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Old Nov 28 2004, 04:21 AM   #1
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Have you read any Tolkien apart from The Lord of the Rings? Have you read LotR itself?

I read The Hobbit ages ago, in school, but didn't get around to reading LotR until Fellowship came out. Now I re-read it about once a year, and discover something new every time.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 06:08 AM   #2
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I read The Hobbit first, or rather had it read to me by my parents, as a bedtime story when I was little . I've also read LOTR several times but not on a yearly basis or anything like that. In the dim and distant past I read Farmer Giles of Ham and Tree and Leaf, I have yet to attempt The Silmarillion. I was put off it, aged 15, by my older brother who said I wouldn't understand it . I think I might understand it better now though (aged 38.)
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Old Nov 28 2004, 06:38 AM   #3
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Started out with The Lord of the Rings. A kind lady in a bookshop saw I bought fantasy titles and asked if I had read Tolkien's books. I had not, we're talking 1970 here. I bought the trilogy in one go in cheap Dutch translations (Prisma Pocket Books; I still have them).

I like Tokien very much and read all he wrote now but to be honest... I bought a lot while I am not a collector of Tokien's books. I already sold a lot over teh years (language learning books of elven languages and such ) but I still have some books I might want to sell.
Watch the Book Collector's Room here. I think I will offer some of them for sale or trade agaianst McCaffrey items.

*reminds self to take pictures of the books*
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Old Nov 28 2004, 09:51 AM   #4
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i read the Hobbit whilst i was in junior school i believe, but i didn't read all three of LoTR books until the film came out.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 09:56 AM   #5
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It's too bad you sold the Elvish books... I've been trying to learn Quenya at Council of Elrond, until for some reason my ISP no longer finds the website.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 11:24 AM   #6
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I haven't read anything by him and have no intention to. While I realize they're widely accepted as amazing books I have no desire to do so thanks to a long standing dislike of the books caused by a friend obsessed with them as a child. You can only say, "no, I'm not going to read them" for so long without it becoming true Please refrain from trying to convince me I should, because if my best friend at the times of peer pressure couldn't get me to do it I doubt you all will
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Old Nov 28 2004, 11:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam
I haven't read anything by him and have no intention to. While I realize they're widely accepted as amazing books I have no desire to do so thanks to a long standing dislike of the books caused by a friend obsessed with them as a child. You can only say, "no, I'm not going to read them" for so long without it becoming true Please refrain from trying to convince me I should, because if my best friend at the times of peer pressure couldn't get me to do it I doubt you all will
anyone who forces anyone to read any books should be shot (o perhaps slightly over dramatic) but reading is a choice and noone should really try and make someone read something.

tell others how good a book is, try and persuade them to, but if they don't want to then stop. it's their loss afterall!
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Old Nov 28 2004, 01:16 PM   #8
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I don't think I could guess how many times I've read LotR and the Hobbit since the 1970s. I also have The Tolkein Reader, the Silmarillian and Mr. Bliss (a personal treasure ) I write my shopping lists in Tengwar just for kicks and sometimes answer telemarketing phone calls in extremely limited and badly pronounced (I'm sure) Elvish. Does that make me a fan?
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Old Nov 28 2004, 01:24 PM   #9
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Sandy, I think it definitely does. I'd love to learn to write in Tengwar.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 01:36 PM   #10
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Read The Simillion (okay, I KNOW that's spelled wrong!) first... And got soooo confused. Then I went and read the HOBBIT and couldn't wait to get my hands on the reast.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 03:33 PM   #11
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The Sil is very confusing. After the first determined slog through from start to finish, I tend to read bits and pieces according to my mood and things I start wondering about. I remember being more or less forced to read the Hobbit but once I turned a few pages I read all the way through it and LotR in a weekend.
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Old Nov 28 2004, 04:55 PM   #12
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I had the Hobbit read to me as a child, from what my mother says; I don't remember that. I did read LotR when I was 10, and The Silmarillion when 11.

