Category Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read in 2017, But Never Did (Jan 9)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)’ All of the following books appeared on at least one of my many TBR lists last year. I managed to start a few of them, but none of them were anywhere near finished! I’d like to think that I’d manage to get them read this year, but I hope I haven’t cursed them by putting them on another list like this!

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  1. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom. I’ve had this one for a couple of years or more and enjoyed all his other books, so I’m not sure why I’ve left this one unread for so long.
  2. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina – Michael Casey. It’s over three years since I purchased this book about lectio divina. I really looked forward to reading it at the time, but it still remains unread.
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay – J.K. Rowling. I got this round about the time the movie came out. I loved the movie, but haven’t picked this up yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a long read. Maybe I’ll save it for this year’s Savvy Readathon.
  4. The Complete Robot – Isaac Asimov. I started reading this one, was enjoying it, then got distracted by other books. The fact that it is a collection of short stories means that I’ll be able to pick up easily from where I left off.
  5. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 – Joseph Loconte. I received this one a couple of Christmas’s ago and had great intentions of quickly getting into it. Hopefully I’ll do just that soon, especially as it’s a book about two of my favourite writers.
  6. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines – Ray Harris. I’ve started this one a couple of times, but on each occasion I’ve never gotten that far. This will be the year that I keep on going!
  7. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) – Stephen King. I read The Gunslinger earlier on last year with the intention of at least reading this book, the second Dark Tower book, before the end of the year. I’d even thought I might get round to book three. Lots of people have told me it’s a great series, so I need to try and get on with reading more of it.
  8. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I’ve written about my failure to read this on a fair number of occasions. I’m determined to get it read this year.
  9. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars – Ray Bradbury. This collection of autobiographical essays has sat unread on my shelf for too long. I know it’s one that I’ll enjoy, so I need to read it soon.
  10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. I promised my wife that I’d read this one, so I started it last summer. I got to about page 100 and neglected to finish it. I’m not sure why, because I was kind of enjoying it. I’ll try to get back to it soon, although when I do I may have to restart it. I’ll see how much of what I read I can actually remember!

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Another year has come and gone

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Hello to 2018 and farewell to 2017. Last year wasn’t a bad year. It had its moments, but on the whole it was a decent one. In some ways it was a year of change for us, but in other ways there were many constants in our life as well.

The biggest change for us was our daughter leaving home and starting university. Thankfully she is only about an hour away, but it was still something to adjust to. She seems to have settled in well and is getting on fine there. With her not being too far away we see her fairy often and she has been home for the holidays these past couple of weeks, which has been great. Other than that, not much else has changed in our lives.

I was looking over my goals for last year earlier today and was surprised that I actually made not too bad progress on most of them. I actually managed to complete most of my reading challenges, which I’m quite pleased about. There was only one that I didn’t complete, but it was one that I wasn’t too bothered about anyway.

I still haven’t fully worked out my goals for 2018 yet, but hope to get them finalized in the next couple of days. I have pledged to read 75 books again and have signed up to do this at both GoodReads and the 50 Book Pledge. I’m also hoping to sing up for two or three individual book challenges as well, but haven’t worked these out fully yet.

Once I’ve worked out my personal goals and my book challenges I’ll post about them here. In the meantime, Happy New Year. May 2018 be a great year for you.

Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite 2017 Reads (Dec 12)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017’. The following, in no particular order, are the ten books I enjoyed the most (so far) this year, but I still haven’t decided which one was the best:

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  1. Wenjack – Joseph Boyden
  2. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World – Henri J.M. Nouwen
  3. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
  4. Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living – Rob Bell
  6. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love So Much More – Janet Mock
  7. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science – Mike McHargue
  8. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism – Deborah Jian Lee
  9. The Marvels – Brian Selznick
  10. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR (November 28)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR.’ Some of these are books I’ve had for too long, while others are ones I recently acquired. What they all have in common is that I’d like to get them read at some point in the near future!

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1. Everything Belongs – Richard Rohr. This one has been sitting on my shelf for over 3 years now, so it’s time. It comes highly recommended and I’m looking forward to finally reading it.

2. Blue Gold – Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos. I’m slowly working my way through the various Clive Cussler series. This is the next one I have to read in the NUMA Files series.

3. Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality – J. Philip Newell. This is one of the best books on Celtic Spirituality out there. I started it once before, but never got back to it and it got lost among other books during our move a couple of years ago.

4. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming – Henri J.M. Nouwen. I received this for Christmas a couple of years ago and it just seemed to get stuck on the back burner. I always enjoy reading Nouwen and know this will not be an exception to that.

5. Nutshell – Ian McEwan. I picked this one up at a recent library book sale. I’m fascinated by the idea of a mystery story told from the perspective of an unborn child.

6. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina – Michael Casey. This is another book that I’ve had for too long unread on my shelf. It was recommended to me at least three years ago, so it’s time I got round to reading it.

7. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 – Joseph Loconte. This one was also a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I never grow tired of reading about Tolkien or Lewis, so this should be one I enjoy.

8. A Season to Dance – Patricia Beal. I won this book in a blog giveaway recently. I don’t know much about it, but I’d like to give it a try soon.

9. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins. I picked this up for a dollar at a thrift store recently. I figured that if I’m going to watch the movie, I should really read the book first.

10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. My wife love the Outlander books. I promised that I’d at least try the first one and see what all the fuss is about. I started reading it before the summer, but got distracted by other books. I need to get back to it and get it finished this winter.

The problem with lists like these is that I rarely get them accomplished. Even if I manage half of these in the next few months I’ll be happy. We’ll see how it goes anyway.

Top Ten Tuesday – Unique Titles (Oct 24)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Unique Book Titles’. Quite often book titles tend to be bland or too similar to others already published.  Although it’s important that the actual content of the book be worthwhile, a unique book title can also draw a person in. Here are ten books from my shelves that have, in my opinion anyway, titles like this:

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  1. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
  2. Optimists Die First – Susin Nielsen
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
  4. 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – Michael Brooks
  5. When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth? An Imponderables Book – David Feldman
  6. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 – Joseph Loconte
  7. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession – Allison Hoover Bartlett
  8. The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  9. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius – John Joseph Adams (editor)
  10. Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick deWitt

I haven’t read all of these yet, but for most of them it was the title that first drew me in. My favourites from the list would have to be the ones by Jonas Jonasson and Patrick deWitt, both of which were very funny and unique.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Oct 4)

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‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. It’s October already, but the weather has felt more like summer. This weekend will be one of our more warmer Thanksgiving weekends for a few years. Time flies on and before we know it Christmas will be here!

2. I spent last weekend building two more IKEA Billy bookcases and rearranging my books once more. The picture at the top of the post isn’t of my new bookcases, but is instead my rearranged Tolkien and Lewis shelves.

3. We’re looking forward to a couple of weeks of holiday from this Friday onwards. Some of my family members arrived from Scotland yesterday, so we’ll be able to spend some time with them. Also our daughter will be home on Friday for a five day break. Added to this is her high school graduation ceremony on Friday night.

4. I haven’t had that much reading time this past week due to getting things ready for our visitors and finishing off a number of things at work before our holiday time. I’m hoping I’ll get some quality reading time in during my time off. I have some books lined up I’d like to get into, so hopefully I’ll find the time.

5. It was a great opener for the Leafs tonight – a 7-2 road win against the Jets. Hopefully it’s a sign of a great season ahead. Added to this is TFC claiming the Supporters’ Shield last weekend. Unfortunately, the Jays didn’t make the playoffs this year, but maybe next year instead.

6. The shooting tragedy in Las Vegas earlier this week just makes me numb. It’s time for our southern neighbours to take a serious look at gun control. These kinds of shootings are becoming far too frequent.

7. I rewatched ‘Michael Clayton’ for the first time in a while last weekend. I’d forgotten just how great it is. It’s probably my second favourite George Clooney movie behind ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Stephen

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If you’ve been reading any book blogs or visited bookstagram today, you’ll have realised that today is the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit and is also Stephen King’s 70th birthday. The Hobbit is, of course, my favourite book of all time, whereas Stephen King is someone I am slowly rediscovering again. He was my favourite author in my teen years, but I got away from reading him for about 25 years.

