Beren & Luthien
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.
Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.
In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that we’re still getting Tolkien material at an almost yearly basis, but LMAO that he’s getting more stuff out whereas George R.R. Martin is nowhere (supposedly) near releasing The Winds of Winter *shrugs* But anyway, I was very excited to get my hands ont his book since hearing about it as every Tolkienite knows of the story of Beren and Luthien.
So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
Happy October! For this edition of So You Want to Read…, I decided to feature Robert Shearman (see author tag). Seemed fitting as Hallowe’en is around the corner and his short stories can be pretty strange and eerie, just perfect for the season. Think Neil Gaiman but even more out there. But at the same time his stories really touch on some deeper human conditions and reactions to situations. I’m always excited when I learn that there’s a new collection of short stories out there by him because I know I’m in for a treat.
First time reading Robert Shearman’s works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:
- Remember Why You Fear Me (review) — This was the first book I read by him, it still remains a favourite by him and the first I’d recommend. Perhaps especially perfect for the Hallowe’en season as some of the scenarios sound especially macabre, the collection is quite solid and thematically it’s quite rich.
- They Do The Same Things Different There (review) — I described this collection as quite eclectic in that I found myself wondering a lot of the times what’s so different about the setting of the story or what’s the odd feature about this story and that. There’s still the eerie/creepy factor to them but again they’re thought-provoking and quite clever.
- Tiny Deaths (review) — This collection was pretty interesting in that the overarching theme of death and its various manifestations and impact really bound the stories together (well, except one, IMO; might’ve missed the linking detail there). Sure, some of the stories were familiar as they reappeared in the above two volumes, but nonetheless it’s a great collection on the whole.
And that’s my list! If you’ve read Robert Shearman’s books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
Something Rotten (Thursday Next #4)
By: Jasper Fforde
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Literary detective Thursday Next is on a mission – and it’s not just a mission to save the planet. If only life were that simple…
Unemployed following an international cheese-smuggling scandal, our favourite cultural crime-fighter is faced with a world of problems: Hamlet’s not attending his conflict resolution classes, President George Formby is facing a coup led by dastardly Yorrick Kaine and, what’s more, the evil Goliath Corportation are refusing to un-eradicate Thursday’s husband, Landen.
Will she ever see Landen again? Is shopping the new religion? Can Thursday prevent Armageddon? And who will babysit her son while she does it?
Join Thursday on her toughest assignment yet, and enter a world where fiction is always much stranger than the truth…
Good thing I had books 3 and 4 sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, makes it easier to just keep following Thursday Next’s adventures 🙂 Just in case, may contain some mild spoilers to the series to date!
The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3)
By: Jasper Fforde
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift
Leaving Swindon behind her, to hide out in the Well of Lost Plots — the place where all fiction is created — Thursday Next, Literary Detective and soon-to-be one parent family, ponders her next move from inside an unpublished novel of dubious merit entitled Caversham Heights. Her husband, Landen, exists only in her memories and with Goliath and the Chronoguard on her tail in the real world, the safest place for her to be is inside the covers of a book.
But changes are afoot within the world of fiction. The much-awaited upgrade to the centuries-old book system — in which grammasites will be exterminated, punctuation standardised and the number of possible plots increased from eight to an astonishing thirty-two — is only weeks away. But if this is the beginning of a golden age in fictional narrative, then why are Jurisfiction agents mysteriously dying? Perkins is eaten by the minotaur, Snell succumbs to the Mispeling Vyrus and Godot is missing.
As the date of the upgrade looms closer and the bookworld prepares for the 923rd Annual Fiction Awards, Thursday must unmask the villain responsible for the murders, establish just what exactly the upgrade entails — and do battle with an old enemy intent on playing havoc with her memories.
Hmm, apparently it’s been a while since I’ve read a Thursday Next novel. Granted, it took me a while to locate this edition of The Well of Lost Plots (wanting to match it with the other books in the series that I have on my shelf), but I was waiting to be in the right mood to read this book. And I needed zany at te time I read this so here we are 🙂 Some spoilers if you haven’t read the series to date!
The Ice Dragon
By: George R.R. Martin
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child–and the ice dragon who loved her–could save her world from utter destruction.
Okay, after watching season 7 of Game of Thrones, I had to pick up this book 😛