Granath: what do you think of the new Swedish translations of LotR that is coming out? I've read about the Ohlmarks' (?) original translation (mooing elves!?!... )....
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Old Nov 28 2004, 04:59 PM   #13
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I had the Hobbit read to me in primary school, it was our assembly book for a whole term, and I must admit I hated it!

Loved the films though which inspired me to attempt the LOTR books - got half-way through the Two Towers and gave up. I think that the stories (as seen in the films) are fantastic but I have to say that as a writer I just don't rate Tolkien (Controversial opinion I realise but it is nonetheless mine )
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Old Nov 29 2004, 02:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghyle
I had the Hobbit read to me as a child, from what my mother says; I don't remember that. I did read LotR when I was 10, and The Silmarillion when 11.

Granath: what do you think of the new Swedish translations of LotR that is coming out? I've read about the Ohlmarks' (?) original translation (mooing elves!?!... )....
I've never read Tolkien in translation, and I don't intend to. :o The translated names in movie subtitles threw me off enough (had a laugh at Middle-Earth being translated to Midgård - the place where mortal men live in the Norse myths - until I realized that Tolkien had derived the name from the Old English / Old Norse equivalent). Even if I did read them in translation, it'd probably be in Finnish rather than Swedish.
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Old Nov 29 2004, 11:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vilkacis
I had the Hobbit read to me in primary school, it was our assembly book for a whole term, and I must admit I hated it!

Loved the films though which inspired me to attempt the LOTR books - got half-way through the Two Towers and gave up. I think that the stories (as seen in the films) are fantastic but I have to say that as a writer I just don't rate Tolkien (Controversial opinion I realise but it is nonetheless mine )
Just goes to show how opinions can differ. I think what has held me so spell-bound all these years is as much the writing style as the story.
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Old Nov 29 2004, 02:24 PM   #16
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I've read (and re-read many times) Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I'm currently working my way through The Silmarillion on Audio CD read by Martin Shaw and have dipped into Unfinished Tales.

Bit of a Tolkien fan, then.
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Old Nov 29 2004, 06:20 PM   #17
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Hobbit in year 3-aged about 8. And nothing really since! twins and Lizi love them though and each have a copy. note-getting my brothers and sister to share is impossible!
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Old Nov 29 2004, 10:29 PM   #18
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I read the Lord of the Rings monthly, and The Silmarillion once or twice a year. I've read The Hobbit several times, but I've never liked it as much as the others. The world-building that Tolkien excels at is what fascinates me, and I was never pleased with how he did The Hobbit. I've also read "The Histories of Middle-Earth" which is okay, but isn't really worth the money, since most of the stories are in the Silmarillion or The Lost Tales.
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Old Nov 30 2004, 12:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granath
Even if I did read them in translation, it'd probably be in Finnish rather than Swedish.
Even so, it is interesting with the new translation, since the original Swedish one was reputedly so sloppily done. I actually know one of the advisors on the new translation, btw, which is interesting to me at least; I tend to sit up with both ears pricked.

How do you feel regarding the importance of Kalevala for Tolkien's developing work and mythos?
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Old Nov 30 2004, 04:50 AM   #20
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Well, to my shame I've never managed to do what Tolkien did, i.e. read the Kalevala in its entirety. He did it in Finnish as well... So I don't know the mythology of my own roots as well as I should. :o

There are certainly elements of the Kalevala, but more so in Silmarillion than in LotR. Haven't read Silmarillion yet either, so my info is second-hand from several LotR bboards. The epic poems of LotR are quite similar in meter to the Kalevala, which is available in English in its entirety at Sacred Texts.

Tolkien was a mythmaker himself, so Kalevala is by no means the only source of inspiration for him. As a professor of Anglo-Saxon/Old English, he must've been familiar with Beowulf, not to mention the Greek epics, etc.
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Old Dec 12 2004, 03:34 PM   #21
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I'm a big Tolkien fan!

I've read The Lord of the Rings three or four times, ditto for The Hobbit, The Silmarillion twice and Unfinished Tales once. I own all of those, plus the first book in the 12-part history of Middle-Earth series and the Index, but I've yet to read it. I do plan on aquiring the rest, though it will be a long-time project since the books are quite expensive.

