Category Archives: Literature

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!


Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year: Tolkien Reading Day!

Part of me regrets not spending every spare moment of the week on a Lord of the Rings marathon, but part of me feels that what I’ve been doing with my free time is just as appropriate.

It’s been hard to peel myself away from Breath of the Wild. Whenever I have a spare moment (and my husband isn’t playing it), I’ve been exploring the vast landscape and basically doing all I can to save the world one quest at a time. (Fortunately, the times when my husband is playing mean that my writing doesn’t completely suffer.)

However, such fantasy would never exist without Tolkien’s influence. I happened across a Newsweek article that said as much. (Check out “How J.R.R. Tolkien Redefined Fantasy Stories” here.) Tolkien didn’t invent fantasy, but his works defined the genre. It simply wouldn’t be what it is today without him. Which means that the game that I’m playing would be nothing like it is without him.

As usual, though, I’ll give pause to read my favorite passage (and likely more than that when it’s all said and done). There’s something so beautiful about the climax in The Return of the King, Book VI, in the last part of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4. After everything that the characters have endured, this is the moment that changes Middle-earth forever. (And for anyone who’s read The Silmarillion, you know just how long this conflict with Sauron has been going on.)

The Fall of Sauron

One of the best parts : )

So here’s to this year’s Tolkien Reading Day, the anniversary of the Fall of Sauron, and Tolkien’s lasting influence on our world.


Reading the Inklings: Robert Harvard

The adventure of reading the works by the Inklings (besides just Tolkien and CS Lewis) is about to begin. The ironic thing, though, is that it’s actually about to start with CS Lewis.

Only a few of the books I plan to read are available as eBooks at the library and most of them are already checked out. So I decided that it’s okay to start with one of the authors I’ve already read before: CS Lewis. After all, the only non-medical journal work written by Robert Harvard (who was indeed a doctor) is an appendix in Lewis’ The Problem of Pain.

I can’t believe I’ve never read The Problem of Pain before, but now seems like an appropriate time. Life has been hard, and I could use some encouragement from someone who’s been there as well. And it only seems appropriate to read the whole book before the appendix written by Harvard.

Have you ever read The Problem of Pain? Do you have trouble finding the books you want via library eBooks too? :)


Reading the Inklings: Preparation

It’s been literally a month since I first mentioned my new reading goal: to read works by the Inklings. In between other writing projects, work, and life, I’ve started doing research into the different Inklings. Fortunately, several of them have written things (and not just literary criticism, though I certainly can appreciate that).

As I mentioned, I already have a head start. Of course I know JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. Their works are some of my all-time favorites. But I also know Roger Lancelyn Green’s King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table thanks to teaching. (I actually read the book specifically because he was one of the Inklings.) He’s written other things, and they deserve to be read too, but I have him checked on my list for now since I’ve read at least one thing. After all, there are other Inklings to discover!

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Fortunately, a quick peek on Amazon revealed that most of this books are still readily available. Some of them might even be on Kindle. Others might be harder to track down, but that’s part of the fun, right?

So, now to finish Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book so I can start on my new reading adventure!