I have all sorts of reading and writing plans to share on here for 2013 which I feel very enthused about, not least an "On This Day..." feature which will spotlight literary birthdays through the year.
I will be choosing authors I would want to send a card to were they alive, just to say thank you and have a lovely day (the inclusion criteria is that they they have to be dead, so I don't actually have to) and as I sat up the other night looking the birthdays up and pencilling them into my lovely new Faber diary, I realised this would be a great way to remind myself of authors I admire, whilst also creating the opportunity to wheel on a few that I haven't read but you will most certainly have done, and can thus recommend starters for ten. And it goes without saying that the posts will be my usual wandering off where the subject takes me.
Appropriately today belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel) born on this day in 1892 in South Africa, and I say appropriately because yesterday we spent Offspringette's Christmas gift to the family, a trip to see The Hobbit (we all thought it was brilliant) and to then eat about 5000 calories each in the American Diner next door to the cinema. The Tinker is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, having read and listened to the book more times than he can remember, and we have seen all the films together as soon as they have been released.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has filled in the gaping chasms in my Tolkien knowledge, and this might be another useful spin-off from these posts...you all know how I hate not knowing everything. I had definitely not been paying attention to Tolkein. and knew very little beyond the house in Oxford, so was interested to read of his time in the trenches of WWI.
Incidentally, can you all access the DNB??
I hope that you can if you want to. I use my library ticket number to do so and love wandering around in there.
I am a failed reader of LOTR having read Book One three times, and each time failed to make the leap into Book Two, but I have read The Hobbit so I am up to speed on the Shire and eleventyfirst birthdays and things and quoting from the Oxford DNB makes me want to try the books again...
In this Tolkien invented an entirely new mythological race of ‘hobbits’ who, like their representative Bilbo Baggins, are solid, respectable, anachronistically English, and, as appears when Bilbo is sent off by the wizard Gandalf to help recover the lost treasure of the dwarves from the dragon Smaug, capable of unsuspected resource. The Hobbit began as an amusement for the Tolkien children, and reached print rather unexpectedly, a typescript of it having been shown to Stanley Unwin by a former pupil of Tolkien's. Once published, however, it was an equally unexpected success. Unwin pressed Tolkien for a sequel.
Perhaps I'll listen to it rather than read now that I really do have my iPod Touch/ audio book/ knit/ listen set up sorted.
The Kayaker did the LOTR trail while he was in New Zealand on behalf of the rest of us, and it occurs to me that this must be like a very grand and slightly more spectacular equivalent of everyone coming to the UK to do the Downton trail or the Herriot trail, so we have all travelled vicariously with him to Mount Doom, in reality Mount Ngauruhoe I think.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”
So many happy returns of the day and thank you to J.R.R.Tolkien.
The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
J.R.R.Tolkien ~ The Lord of the Rings
Any Tolkien fans out there??
Any Tolkien loathers??