Category Archives: Literature

How to Make Me Hate a Book in Five Words or Less

Even though my husband and I are adults, we still enjoy bedtime stories. Usually, he picks the book and I read it aloud… though this was the sneaky way that I finally introduced him to The Lord of the Rings in its original form.

Over the years, we’ve read quite a few books. Right now, we’re working on the Myst series, which are all based on the video game world of the same name. He played the part puzzle, part exploration games when he was a kid, and he told me enough about the world while we were growing up that I was familiar with it too.

So far, we’ve finished the first book (The Book of Ti’Anna) and now we’re on to the second (The Book of Atrus). While they’re not the next classics, they have been fun.

That is, until a few nights ago.

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Happy (Belated) Hobbit Day!

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Friday came and went faster than expected. While I didn’t get to my annual Hobbit Day post, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t celebrate!

Most years, Hobbit Day (Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday) is filled with everything Hobbit-related that you can imagine. This year was more subdued, thanks to the hurricane. In some ways, though, it felt very much like a typical Hobbit’s day.

I’m currently on a Hobbit’s eating schedule… and sometimes I feel like I have the appetite of one too. I understand why they prefer to spread their calorie intake out over six meals, though. It allows for plenty of variety throughout the day. The only downside: I think I need a bigger lunchbox to take on campus. Oh, and it confuses the cat when I’m home. Sorry, little guy, but you don’t get lunch at 9:30…

I added to my vegetable garden. Since it’s time for fall planting, could there be a more perfect day to spend some time in patches of freshly tilled earth?

Did you celebrate Hobbit Day? If so, what did you do?


Reading the Inklings: Dorothy Sayers

Well, it took the whole summer, but I’m one step closer to my goal of reading something by all of the Inklings.

Robert Harvard, a medical doctor, was first on the list. The only entry I would really appreciate was in CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, so that’s what I read. As interesting as medical journals might be, I think that some of it may have been lost on me.

Fortunately, Dorothy Sayers writes fiction so there were plenty of options to choose from. Since I opted to borrow a book digitally from the library, I picked Lord Peter Views the Body.

It’s just one part of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and it shows. While the stories are all vignettes, some do make clear references to prior stories. Nothing that makes it difficult to keep up with because she does give enough context for me to appreciate the characters and situations, but I still know that I’m missing something.

The stories make me think of Sherlock Holmes as far as their length and style go. Sometimes, there’s a possibility that I could have figured out the mystery. Other times, relevant information just isn’t presented, so the ending comes as a surprise. In any case, though, I enjoyed them and again admired the complexities of writing mysteries.

Much like Holmes, Lord Peter Wimsey (who is much younger than I originally imagined with such a grandiose name) has a sidekick: Bunter. Unlike Watson, he’s not in every story and he doesn’t always narrate, but he fulfills a similar function in the story.

Overall, it was definitely a fun read, and I’ll likely go back and check out some of her other works.

For now, though, it’s time to move on to new things. There’s a short story I promised a friend I would read, and then it’s time to pick the next Inkling!

Have you ever read anything by Dorothy Sayers? Do you like mysteries? If so, who are your favorite mystery authors?


Reading the Inklings: Getting Back on Track

Earlier this year, I decided to read something by as many of the Inklings as I could. It started off well (with Robert Harvard’s appendix in CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain.) Then things derailed a little bit.

The end of the school year is always busy, especially when there’s curriculum to review for next year. Unfortunately, that put me off track on the book I had started: Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy Sayers.

According to the Kindle, I’m 11% in and was having a good time. Dorothy Sayers writes mysteries — a genre that has always intrigued me, but that I’m not particularly good at.

Clearly, all of the stories about Lord Peter (a detective of sorts) tie together, and I can tell that I’ve come in partway through a series. However, there’s still enough that I know what’s going on — even though I don’t have a full appreciation for the relationships between some of the reoccurring characters.

Now that I’m back to reading what I want to read, I’ll have an update on this book hopefully sooner rather than later.

What are you reading right now? Have you ever heard of Dorothy Sayers or read anything by her?


Tolkien and Lewis’ Movie Date

When I think of JRR Tolkien’s contemporaries, I usually think of CS Lewis and the rest of the Inklings. I rarely think about what was happening on the other side of the pond — even though that’s where I live.

As anyone familiar with Tolkien knows, he had strong opinions, and that went for his contemporaries. One of those — one I never thought of — is Walt Disney.

Back in the 1937, The Hobbit and Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves made their debuts in their respective countries. Since both have always been a part of my life, I never realized that they came out within months of one another and share a protagonist surrounded by a band of dwarves. It’s just fascinating to think about.

While I don’t know what Walt Disney thought of Tolkien’s work, Tolkien certainly wasn’t a fan of him. Neither was Lewis.

Unlike the past several generations, they grew up only knowing the original (and usually darker) versions of fairy tales. To see dwarves — the creatures of Norse mythology — playing jazz and being downright goofy just felt wrong.

I can understand it. When Frozen first came out, I was appalled by just how different the story is from Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale. There are a handful of similar elements, but besides those things, the stories couldn’t be more different. Since then, I’ve warmed up to it (pun only sort of intended) and have come to like it as its own thing, but certainly not as adaptation. “Inspired by,” sure. “Adaptation”? Definitely not.

Needless to say, it was a fascinating read. If you want to check out the full article, it’s available here.

What are your thoughts on different adaptations of films? Have you ever found yourself in Tolkien and Lewis’ shoes?


Tolkien Fans, Rejoice!

So I wasn’t able to buy Tolkien’s Oxford house (though not for lack of desire), but as it turns out, I may one day still be able to stay somewhere that Tolkien hung out. With CS Lewis and Robert Harvard and all of the other Inklings.

The famous Eagle and Child pub is getting an upgrade, which means there will now be seven rooms inside. (Read more here.)

How much will these rooms be? Maybe a bit too expensive. But that’s okay. A girl can dream, right?

Have you ever visited the Eagle and Child? Would you want to stay there?


Reading the Inklings: Robert Harvard

I’m officially one step closer to reading something by all of the Inklings.

A few weeks ago, I started The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis because it has an appendix written by Robert Harvard. (Read more about that here.) Though he did publish many other things, all of them are in medical journals so I wouldn’t have as much appreciation for them as I would if it were written for someone outside of the field.

As it turns out, Lewis’ words were exactly what I needed to read. While I don’t agree with everything, I do agree with most. More importantly, though, much of it resonated deeply with where I am right now, and that’s what I was hoping for.

After Lewis discusses pain of all sorts and some theological musings, Robert Harvard has a very short appendix with some medical insight. It was certainly interesting, though shorter than anticipated. I had hoped for a bit more than a few pages, especially when the Kindle told me there was 89% left to the book. Evidently, the last 8% is copyright information, Lewis’ biography, and footnotes. Lots of footnotes.

So, while not the most insightful into Robert Harvard, it was still a great read. Now, time to move on to the next Inkling!