I am also extremely happy to say that my LOTR extended edition collection for the movies is now complete.

I've also read Kalevala. Did that last year, partly inspired by Tolkien (and partly just being interested in mythology in general). I haven't taken to learing Elvish yet, though.

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Old Dec 12 2004, 03:50 PM   #22
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Beisla!

I've read the entire History of Middle-Earth, and have enjoyed it tremendously. Mind you, I prefer the Silmarillion to LotR, and that to the Hobbit, so you can understand why the History really got to me (especially The Lays of Beleriand).
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Old Dec 12 2004, 04:41 PM   #23
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I read "The Hobbit" in college voluntarily (I found it cute) and had to read "The Fellowship of the Ring" for my Science Fiction and Fantasy literature class. I tried to keep going, got a third of the way or so into RotK and bogged down. After seeing the movies, I was able to pick it up again, but I doubt I'd reread them or bother with any of the ancillary material. Tolkien is a plot and setting-driven story teller. I couldn't care less about setting and history (one more page of bloody singing and I was going to fling the book at the wall) and am only moderately intrigued by plot--the characters have to hook me and his characters are basically archetype mannequins who exist to be propelled by the events of the plot. NOT my thing.
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Old Dec 12 2004, 04:44 PM   #24
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The histories are one of the things I love best! The only reason I haven't started on the book I have is that I really want to be able to concentrate on it, and school is taking up much of my time. I feel like I want to take half a year to read only Tolkien and really learn the histories.

I also like The Silmarillion and LOTR better than The Hobbit, though perhaps LOTR is still my favorite. The only thing really wrong with Unfinished Tales is that the stories are just that: unfinished.
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Old Dec 13 2004, 05:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth
his characters are basically archetype mannequins who exist to be propelled by the events of the plot. NOT my thing.
If you don't enjoy the books that's ok with me. I have my own likes and dislikes as well. But this statement caught my eye. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but to me his definition of all the major and some of the minor characters was magnificent. I wonder whether you are confusing the movie characters with those in the books? All the personalities were warped or at the least ingored in the action-centered big-screen version of the tale.
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Old Dec 14 2004, 12:56 AM   #26
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Sandi!

Don't get me started on the movies.

An integral part to the characterisation is the language used by Tolkien, especially in dialogue. If you become sensitive to such things, it is good to sit back and revel in his skill and ability as a writer.

His is a skill of subtlety and nuance, far beyond such writers as Clark Ashton Smith, Dunsany or Lovecraft, IMO, and such subtlety should, again, IMO, be applauded.
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Old Dec 14 2004, 09:56 AM   #27
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I couldn't agree more Ghyle! I think the reason I continue to read the books over and over is because of the sheer beauty of the way he uses language. Of course, having literally read the covers off the books, I already know what happens; but I can't get enough of consuming the way he tells it.
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Old Dec 14 2004, 12:53 PM   #28
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Actually I'm talking about the books. I liked the movies (well, the second two. FOTR needed more judicious editing. How anyone can want to watch even LONGER versions of any of them escapes me. They make "Lawrence of Arabia" look like a short subject.) For a start, women existed below the neck. And they cut out a lot of boring extraneous bits. But in the books--oh, look, the hero on a quest. Oh, look, the king. Oh, look, the old wizard guide. Oh, great, yet ANOTHER diversion to look at some cute variant on some ancient legend Tolkien studied in graduate school. (Tom Bombadil IS the Green Man.) The thing is so saturated in plot and history, the dialogue so stilted, everyone seems like a puppet. I prefer fiction where character is the main point, and these characters exist to serve the plot, not the other way around, which is a major turn-off for me. They are so buried in atmosphere it's impossible to identify with them. It reads to me like something written by an academic, not a writer of fiction.

