Category Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Written Before I Was Born (Feb 2, 2021)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Books Written Before I Was Born.’ These are all books I have read and include two of my all-time favourites. Those who know me will probably know what those are, otherwise you’ll just have to guess!

  1. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read The Hobbit. It’s one of the books that sparkled my early love of reading.
  2. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. A classic that’s always worth a reread.
  3. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson. This is also one that I read when I was young. If I remember correctly I read it after watching the Disney version from the 50s. Although the movie was enjoyable and was the impetus for me wanting to read it, the book was far superior.
  4. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway. I first had to read this for high school English and somehow it just stuck with me.
  5. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell. This is another one I had to read at school. The year I first read it was 1982. It’s one I’ve returned to a few times since.
  6. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is probably my second-favourite book by a Russian author. It’s probably due a reread.
  7. The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton. This one is good on so many different levels.
  8. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn. This is my favourite book by a Russian author. It’s not a long read, but it is one to savour. There’s a certain bleakness to it, but the reality of one day in the title character’s life in a Siberian labour camp is worth checking out. I’ve probably read it at least half a dozen times and I never grow tired of it.
  9. The Stranger – Albert Camus. I read this in one sitting, as it was hard to put down.
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis. If I remember correctly my parents first read this one to me and I’ve loved it ever since. Although this is not my favourite book, C.S. Lewis is my favourite writer.

I was born in the 60s, so there are lots of great books that were written after I was born. However, these ten are ones that are probably all in my top 100. Having said that, I haven’t come up with a top 100, so maybe that’s a project for the near future.

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Quotes (September 29)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Favorite Book Quotes.’ This one will be hard to keep to ten, but I’ll do my best!

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. (The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien)

 

541732You can’t get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. (Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories – C.S. Lewis)

 

44363. sx318 Questions are not scary. What is scary is when people don’t have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them. (Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith – Rob Bell)

 

119787There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. (Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury)

 

474073. sx318 Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. (Coraline – Neil Gaiman)

 

10890You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. (Traveling Mercies – Anne Lamott)

 

6151Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life. (Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular WorldHenri J.M. Nouwen)

 

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary RadicalAnd I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about. (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical  Shane Claiborne)

 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams)

 

Beside the Ocean of TimeWe never find what we set out hearts on. We ought to be glad of that. (Beside the Ocean of Time – George Mackay Brown)

Top Ten Tuesday – Covers (September 15)

It has been a long time since I posted anything here and I would hate to see this blog fizzle out completely, so I thought I would try again to resurrect things here. I am hoping to post more often and this is a start.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Cover Freebie.’ Although a book is obviously more than what is on the cover, appearances can be important. An eye-catching cover may encourage one to pick up a book, but if the words inside do not keep one’s interest then it could be seen as just a pretty package. For this week’s top ten I have chosen ten of my favourite covers from ten books that I also really enjoyed. There is no theme here, other than they are all covers that have caught my eye in one way or another.

  1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess. I like the simplicity of this cover and the vibrant colours. All I know about the picture is that it was designed by David Pelham. I have another copy of this book, the cover of which is simply white with an orange circle on it. I like it, too, for its simplicity, but I like this one slightly more.
  2. The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson. This cover was designed by Laura Klynstra, with the illustration by Eric Thunfors. This is one where the cover actually drew me in. I saw it in Costco and had to have it.
  3. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard. I saw this for the first time in a used bookstore and the picture reminded me of Orkney, where I grew up. I read the back cover and figured it might be one I’d enjoy, and it was. The picture is by the author herself.
  4. Book Love – Debbie Tung. A book with lots of books on the cover, what more could you ask for! This is a fun little read and the cover is an illustration by the author, who is a cartoonist and illustrator.
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick. All of Selznick’s books have great art on them like this, but I like this one the most. It is also an illustration by the author. The book itself is filled with his art as well, as it is part graphic novel.
  6. Porcelain: A Memoir – Moby. This cover is a picture of the ‘little idiot’,  a character drawn by Moby, that appears as artwork on a number of his releases and projects. Moby is an interesting person and this is a fascinating read.
  7. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell. There are so many different covers available for this book, but the simplicity of this one and what the image evokes make this one of my favourites. It was designed by Carroll & Dempsey Limited.
  8. The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis. This is a book that you never seem to hear much about, but it’s in my top 5 of Lewis’ books. There’s something about this cover that always draws me back in. It’s a photo of a painting in St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, called ‘The Ladder of Judgement’.
  9. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve written about this a lot, but this is my favourite book. I have a few different versions of it, all with (mostly) great covers, but this is my favourite, because this is the first copy I owned. It’s an illustration by Tolkien himself and also contains a number of his other illustrations inside. Unfortunately, this copy is now falling apart, so whenever I reread this story I use one of my newer copies.
  10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. This is another one of my favourite reads. Again, what I like is the simplicity of it. The art was by Joseph Mugnaini.

On another day, I may have picked some different covers, but these are the ones I was thinking about today.

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall 2019 TBR (Sept 24)

I haven’t posted anything here forever, so I thought it was about time to get going again.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Books on My Fall 2019 TBR List.’ The ones I’ve chosen are a variety of books. Some I’ve had for too long, others are ones that are fairly new to me, but are ones I really want to read soon. I’m not always the best at getting through my TBR piles, but hopefully I’ll get through more than half of these in the next few months.

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  1. The Way of Tea and Justice (Becca Stevens) – I got this one for Christmas last year and it looks like a really interesting read.
  2. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black (Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick, Alexis Deacon) – this is a review copy I got free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, so it’s about time I got it read. I am about 60 pages into it and enjoying it so far.
  3. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (Sam Kean) – I got this one for Christmas last year as well. Sam Kean writes interesting and engaging non-fiction books, mainly of a scientific nature. This one on the history of the human brain really piqued my interest. I need to get to it soon.
  4. This is How it Always Is (Laurie Frankel) – I received this novel for Christmas last year and it looks lie one I’ll really enjoy when I get around to it.
  5. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (Anne Lamott) – yet another Christmas gift from last year and it’s Anne Lamott, so it needs to be read!
  6. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
     (Rachel Held Evans) – it was so sad when Rachel Held Evans died earlier this year at such a young age. This was her last book and I’ve wanted to read it for a while. I will soon.
  7. The Humans (Matt Haig) – I haven’t read anything by Matthew Haig yet, so I need to remedy that. Plus I’ve heard lots of good things about this one.
  8. Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God (Lauren F. Winner) – I’ve had this one unread on my shelf for too long. I always enjoy reading Lauren Winner, so I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten to this one yet.
  9. There and Back Again: JRR Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit (Mark Atherton) – this is yet another of last year’s Christmas gifts. The Hobbit is my favourite book, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.
  10. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me (Janet Mock) – I got this last month and started reading it right away, but then I got distracted by other book. I’ll get back to it soon for sure.

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?’

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