I discovered The Hobbit in the early 70s, when Bernard Cribbins read it on Jackanory for a week. I can remember rushing home from school to see it – no VCRs in those days – because I didn’t want to miss a word of it. The same year we read it as a class at school and I was hooked. In the early 80s we got a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer and one of the first games I got was The Hobbit adventure game, which came with the copy of the book pictured above. I don’t think I ever finished the game and seem to remember that things used to go awry whenever I got into Mirkwood. The Hobbit is a book that I read at least once every three years and I never grow tired of it. I haven’t watched the recent movies yet and have written enough about it here and elsewhere, so I don’t need to go over my reasons why again.

My first encounter with Stephen King came when I was about 14 or 15. If I remember correctly, I think the first book of his I read was Salem’s Lot. I had never read anything like it before and for the next few years I read anything of his that I could get my hands on. My favourite book of his at the time was The Dead Zone. I got it round about Christmas one year and read it in less than two days. I read it once again the following year, but haven’t read it since. I’d be interested in reading it again to see how much I like it now.

In the mid-80s I read Skeleton Crew and it is still my favourite King short story collection. Included in it is the story that still freaks me out, The Monkey. A character in one of the Toy Story movies brought back memories of it to me again and I had to search out the story again. Sure enough, it still freaked me out as much as it originally had.  Reading that collection again ignited my interest in King’s books again and I slowly got back to his books again. The problem is that in the ensuing years he has written so much more that I’m having a hard time catching up. My favourite book of his from recent years is the one in the above picture, 11/22/63, which is an awesome read. I haven’t seen any of the recent King movie adaptations yet, but I intend to watch them eventually. I’d like to read The Dark Tower series first and try to reread It as well, because it is so long since I read it.

So, happy birthday to two literary ‘giants’ that have had a huge impact on my reading life. I look forward to catching up on the Stephen King books I have missed and also to many more still to come. I also look forward to many more readings of The Hobbit, but I don’t think it will ever be knocked off the top of my favourites, although there are perhaps Stephen King books that come close.

Top Ten Tuesday – I’ve Started, So I’ll Finish (June 6)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List.’ Rather than choosing a particular genre, I’ve chosen ten books on my currently reading list at Goodreads. These are books that I started a long time ago and for some reason or other I never got back to them. So I’ve made a separate TBR pile for them and hopefully this might inspire to pick them up and start reading them again. For some of them it’s been so long ago that I started them that I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Here are the ten I picked:

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  1. If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis:Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath
  2. Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
  3. Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs
  4. Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe
  5. The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines by Ray Harris
  7. In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  8. George MacKay Brown: The Wound and the Gift by Ron Ferguson
  9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  10. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

It seems like a daunting list, but hopefully I’ll get some of them read soon.

Top Ten Tuesday – Unread (Jan 24)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘FREEBIE’, which means I can choose anything. I checked out the list of previous Top Tens and decided to go with ‘Top Ten Books on my Shelves tat Remain Unread.’ I buy a lot of books with good intention, but unfortunately there are some really good ones on my shelves that for some reason or another I haven’t got around to reading yet. By listing these ones here it may give me the inspiration to actually crack them open and get them read. We’ll see! In addition to this, one of the challenges I signed up for this year is The 2017 Mount TBR Challenge, which I’m also hoping will inspire to get some of these unread books read.

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  1. Magnus – George Mackay Brown
  2. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
  3. A New Kind of Christianity – Brian McLaren
  4. The Living – Annie Dillard
  5. The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning
  6. A Life of Jesus – Shusaku Endo
  7. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. In The First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  9. The Last Crossing – Guy Vanderhaeghe
  10. Heretics/Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton (I guess that this is technically two books, but it is still a volume that sits unread on my shelf)

Quite a few of these have bookmarks in them, which means that I did start them once upon a time, but for some reason I never got back to them. I’ll have to start them from the beginning again, as I can’t remember much about any of them. The Solzhenitsyn one seems the most daunting, whereas the Gaiman one looks like the easiest of the pile. I should choose one of them soon and get started. Check my Reading Challenges page for my progress, of which I hope there will be some at least.

Musing Mondays (Dec 26)

mondayMusing Mondays is a weekly meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker, that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Did you get any good books for the holidays?

I’m just going to answer the random question this week.

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I got 6 new books pictured above for Christmas this year. They are as follows:

I have already started reading the Tolkien one and am looking forward to getting to the rest of them soon.

 

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