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....Coincidentally enough, I just finished The Fellowship and am moving on to the Twin Towers. Was anyone else inspired by watching the movies on Spike too? tongue

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Based on the fact that this topic has over 1.5 million views, everyone's answer should be "What have you been reading recently?"

The topic is dead! Long live the topic!   —Alorael, who will throw in The Ringmaster's Daughter, a relatively normal and therefore still quite unusual novel by Jostein Gaarder. Unlike Sophie's Wor

It was in one of the introductions for a book. Part of the problem was he had a few children and was trying to save for their future educations.   The figure I've seen is that a basic paper back

Re-re-re-reading the Wheel of Time...It's been three days and I'm already halfway through TGH. This is what happens when my Internet access is removed.

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Me too.

Dikiyoba found the amount of time Frodo and Sam spent in Mordor to be far, far less than Dikiyoba remembered. Odd, that.


Well, the trip from Emyn Muil to Mordor is pretty long and eventful; maybe it all ran together in your memory.

@ Ackrovan:

I saw Fellowship somewhere recently, and yes, watching one of the films (as good as they are) always puts me in mind of how much was left out. So I had to get me some Tom Bombadil.
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Originally Posted By: The Turtle Moves
I just finished re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy
That reminds me, I haven't reread those books in the past year or two. Maybe after I'm done with The Children of Húrin.

Quote:
I saw Fellowship somewhere recently, and yes, watching one of the films (as good as they are) always puts me in mind of how much was left out. So I had to get me some Tom Bombadil.
Yeah, those movies left out a lot of stuff. Then again, Tolkien had a lot going on in the trilogy, and in order to get everything in, they'd have to make each book into a ten hour-movie.
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Originally Posted By: Turtle
Well, the trip from Emyn Muil to Mordor is pretty long and eventful; maybe it all ran together in your memory.

No, I remember that being separate. It's possible I counted everything between Minas Morgul to Shelob's Lair as part of the journey the last time I read it while I broke them apart this time. It's been years since I read the trilogy though, so a mistaken memory isn't entirely unexpected.

Originally Posted By: Ackrovan
Was anyone else inspired by watching the movies on Spike too? tongue

No, Dikiyoba has them, so Dikiyoba can watch the movies the battle sequences commercial-free whenever Dikiyoba wants. tongue
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Originally Posted By: Master Ackrovan
....Coincidentally enough, I just finished The Fellowship and am moving on to the Twin Towers. Was anyone else inspired by watching the movies on Spike too? tongue


The LoTR movies are one of the few examples I can easily recall where the movies are better than the books. This may simply be because Jackson wasn't scared to edit out all the junk that Tolkien bloated the books with in order to trim it down into a storyline that was easily followed. I picture Tolkien sort of like the fantasy world's Ayn Rand: A literary genius who just needed to know when to stop writing and start editing.

In other book-to-movie news, after rereading the first three Foundation books for the umpteenth time, I found out that a Foundation feature film is in the works. I highly doubt that it will be better, but I can still hope...
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Okey-day, while we're comparing the LOTR books and movies, I just have to chime in. I think the books are better than the movies overall. I forgive trimming stuff out; that was necessary. The problem is the movies added a lot of other unnecessary stuff and needlessly changed other stuff to be stupid or strange - from the idiotic line "Give up the halfing, she-elf!" to quasi-evil Faramir in Two Towers to having Elrond randomly show up to deliver Anduril in RotK. However, there are many times in the movies where I think they capture the spirit of the books perfectly, and a very few special scenes that I DO think surpass the books. I especially felt Boromir's tragic defense of Pippin and Merry came through wonderfully, and it doesn't actually appear in the books. I also thought the opening of Two Towers, panning over the Misty Mountains and then replaying the Bridge of Khazad-dum scene but follow Gandalf down, was also brilliant.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
I picture Tolkien sort of like the fantasy world's Ayn Rand: A literary genius who just needed to know when to stop writing and start editing.

You do realize that he spent his entire life editing his writings and never got around to publishing most of them, right?