If I wanted Middle English, I'd just go read it. As it is I'd rather sit down with the Lais of Marie de France in the first place and skip Tolkien's fussing with setting to the exclusion of all else. And no more flashbacks, for the love of....that's why "The Hobbit" was fun. It was cute, it was poetic, it had a point and stuck to it and didn't meander too much. When I read LOTR, I keep hearing Tolkien muttering, "I created this nifty little corner of Middle Earth and relevant or not by God I am going to put in here!" Pick a topic and stick with it, and don't include end notes. It's supposed to be a novel, not a thesis.

And of course I'm sick to death of stuff based off Western European legend. If I see one more fantasy universe filled with British and Scandanaivan European peasants and half-hearted attempts at Cossacks that isn't satirical I'm going to be ill. Tolkien of course can hardly be blamed for that, as he was writing well before the fantasy boom market started, but Tolkien immitators are rampant and must be stopped.
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Old Dec 14 2004, 04:17 PM   #29
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Of course, I would have expected you, Anareth, to rail against the epigoni, that strikes me as usual.

Perhaps, simply, you are not a Tolkien person. They do exist. Perhaps you would like to look at, instead, M. John Harrison's Viriconium series, as an example of fantastic literature, or else the early Dunsany, or else Vance, or Mieville, as an antidote.

The problem with western fantasy is that the setting, the cod medieval-ness of it all, is just so easy for hacks to get into, and pretend to do well, that it becomes stale and so-so after the first couple of pretenders to the throne. Give me something good and modern, even if it is Ruritanian, one ends up wishing, but there is little of use.
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Old Dec 14 2004, 04:50 PM   #30
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A friend gave me Witchfire and witchstorm by James Clement for my birthday and he'd used the traditional names but stuck apostrophies in odd places to make them look diffrent! ie w'itch!
Its a pity no one uses the more obscure and realistic ideas of The Little People like you see in legends. One day, when I've time I will write something with Bugganes (manx) and faeries that you dont mess with.

In some ways Terry Pratchett's elves are the closest. I love the description in Lords and Ladies, I havent the book or I'd quote it. Its so like the traditional ones.
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Old Dec 15 2004, 01:41 AM   #31
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Well, I guess you have to read Tolkien with a certain frame of mind, remembering that he created the languages first, the history of the world second, the plot third and the characters fourth. It's still the liveliest linguistic treatise I've laid eyes on! The Hobbit is a far easier read, mainly because it's a children's book and doesn't get bogged down in "irrelevant" details.

Apart from Tolkien I don't read much fantasy at all. Offhand I remember the Eddings Belgariad (read in Spanish translation! ), Elizabeth A. Lynn's Chronicles of Tornor (quasi-medieval) and MZB's Darkover series, although I've only read the published fanfic.
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Old Dec 15 2004, 01:06 PM   #32
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The linguistics stuff is probably the death blow for me. Of the four subdisciplines of anthropology (Socio-Cultural, Biological, Archaeology, and Linguistics) linguistics is the least popular and there's a reason. Very few people really get into it and I am one of the majority that doesn't. Our grad seminar that did bio and linguistics--well, the prof teaching the linguistics half just didn't get why we really liked the other prof's half of the course better, and why, even though almost all of us had undergraduate anthro degrees, only two people in the class had taken any linguistics (that's because most anthro professors don't like it, either.) It's an esoteric, specialized field that is more akin to obscure upper-level math than anthropology and is only a far-distant cousin at best to the English department. Essentially, linguistics is to anthropology as 'pure-math' people are to physics majors: we can see that it's probably necessary someone study this, but we don't really see the point and we're glad it's not us.

When I am writing, my order of priority is character first, plot second, backstory third, setting fourth, and language (in the sense of made-up ones) doesn't even make the top five. I would have enjoyed LOTR much more if Tolkien had devoted a lot more page time to Frodo or Aragon's internal life and a lot less to the position of trees or ten-thousand-year-old elf history. I prefer dialogue that's meaningful to dialogue that's pretty. It's very impressive that Tolkien wrote all those languages, but that doesn't make it INTERESTING.

