Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Books 1 & 2 of 2016: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien & if... by George Kempis

As we reach the end of the year, I'm finally ready to start reviewing the books I've been reading this year. I've been a lot slower with my reading this year, just over half the number I read last year, so I'm hoping that I might get through these ones by about halfway through next year.

At least I know I'm well set for blog post material for the coming months.

First up was The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

As I was beginning my own journey across Middle-earth with my Walk Middle-earth project it seemed fitting to start the year by reading The Lord of the Rings. My favourite story about a a magic ring and the quest to destroy it.

It took it really slow this time around. In fact, I didn't finish it until halfway through February! I don't think I've taken that long to read a book in a long time. It kind of set the tone for the rest of the year since I've been incredibly slow to read everything! On the other hand, it was quite nice to take my time and savour it.

This edition is actually filled with some rather interesting and hilarious typos. I didn't make a note of it but there was a particularly brilliant one which involved Legolas. I think there was one which turned 'cloud' into 'clod' or something similar as well.

I obviously enjoyed my reread this year, but next year I'm hoping to read it a little quicker. I'll probably go for the Kindle version next time, since I can read that on my phone far easier than a single volume edition. Or perhaps the three volume version, so I can at least cover three books rather than just one!

I followed The Lord of the Rings up with if... by George Kempis.

This is an unusual tale about a tree and the seeds that it brings forth. There's kind of a story within a story here about the people who are responsible for caring for it and bringing the seeds on to the next generation. There are nods to religion, but it didn't come across as being preachy.

I thought it was an interesting book. There were little bits of it which made me think of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, there was a degree of magic realism to it. I did enjoy the style of the writing as well. At times it did feel a little like you were reading some old record of events long in the past.

There was an obvious religious theme to the book which was kind of lost on me, but I liked the way that it sort of linked religions like Christianity and Buddhism. The former being the one which I probably know the most about (thank you, UK education system) and the latter being the one which I was most drawn to in my late teens.

It was a pretty quick read, though a little bit weird in places. I liked the mythical element but I felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions, particularly regarding a death right at the beginning of the book.

On the whole though, it's definitely worth a read.

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