—Alorael, who can understand why LotR is often disliked. It's the seminal work of modern fantasy, but it's also not really like contemporary fantasy. More accessible than Dunsany, maybe, but still a bit archaic. On the other hand, the odd digressions into Bombadil and the staggering appendices are part of what shaped fantasy world-building.
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Originally Posted By: Honor-Bound
Originally Posted By: Dantius
I picture Tolkien sort of like the fantasy world's Ayn Rand: A literary genius who just needed to know when to stop writing and start editing.

You do realize that he spent his entire life editing his writings and never got around to publishing most of them, right?

?Alorael, who can understand why LotR is often disliked. It's the seminal work of modern fantasy, but it's also not really like contemporary fantasy. More accessible than Dunsany, maybe, but still a bit archaic. On the other hand, the odd digressions into Bombadil and the staggering appendices are part of what shaped fantasy world-building.


JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher, started releasing the remaining works including the rough drafts of LotR. It's interesting to see the earlier versions and what got transferred to the appendicies instead of bloating the final version.
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Originally Posted By: Triumph
...I forgive trimming stuff out; that was necessary. The problem is the movies added a lot of other unnecessary stuff and needlessly changed other stuff to be stupid or strange - from the idiotic line "Give up the halfing, she-elf!" to quasi-evil Faramir in Two Towers to having Elrond randomly show up to deliver Anduril in RotK.


This. And add to the list that bizarre sequence (can't remember whether this was tTT or RotK) where Aragorn falls off a cliff and wanders around hallucinating for a while.
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Originally Posted By: The Turtle Moves
And add to the list that bizarre sequence (can't remember whether this was tTT or RotK) where Aragorn falls off a cliff and wanders around hallucinating for a while.


Yeah, that definitely was weird.

Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
I am pretty sure the scene where Boromir defends Merry and Pippin -was- described in the books. Am I hallucinating?


Not quite hallucinating, but not completely accurate either. At the beginning of The Two Towers (the book), Aragorn hears the Horn blowing. By the time he gets to Boromir a page or two later, all that's left is dead orcs and dying Boromir. With his dying breath Boromir says "Orcs attacked; I defend the hobbits; orcs won," and that's it. Other than that brief description that it happened, we don't get the details. Oh, and I suppose there's a similar brief reference later when...umm...Pippin tells Denethor about Boromir's death, I believe.

In FotR (the movie) we actually see Boromir's defense of the hobbits that books only hinted at or summarized. Coming so shortly after his failure, his succumbing to the temptation of the ring, seeing him return and fight to protect Pippin and Merry, and die sacrificially (even though failing to save the hobbits) made for a very emotionally powerful scene, IMHO. Much more so than Aragorn's melodramatic boss-fight with Lurtz afterward, LOL.
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Originally Posted By: Triumph
The problem is the movies added a lot of other unnecessary stuff and needlessly changed other stuff to be stupid or strange - from the idiotic line "Give up the halfing, she-elf!" to quasi-evil Faramir in Two Towers to having Elrond randomly show up to deliver Anduril in RotK.


They apparently had good reasons for doing all these weird things. I don't remember if it's in the dvd special features or I read it elsewhere, but, well, Tolkien is not the master of
Quote:

Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed,
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet:
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.

Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though we pass them by today
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!

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.
Then world behind and home ahead
We'll wander back to home and bed.

Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!

err, what was I saying? Oh, yes, not the master of brevity or sensible continuity. (I was also going to describe a tree for 16 pages but I thought this should be sufficient.)

Originally Posted By: Randomizer
instead of bloating the final version

wat
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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher, started releasing the remaining works including the rough drafts of LotR. It's interesting to see the earlier versions and what got transferred to the appendicies instead of bloating the final version.
But the appendices are good because they help clarify a few details left out of the final version of the book.

The only real bloat I saw anywhere in LoTR was added by Peter Jackson.
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Re-re-re-reading the Wheel of Time...It's been three days and I'm already halfway through TGH. This is what happens when my Internet access is removed.

 

Two days later, I'm on Book 4. This might not be the best idea...I'm starting to see things.

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Originally Posted By: Taslim
Originally Posted By: Taslim
Re-re-re-reading the Wheel of Time...It's been three days and I'm already halfway through TGH. This is what happens when my Internet access is removed.


