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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: July 24th, 2018, 12:12 pm 
Istari
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A 1981 book by Katharyn F. Crabbe about JRRT.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: July 26th, 2018, 3:45 am 
Gondorian
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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: July 26th, 2018, 12:20 pm 
Istari
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A 1992 hardcover reprint (the occasion for the reprint having been the JRRT centenary which produced a splurge of books) of the first biography about JRRT, by Daniel Grotta, originally published in 1976 (a year before Humphrey Carpenter's "official" biography), with a second edition published in 1978 after The Silmarillion had been published. As Grotta is an American, he goes to some pains to explain British (or English) "oddities" (from an American viewpoint), say in how Oxbridge is organized (the old college - university dichotomy, what it means to be a professor, etc.). I have not finished reading just now, but Grotta has produced some factual howlers. His knowledge of Charles Williams, the third of the Inklings mentioned in the subtitle of Humphrey Carpenter's 1978 book "The Inklings" seems to be very spotty. Grotta acknowledges, in the preface to his reissued edition, that he did not have the support of, to name the most important person, Christopher Tolkien in his writing. That this "non-support" may have been more active negatively than the term implies could be deduced by comments of those people who did talk to Grotta, who bristled at what they saw as an attempt at "censorship" (with Carpenter's book still in the making). Well, some of the grandchildren of JRRT have not been entirely in agreement with what Christopher has done and said recently (say since the LoTR films hit the cinemas in 2001). I still find the book interesting in that it precisely shows the viewpoint of someone who was and remained an outsider. Factual howlers are one thing, but differences in interpretation something entirely different. While JRRT in print very much mentioned his displeasure with allegory, he also very much approved of his readers finding applicabilty - for themselves.

With LoTR having been translated into so many languages by now - and I have German and English versions of it - things do get "Lost In Translation", to quote the title of a 2003 Movie starring Bill Murray. But still, in a poll conducted by a TV station in Germany not all too long after that 1997 Waterstone's and Channel 4 poll placing LoTR in first place of books of the 20th century, causing the "literati" (I cannot refrain: a bunch of "modernists" that were dimly aware that their previous status of being "avant-garde" - they would use a French term - had crumbled into dust decades ago, and they were extremely unhappy about it) to erupt into a Vesuvian (or Krakatoan? Tamboran? Toban?) rage. All for the loony bin, I would say. LoTR came in first here in that German TV poll, too. Not quite sure that poll limited the possible candidates (and JRRT's rivals) to the 20th century. But Germany has quite a few writers in that time, just mentioning Thomas Mann (a Nobel Laureate, and not Germany's only one in the 20th century), who published before and after JRRT. But he still topped them in this poll.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: July 26th, 2018, 11:24 pm 
Gondorian
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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: July 27th, 2018, 11:31 am 
Istari
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Almost finished with the 1976 biography I mentioned above by Daniel Grotta. Besides his being limited in access to sources (for whatever reasons), he might also have violated Treebeard's admonition agains "hastiness" (as Grotta comes close to confessing to in his late 1991 preface to the JRRT centenary reissue of his book). Factual errors have continued to crop up. Being an American, he also seems to be ignorant (but perhaps excacerbated due to "hastiness") of things British, for example the critical response to LoTR in Britain, be it the books as they were published "serially" in 1954 and 1955 (the TTT publication date he mentions definitely must be the date of publication in the US), or to the completed "trilogy". And never mind his total misrepresentation of Rayner Unwin's involvement in the non-publication of LoTR around 1950, and perhaps its publication later. And, something common to brain-dead critics of JRRT's works over the decades, he droningly misspells Unwin Jr.'s first name as Raynor ...

I still find the book enlightening in showing how someone not provided the access to sources that later biographers of whatever intent (beginning with Humphrey Carpenter) were allowed arrived at conclusions. How his being American, with a decidedly different perspective and experience with the books affects his conclusions. How perhaps his quoting sources (people who had contact with JRRT, or so he claims) hardly or never mentioned in other books on JRRT might actually expand our understanding of author and sub-created world - or not.

Last point are the paintings in the book. By the copyright mention, they were 1991 by the "Brothers Hildebrandt" and only entered the centenary reissue of the book. Now as to judging paintings, as to poetry or music, my ability to judge any "merits" are basically limited to the extremes "like" or "dont like". Between these extremes is a huge swath of stuff where my reaction is "umm - dunno". But at least I have a comparison for the specifically titled pictures by the "Brothers Hildebrandt" and what my two favorite artists on Middle-earth, Alan Lee and John Howe, have produces very independently of anything else and for both movie "trilogies". Ummm. The pictures by the "Brothers Hildebrandt" look pathetically Disney Tinkerbelle by comparison, especially any buildings (Rivendell a smallish cottage to be visited on weekends???). Beorn may be closer to (my) "truth", but then making him so hairy that his skin-chsnge to a bear seems hardly noticeable? Meh!

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 9th, 2018, 7:20 pm 
Gondorian
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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 10th, 2018, 6:28 am 
Istari
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One of the books by Allan and Barbara Pease.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 11th, 2018, 4:38 am 
Gondorian
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the Minecraft Combat Handbook


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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 15th, 2018, 1:18 pm 
Istari
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Another of the books by Allan and Barbara Pease.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 28th, 2018, 4:23 pm 
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I'm debating whether or not I will buy The Fall of Gondolin when it's available. I do like the story of Tuor.

Who's going to buy it?

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 29th, 2018, 12:12 pm 
Istari
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I already pre-ordered TFoG almost two months ago. My favorite bookstore (where I ordered it) sent me an e-mail yesterday that it has arrived. I'll probaly be picking it up tomorrow as my wife and I have other places to go in our city tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 7:31 pm 
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I look forward to reading your review. :-D

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 30th, 2018, 11:59 pm 
Gondorian
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Amazing Survival Stories


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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: August 31st, 2018, 11:45 am 
Istari
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Evil.Shieldmaiden wrote:
I look forward to reading your review. :-D

Well, for my comprehensive review (aka babbling excessively) see CoE. :-D

FoG is very similar to Beren & Lúthien in that it compiles that variations of the tale written overs several decades, and published in several volumes of HoMe respectively UT (in the latter, the very detailed version in which Tuor does not even enter Gondolin despiten its length). The last third (of in total 300 pages, font size and line distance seem to be comparable to the 2007 "The Children of Hurin" and last year's "Beren and Lúthien") covers the "Evolution of the Story", and CRT's explanation about why the Gondolin tale (with Eärendil, Elrond and Elros) is more central and decisive to the whole legendarium than CoH and B&L. Both of these tales could stand as solitary stories, ending before the end of the "First Age", which only became a "First Age" with an end to it due to Eärendil's efforts. Then Elros mutates into the first and greatest king of Númenor, the central story of the Second Age, and Elrond has things to do in the Second Age and the Third Age. The turning point, of course, is Elrond (for quite a while the only child of Eärendel and Elwing, Elros is a late addition), sneaking his way into The Hobbit, and all that came after.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2018, 9:30 pm 
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I found an e-book that was free for a day called "The Coronation" by Livy Jarmusch. I am up to chapter 7 so far. It's not my typical type of reading, but so far I have been mostly enjoying it.

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 Post subject: Re: the "What are you reading?" thread
PostPosted: September 5th, 2018, 9:38 am 
Istari
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Re-reading Jared Diamond's 2005 book "Collapse" (which has become so relevant again in some ways).

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