Tag Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

Books, and ‘Reclaimed Books Part 5’

I came across these over the past few days:

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  • J.D. Salinger –  The Catcher in the Rye     50p
  • Francoise Sagan –  Bonjour Tristesse     20p
  • J.R.R. Tolkien –  The Hobbit     25p
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez –  Of Love and Other Demons     20p
  • Jennifer Elliot –  An Introduction to Sustainable Development: The Developing World     25p
  • William Shakespeare –  Macbeth     25p
  • William Shakespeare –  Henry V     25p
  • Ovid –  Metamorphoses     25p
  • Homer –  The Iliad     25p

The book on sustainable development is interestingly written by a woman who was (at the time the book was published) a Geography lecturer at my local university, Staffordshire University. Also, I nearly bought this book in Oxford when I was studying gender and sustainable development as part of one of my anthropology option papers, but didn’t like the price Oxfam were asking for it, so I was happy to find this copy for 25p!

Now hang on- there’s more! After I’d snapped this little lot, I then got these:

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  • Roald Dahl –  Switch Bitch, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, and My Uncle Oswald     50p each

I would have also had one of Roald Dahl’s other short story collections ‘Someone Like You’ as well, had another man not grabbed it before I had chance.

Oh, and then yesterday…

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  • Elizabeth Gaskell –  Cranford     20p
  • Charles Dickens –  The Christmas Books: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth     40p

Now, I know that I already own a copy of ‘Cranford’ that includes two other related novellas, but this edition includes a critical introduction, a Cranford-based short story, and a short essay by Gaskell. And it’s an OUP edition. And it was only 20p. The other book, I do actually own a copy of already in this edition, and it is still at my parent’s house. However, I have no idea where, and so I thought for 40p it wouldn’t hurt to get another copy incase that one doesn’t turn up.

This last point now moves me smoothly on to the ‘Reclaimed Books Part 5’ bit of this blog post title. Today, I picked these up from my parents:

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  • Euripides –  Medea and Other Plays
  • Sophocles –  The Three Theban Plays
  • Robert Harris –  Fatherland (one of my favourite novels, which I read in less than two days about four years ago)
  • Thomas Hardy –  Far From the Madding Crowd
  • William Shakespeare –  Romeo and Juliet
  • Daniel Defoe –  Robinson Crusoe

…and I finally remembered to get these:

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I picked up ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ a few months ago, and so these are the rest:

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka (Containing ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’)
  • The Magic Finger
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • The Twits
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine
  • The Witches
  • The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
  • Boy and Going Solo
  • Matilda
  • Esio Trot

I know that they are children’s books, but I’m using the excuse that they are classic examples of children’s literature, and so can still be read by adults. Anyway, I like Roald Dahl, and want to read them again. Don’t judge me!

 

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Christmas Books

It’s taken me a few days to get around to writing this post, but here I finally am. These first few are ones that I picked and therefore knew my partner was saving for me for Christmas:

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  • Jostein Gaarder –  The Ringmaster’s Daughter
  • Jerome K. Jerome –  Three Men in a Boat
  • J.G.Ballard – Crash

I also knew about this next one. You may remember a month or so ago that I was unable to pick up my old edition of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and that I had decided to purchase one of the pleasantly-designed boxsets (see the discussion with myself in this previous post). Well, a while back I had a rather lucky find at the local library booksale:

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This was also saved until Christmas, and was a ridiculously good find- £20 worth of book for 10p! ‘The Hobbit’ isn’t included, but I should be able to pick that up at some point.

I also had:

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  • E.M. Forster – Maurice
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald –  The Last Tycoon
  • Truman Capote –  Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • William S. Burroughs –  Junky
  • Rudyard Kipling –  Puck of Pook’s Hill (off my parents)

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  • Private Eye: A Cartoon History
  • Nicholas J. Higham & Martin J. Ryan –  The Anglo-Saxon World (off my parents)
  • The Private Eye Annual 2013
  • Private Eye: Eyeballs

Quite a nice amount of reading to be getting on with!

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Thoughts on Tolkien’s ‘Roverandom’

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‘Roverandom’ is a short children’s tale by J.R.R. Tolkien, submitted for publication in 1937, but not actually released until 1998. It has its basis in a tale told to Tolkien’s children in 1925, and was worked upon for several years, gradually incorporating separate stories that fleshed out the central narrative. The ‘Roverandom’ (or Rover) of the title begun life as a real dog who was turned into a small lead toy figure by an irritated wizard, and was created in an attempt to console J.R.R.’s young son Michael when he lost his favourite toy- a small lead dog- on a trip to the beach at Filey, Yorkshire. The tale exists in a number of draft forms, showing that Tolkien spent considerable time crafting the tale to turn it from a mere bedtime tale to a part of his wider legendarium that also appears in the more famous ‘Lord of the Rings’ books and his other connected writings. Indeed, many aspects of this story can be seen to be precursors to scenes in ‘The Hobbit’, which he begun work on soon after completing ‘Roverandom’, such as Rover’s flight with Mew to his home in the cliffs and Bilbo’s flight with the eagles; the encounters with spiders on the moon and later the encounter with spiders in Mirkwood; the White Dragon (as seen in the image above) and the description of Smaug, and the three wizards being pre-emptive of the figure of Gandalf.