Two days later, I'm on Book 4. This might not be the best idea...I'm starting to see things.

Yeah, I'm thinking it's about time to re-read at least part of this thing again. I re-read all of it last year for the release of Book 12. Probably not that again. Am tempted to start back up at Book 8-ish, just to get the stuff that I didn't really pay attention to the first time, but probably won't... will probably just re-read 11 and 12 now and again right before Book 13 comes out near the end of the year.

I think I said it earlier in this topic, but man, Brandon Sanderson saved WoT for me. Reading his take on the later WoT books made me like them much, much more.
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What Kel said, except that I think Book 11 helped redeem the series as well. I started reading the series late, and didn't read the books all at once, so the last book in the backlog I read was the infamous Book 10. I picked up Book 11, fervently hoping that it would be better, and I was considering dropping the series otherwise. It's not the best one in the series, but still is a good one. It resolves some long standing plot lines, starts a few more that have been foreshadowed for a long time, and yet has time to throw curve balls that I never would have expected:

 

Click to reveal.. (DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE EVEN CONSIDERING READING THIS BOOK)
The Ogier have Linking Books?!?!?!?!?!

 

Most importantly for me, the book convinced me that Jordan was ending the series, and ending it soon (I assumed the series would reach 13 because it's an auspicious number for the setting -- Jordan wanted 12, and it turns out we're getting 14). The increase in the 'Bubbles' were nice, and I thought some of them were downright creepy.

 

Then I read about Hinderstap in the new book.

 

Yeah.

 

EDIT: My plan is to hold off on the series until several months before the final book is released, then read the entire series one more time, timing it so I'm done by the release of Book 14. The only danger with this approach is spoilers for Book 13, but since none of my meatspace friends read the series, I just have to be careful around topics like this for a while.

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The problem is the movies added a lot of other unnecessary stuff and needlessly changed other stuff to be stupid or strange - from the idiotic line "Give up the halfing' date=' she-elf!" to quasi-evil Faramir in Two Towers to having Elrond randomly show up to deliver Anduril in RotK.[/quote']

 

They apparently had good reasons for doing all these weird things. I don't remember if it's in the dvd special features or I read it elsewhere, but, well, Tolkien is not the master of

...

err, what was I saying? Oh, yes, not the master of brevity or sensible continuity. (I was also going to describe a tree for 16 pages but I thought this should be sufficient.)

 

instead of bloating the final version

wat

 

More extreme example: The part where Bilbo goes

 

Earendil was a mariner

That tarried in Avernien

He built a boat of timber felled

In Nimbrethil to journey in

Her sails he wove of silver fair

OIf silver were her lanterns made

Her prow was fashioned like a swan

And light uopon her banners laid

In panoply of ancient kings

In chained rings he armoured him

His shining shield was scored with runes

To ward all wounds and harm from him

His bow was made of dragon-horn

His arrows shorn of ebony

Of silver was his habergeon

His scabbard of chalcedony

His sword of steel was valiant

Of adamant his helmet tall

An eagle-plume upon his crest

Upon his breast an emerald.

 

Beneath the moon and under star

He tarried far from northern strands

Bewildered on enchanted shores

Beyond the days of mortal lands

From gnashing on the narrow ice

Where shadow lies on frozen hills

From nether heats and burning waste

He turned in haste and roving still

On starless waters far astray

At last he came to night of naught

And passed and never sight he saw

Of shining shore' date=' nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him

And blindly in the foam he fled

From west to east and errandless

Unheralded he homeward sped

There flying Elwing came to him

And flame was in the darkness lit

More bright than light of diamond

The fire upon her carcanet

The Silmaril she bound on him

And crowned him with the living light

And dauntless then with burning brow

He turned his prow, and in the night

From Otherworld, beyond the sea

There strong and free a storm arose

A wind of power in Tarmenel

By path that seldom mortal goes

His boat it bore with biting breath

As might of death across the grey

And long forsaken seas distressed

From east to west he passed away.