I read him because I had to. I can't see particularly getting excited over it all. Though the movies were entertaining, if long. In converse, Tolkien's good friend and fellow academic Lewis gives me no problems at all. I've read all of Narnia and enjoyed it, though it's not something I go and reread with any frequency (especially since I have them in a whopping omnibus edition of ALL of Narnia. It's not portable.)

My favorite fantasy author is probably Meredith Anne Pierce (The Darkangel, the Firebringer), who has a very distinct voice, very strange characters, and (even when they're based on the familiar, as in the Darkangel trilogy) VERY alien settings. Otherwise I kind of pick and chose at random, SF and F, and usually like things that are either highly-character-driven or very tongue in cheek.
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Old Dec 15 2004, 02:09 PM   #33
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Well, I do admit that Tolkien is very much an acquired taste, and I marvel at those people who managed to read, and understand, LotR at less than 10 years of age. My father, who's probably been the biggest influence on me when it comes to the kind of books I like, never could get into Tolkien, and the fact that he thought LotR was completely unreadable (he'd tried it from a library once and didn't get beyond a few pages) probably only made me want to read it after seeing the Fellowship of the Ring, I got it for Christmas 2001.

It's heavy, though, and not something I read for light amusement!
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Old Dec 15 2004, 03:45 PM   #34
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Anareth!

I must be one of your minority, then....

I had thought, before seeing the MCA, of doing an MA in linguistics, and applying that to my lit crit, and so the whole question of Tolkien's languages I find fascinating, and engrossing.

The whole question of language and literature becomes important, hence the relevance of the various bits of poetry, and how they reflect the story's themes and sub-themes, and embody key bits of imagery as well.

Granath!

I read it exactly for light amusement.

Since I read it when I was ten, for the first time, may I then be marvelled at by you? If so, I shall preen awhile, in expectation that your eyes shall goggle.
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Old Dec 15 2004, 04:42 PM   #35
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Happy Ghyle?

I dabbled in Quenya for a while, but since one of the best interactive online resources for it dried up for me (Council of Elrond) I haven't been bothered enough to find a substitute. I find languages themselves, and their use more fascinating than pure linguistics...
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Old Dec 16 2004, 12:40 PM   #36
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I've read most of the pre-1990's Tolkein Stuff:
The Hobbit
The LotR Trilogy
The Tolkein Reader
The Silmarillion
Unfinished Tales

and have seen the movies.

IMHO Tolkein IS very complex, this is because his primary love was for the languages, the story (Hobbit/LotR) was merely an outgrowth of the synthetic mythologies and etymologies he created (The Silmarillion). This complexity is perhaps what turns some people off, but for me the rich 'archaeological' result is what makes it so entertaining - each reread I notice something else that I failed to notice the last time. Also, he had MAPS!!! you could follow the party's journey across the land, and dream of visiting Rohan, or the Lothlorien forests.... There is also Tolkein's personal christian theology woven into the story (he considered himself and his wife to be Luthien and Beren), and lots of Northern European legends morphed just enough to fit into his epic tale seamlessly.

The first time I read LotR was in High School. Several other friends had read it about the same time, so we would meet during study hall and discuss it. We learned the Tengwar Characters and Dwarven Runes, and used them to write in a phonetic 'code'. It was fabulous fun . National Lampoon's parody "Bored of the Rings" was also available at that time, and, although its slang seems dated now "Frito, Moxie, Pepsi and Spam" still get a chuckle. It kept us from getting too serious. It is all hypothetical, isn't it???
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Old Dec 16 2004, 01:18 PM   #37
edith
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my little brother wants bored of the rings i think...
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Old Dec 16 2004, 02:38 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edith
my little brother wants bored of the rings i think...
It's still available:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...450126-4288938
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Old Dec 17 2004, 12:19 PM   #39
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thanks, i've seen it in the shops, mum was looking for it the other day. is it by the same person who wrote the soddit?
I've read part of that.
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Old Dec 17 2004, 01:02 PM   #40
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There's also a book out called The Sellamillion, but I'm afraid I don't remember the author's name. Only that it had about 5 or 6 initials!
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