The success of ‘The Hobbit’ led to ‘Roverandom’ being overlooked by Tolkien’s publishers in favour of more books about Middle Earth, but the greater recognition given to these (albeit splendid) works does not mean that this short tale is not worthy of note or of merit in its own way. Despite the fact that ‘The Hobbit’ may have not been written if it were not for this work, this tale is actually a pleasant story that moves at a fairly decent pace, and which is actually a joy to read due to the inventive words play, subtle jokes, digs about environmental matters and sheer inventiveness. I particularly liked the section when Rover is on the moon, due to the vaguely surreal nature of the scenes, and overall was slightly reminded of Tove Jansson’s ‘Moomintroll’ books and children’s stories written in the 1950’s and 1960’s (I can’t place any specific examples) that deal with dreamlike worlds or journey’s across strange lands.

I don’t think that it is a book that I will return to in a great hurry, despite enjoying it, but it is something that I would happily lend to a Tolkien fan as required reading at least once.

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‘Reclaimed Books part 3’, and a quick rant

As I said on my last book-purchasing update, I was going to pick some more of my books up from my parents’ house, and I managed to do this a few days ago. Here are those I ‘reclaimed’:

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  • Bill Bryson-  Shakespeare
  • An anthology of quotes called ‘A Booklover’s Companion‘ published by the Folio Society
  • Douglas Adams-  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (film tie-in edition)
  •                              The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (film tie-in edition)
  •                              Life, the Universe and Everything
  •                              So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish
  • J.R.R. Tolkien-  The Children of Hurin
  • Edgar Wallace-  The Feathered Serpent
  • Emily Bronte-  Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Townsend-  The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
  • Oscar Wilde-  The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald-  The Great Gatsby

I’ve read the Bryson, Adams and Fitzgerald books here, and already have a copy of ‘Gatsby’ in the house, as my partner bought a nice Vintage Classics edition a few years back, but this copy is the Penguin Modern Classic edition with a critical introduction (always a bonus) and my annotated copy from A Level English.

The Adams books that I picked up are missing the final volume, ‘Mostly Harmless’, and at the moment I am in two minds as to whether I should get this with the original cover, or whether I should wait and purchase the full set in the very asthetically-appealing, Hipgnosis*-designed boxset, as I’m not too happy with the editions I have due to two being the film tie-in editions. This is the boxset:

DA boxset

Also, you may recall from my last book-purchasing post that I had also planned to pick up the old editions of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that I read as a child from my parents’. Well; this is where the rant comes in. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that I had a falling out with my Mum over this, as she seemed reticent to let me take these due to them belonging to my late Grandma, despite them now belonging to me. To save any further argument, I have decided to buy my own new copies, but have come across a bit of a problem. Which versions should I get? I’m not too fussed which edition of ‘The Hobbit’ I get, to be honest (as long as it is not the film tie-in edition), but am torn on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ between this set:

LotR boxset

…and this one (the picture shows ‘The Hobbit’ too):

LotR other boxset

Even though the latter matches the edition of ‘The Silmarillion’ that I bought the other day, I’m swaying towards the former, simply because I think that these would look far more impressive on a shelf, and because they are very very attractive editions. The only thing bothering me is the fact that the former editions look far heftier than the latter, and I am conscious of trying to conserve as much shelf-space as possible so as we will have to buy less bookcases. The benefit with the old copy I would have had was that it was a one-volume edition, and as a result was actually fairly thin (the joys of using thin paper in the 1960s). The new one-volume versions available are frankly awful to look at, and so are a no-no for me. The only other problem, is actually finding one of these sets for a reasonable price. Hmm. Preferably less than £10, and ideally nearer to £5. Double hmm. Maybe time to visit my local Oxfam, methinks, as they always seem to have a copy there- I just don’t know which edition. I’ll keep you posted!

*Hipgnosis are a design company who produce book and album covers. Famous clients include Pink Floyd (i.e. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ covers, amongst others), Muse (‘Black Holes and Revelations’) and Led Zeppelin (‘Houses of the Holy’).

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A few more books

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Just a few more books:

  • Ernest Hemingway-  The Torrents of Spring     50p
  • Tove Jansson-  Finn Family Moomintroll     50p
  • Henry James-  The Turn of the Screw and other stories     50p
  • Geoffrey Chaucer-  The Canterbury Tales     50p
  • J.R.R. Tolkien-  Roverandom     50p
  • J.R.R. Tolkien-  The Silmarillion     50p

I know that the Moomintroll series are for children, but I loved them when I read them quite a few years ago, and thought that a copy of one of them for 50p was too good a chance to turn down. Also, in terms of ‘The Silmarillion’: I have read ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (and I hope to ‘reclaim’ my old and battered copies of these next week from my parents’), but despite owning an old hard-back edition of this work, I have never attempted it as I’ve just been overfaced by it. Hopefully, the purchase of a new, less cumbersome softback edition may prompt me to have another go!

Oh- I’ve also nearly finished ‘Heart of Darkness’, so there should be a review up of this soon. I also mean to get a few thoughts up on Jostein Gaarder’s ‘Through a Glass, Darkly’ which I read the other week, and will endeavour to do this as well.

 

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