 

Through Evernight he back was borne

On black and roaring waves that ran

O'er leagues unlit and foundered shore

That drowned before the days began

Until he heard on strands of pearl

Where ends the world the music long

Where ever foaming billows roll

The yellow gold and jewels wan

He saw the mountain silent rise

Where twilight lies upon the knees

Of Valinor and Eldamar

Beheld afar beyond the seas

A wanderer escaped from night

To haven white he came at last

To Elvenhome the green and fair

Where keen the air, where pale as glass

Beneath the hill of Ilmarin a-glimmer

In the valley sheer

The lamplit towers of Tirion

Are mirrored on the Shadowmere.

 

He tarried there from errantry

And melodies they taught to him

And sages old him marvels told

And harps of gold they brought to him

They clothen him then in elven-white

And seven lights before him sent

As through the Calacyrian

To hidden lands forlorn he went

He came unto the timeless halls

Where shining fall the countless years

And endless reigns the elder king

In Ilmarin on mountain sheer

And words unheard were spoken then

By folk of men and elvenkin

Beyond the world were visions shown

Forbid to those who dwell therein.

 

A ship then new they built for him

Of mithril and of elven-glass

With shining prow, no shaven oar

Nor sail she bore on silver mast

The Silmaril as lantern-light

And banner bright with living flame

To gleam thereon by Elbereth

Herself was set, who thither came

And wings immortal made for him

And laid on him undying doom

To sail the shoreless skies and come

Behind the sun and light of moon.

 

From Evereven's lofty hills

Where softly silver fountains fall

His wings him bore, a wandering light

Beyond the mighty mountain wall

From world's end then he turned away

And yearned again to find afar

His home through shadows journeying

And burning as an island star.

 

On high above the mists he came,

A distant flame before the sun

A wonder ere the waking dawn

Where grey the norland waters run

And over Middle-Earth he passed

And heard at last the weeping sore

Of women and of elven-maids

In elder days, in years of yore.

But on him mighty doom was laid

Till moon should fade, an orbed star

To pass and tarry nevermore

On hither shores where mortals are

Forever still a herald on

And errand that should never rest

To bear his shining lamp afar

The flammifer of Westernesse.[/quote']

 

... none of which is plot-related (sorry for the garbled spellings and occasional deviations, it's been a while). I've always admired this and thought Tolkien was the best at it until I read Neal Stephenson's Cap'n Crunch monograph. :p

 

(Which I can't quote, because it doesn't rhyme.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got around to rereading The Prydain Chronicles. I picked up a hardcover containing all five and the first six tales from here. The last time I read them I was in the target demographic, so I was wondering if the books would hold as well as I remembered them.

 

I quickly found that I'm incapable of approaching these books as a critic. I'm far, far too attached these characters -- I love you all! The books remain my favourite works of children's literature, and are among my favourite fantasy works as well.

 

It's a crying shame that the Disney adaptation sucked so much, though I must say that John Hurt voicing the Horned King/Arawn hybrid is terrifying even now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A good source of books for me recently has been these public 'bookcases' located in inner-city parks around Bonn where people leave pre-loved books in search of a new home - I imagine other cities have this as well.

 

A great score was Karma Cola by Gita Mehta, while The Green Light by Manwel Haber and Climb A Lofty Ladder from Walter and Marion Havighursthave been readable. The latter makes me think of a novel that students are made to read in high school - nostalgically jingoistic with a 'solid' moral foundation.

 

The point of my post however comes from finding The Last of the Mohicans - I recognised the title instantly and I assume that some SpiderWebbers are familiar with it. Before I embark, would anyone recommend it or care to share their thoughts?

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While on vacation recently, I stopped in Berea, Kentucky, and picked up 2 books: Offbeat Kentuckians and More Offbeat Kentuckians. Oddball that I am, I couldn't resist. Anyway, I just finished Offbeat Kentuckians last night, and started More Offbeat Kentuckians. Both books are turning out to be rather interesting reads.

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Originally Posted By: waterplant
The point of my post however comes from finding The Last of the Mohicans - I recognised the title instantly and I assume that some SpiderWebbers are familiar with it. Before I embark, would anyone recommend it or care to share their thoughts?


