASE make sure your information for the giveaway widget includes your current email address so that if you win a prize, you'll get the email informing you that you won! If you don't reply to my email by Saturday, October 2, I will choose another winner and award the prize to them instead.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Yeah, yeah, it's the end of August, so we're past the true middle of the year, but whatever. I saw this on Coffee, Classics, and Craziness, and again on I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read), and it looked fun, so I'm doing it too :-D Because I haven't done a tag in like... months. And I love tags.
I'm linking all titles to my own blog reviews when available. All pictures are mine from my Instagram account.Best book you’ve read so far in 2021: This is very hard because I've read/reread some awesome books this year. I'll just go with The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas because it was even more wonderful than I was remembering. For the last couple hundred pages, I would pause reading at least once a chapter just to revel in how much I was loving it. Which sometimes involved small bounces or squeals of joy, and other times involved hugging the book. Or taking a deep breath. Or just grinning a lot.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned that many, many English translations significantly abridge this book. And never bother to call themselves "abridged." They cut out certain plotlines that the translators find distasteful or think modern audiences won't like... such as all that stuff about the baby in the box. Well, once I learned that, I set out to find a good, reliable translation. What I learned is that the Penguin edition pictured here, with a translation by Robin Buss, is considered the most accurate modern translation, so that's the version I've got now, and the one I read this summer.
I'm really not sure how they'd make a bunch of this work without the baby in the box, as that's kind of central to a big part of the plot, and I'm not surprised that I wondered where it went when I read that other version. If you're scratching your head and saying, "I read this book, and there was no baby in a box," then you probably read a sneakily abridged version too. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, I read the real thing this time. And I adored it all over again. Yes, this book is 1200 pages. It's a brick. A chunkster. A tome. And I gobbled it right down. For the last few hundred pages, I was so excited and happy I would put the book down and just bounce up and down with joy from how beautifully everything was slotting together. My goodness, what a breathless ride.
Quick summary of the plot in case you don't know it: Edmond Dantes is thrown into prison after being wrongly accused by a couple of men who are jealous of him. He eventually escapes, becomes fabulously wealthy and sophisticated, and returns to France to wreck the men who wrecked his life, stole his fiancée, and starved his father.
I think two things set this apart from ordinary stories of revenge. First, I love how Dantes, as the Count of Monte Cristo, uses his enemies' own past crimes, as well as their pet sins, to ruin them. He doesn't steal their fortunes or slander their names or steal their wives and sweethearts. He just patiently brings their own long-buried secrets to light and lets them suffer the consequences of their own wrongdoing. That's brilliant.
The other is that Dantes learns, eventually, that revenge can get away from the avenger and cause more harm than intended. He discovers that, though he considers himself a tool of God for striking down wrongdoers, he is NOT God, and his strikes can cut too wide a path. He also learns that revenge hollows you out, while helping others fills you up, and turns from one to the other at the end.
|(Mine from my Instagram)|
Particularly Good Bits:
"Happiness is like one of those palaces on an enchanted island, its gates guarded by dragons. One must fight to gain it" (p. 42).
"Hatred is blind and anger deaf: the one who pours himself a cup of vengeance is likely to drink a bitter draught" (p. 385).
"There are two medicines for all ills: time and silence" (p. 523).
"I like everybody in the way that God ordered us to love our neighbours, that is, in Christian charity. I only bestow true hatred on certain people" (p. 747).
"I do not think this is the moment to give way to sterile misery: that may be enough for those who want to suffer at their ease and have time to drink their own tears" (p. 786).
"He's a wonderful person for raising one's spirits, because he never asks questions: in my opinion, people who don't ask too many questions give the best consolation" (p. 938).
Moral wounds have the peculiarity that they are invisible, but do not close: always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain tender and open in the heart (p. 952).
People were hanging on his every word, as is always the case with those who say little and never waste words (p. 1048).
So, do live and be happy, children dear to my heart, and never forget that, until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: 'wait' and 'hope'! (p. 1243)
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-16 for suggestive dialog, drug use (including a pretty racy drug-induced dream), some mild profanity, violence, and poisonings.
This has been my 26th book read and reviewed for my third Classics Club list.
Thursday, August 19, 2021
So. This is about Aoife Cascade, heir to a ruling body of women who make all the rules for their island, rules that are enforced by pirates who work with them. Their island is relentlessly peaceful, and all pirate visitors must remain peaceful while ashore. This sounds like a wonderful place to live, but Aoife (pronounced EE-fuh -- it's a real Irish name) discovers inadvertently that there's a dark side to the island. She somewhat reluctantly joins forces with Captain Declan McCallagh, a handsome pirate captain that my mind insisted be played by Errol Flynn, which I did not mind in the slightest. Together, Aoife and Declan (and Declan's best buddy Tommy) start learning more secrets and uncovering plots and engaging in acts of derring-do now and then... and, obviously, romance also ensues between Aoife and one of the pirates, but I'm not going to spoil things and tell you who because I'm mean that way.
One of my favorite things about this book is how Aoife never quite knows what she should do. She's an adult, but she's not great at things like quick decisions or understanding people, and that was very relatable for me. Also, she suffers from panic attacks, and I was really interested in seeing how those can affect a person, and also how other characters respond to them in both good and bad ways. I think it's important to help people like me, who haven't endured a panic attack, to understand how that feels and how to help cope with them. And what doesn't help.
While there is some magic involved in the plot, it's really fairly minimal, though I expect things will get more magical in book two. So while this is technically pirate-fantasy, it's heavy on the pirate and light on the fantasy.
|(Mine from Instagram)|
Particularly Good Bits:
He cursed silently at the memories that dared to defy him, swimming to the surface without permission (p. 27).
He was right. Of course he was right, but there was a difference between knowing something logically and actually believing it (p. 252).
Was this what love felt like? A confusing yet thrilling, tangled web of emotions and sensations? (p. 354).
Creeping ivy obscured the gray stone walls, covering the windows and stretching out like spindly fingers eager to squeeze the life out of anyone who entered (p. 360).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for a lot of innuendo and suggestive dialog (no love scenes), intermittent cussing (no F-bombs), and pirate violence (nothing graphic).
|(Also mine from my Instagram)|
This has been my 38th book read off my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.