I read it years ago and it's probably the best of James Fenimore Cooper's books. There are 4 others in the series, but they rarely get reprinted anymore.

Nice story if you like historical novels. Lots of details.
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I read some trashy thriller novel over my vacation called Terminal Freeze. Think a book version of The Thing,but it sucked. A great way to while away time on a plane, though

 

On the other hand, now that I've finished that, I can now start on the definitely non-trashy Aeneid. I'm looking forward to it, the translation came highly recommended to me.

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I tried reading the Iliad and the Odyssey when I was a teenager. I wasn't able to get into them but I was able to read Paradise Lost. The style that it was writing in is so odd but yet so fun to read.

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The actual story of the Aeneid is a bit hokey. It's mainly great for its Latin verse. My Latin was never strong enough to just plow through the whole thing in the original, but I did manage to pick my way through some chunks, and I could tell it was pretty cool.

 

And it's a bit hard to duplicate in English, because one of the main things Latin poetry does is jumble word order, which you can do in Latin without making your verse incomprehensible, because all the grammatical agreements tag which adjectives and verbs go with which nouns. By flirting with confusion, even putting words close to each other that would logically be far apart, Vergil creates all kinds of extra associations. I can really only think now of the most famous example, from the poem's seventh line. Vergil mentions that his hero will count as a Roman progenitor, and thus as an originator of the 'altae moenia Romae'. Non-native speakers of Latin are strongly tempted to mistranslate this as 'the high walls of Rome', because that's the word order and it makes literal sense, but it's actually 'the walls of high Rome'; the other would have been 'altarum moenia Romae' (if I remember rightly), because Roma is feminine singular and moenia is neuter plural. But by playing this trick of putting 'walls' between 'high' and 'Rome', Vergil's metaphor of Rome being 'high' somehow works a lot more smoothly and naturally. It's as if he inserts a whole parenthetical aside, "think how high we are, with our mighty walls and all", yet he does it without even using a single extra word, just by switching the natural order of two words that already had to be there. The Aeneid is only a so-so story, really, but it's serious power Latin.

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But not actually reading Arthur C. Clarke?

 

—Alorael, who has come to the uncomfortable realization that he's read practically none of the Big Three of science fiction. He's trying to rectify that, and so far he thinks that Clarke somehow has better books while Heinlein has more entertaining writing. The sample size isn't up to statistical significance yet, though, and Asimov hasn't been read or reread in the slightest.

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Originally Posted By: Paralyzing Optimization
But not actually reading Arthur C. Clarke?

That's okay, Clarke is the weakest of the three. Heinlein wrote better and more influential individual books, but Asimov was a better writer looking at his entire career as a whole. Plus, he wrote a two thousand page guide to the old testament, which has got to count for something.

I think Clarke helped write a movie that got kinda famous. Or something.
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Asimov wrote the most including Opus 100 and Opus 200 to quote his own works. So you usually can find something that you like in his works.

 

Heinlein was better in his middle days before he got in the habit of recycling material with new characters. Or his earliest formula sci-fi.

 

Clarke had some good ideas, but the stories themselves aren't as good as the ideas.

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Originally Posted By: Paralyzing Optimization
But not actually reading Arthur C. Clarke?

—Alorael, who has come to the uncomfortable realization that he's read practically none of the Big Three of science fiction. He's trying to rectify that, and so far he thinks that Clarke somehow has better books while Heinlein has more entertaining writing. The sample size isn't up to statistical significance yet, though, and Asimov hasn't been read or reread in the slightest.


of asimov's novels, Foundation is the only one worth reading

his short stories are p cool though
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I found Clarke's books were variable. I really enjoyed Rendezvous with Rama and A fall of Moondust but found the others weren't that interesting. In all fairness though, it can be difficult to judge books such as City and the Stars or Fountains of Paradise, because some aspects would have appeared more original 50 years ago than they seem today.

 

Last thing I read was Iron Council by China Mieville. It's about a train strike. Which seems topical.

 

Currently reading many books by Jack McDevitt. This guy's books are addictive. Sort of like a series of sci-fi disaster movies.

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