Tag Archives: The Hobbit

Top Ten Tuesday

I frequently scour the interwebs for book-related news or factoids or anything remotely interesting to discuss on this blog right here. Today, I happened across a “Top Ten Tuesday” segment that obviously made me stop and think of what I would say if asked to list my ‘Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors.’ I could pretend to be modest and assume that no one is genuinely all that interested in what books I would pick (or that you’ve all hopefully followed Untamed Shrews long enough that you can already predict my picks), but I’d rather pretend someone has a (fake! Duh!) gun to my head and will NOT rest until they know my “Gateway Books.” “Okay, endearingly obsessed maniac, I will tell you my picks.”

200px-TheHobbit_FirstEdition

1. OBVS!! The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – I suppose expounding upon the huge impact this book has had on me is ultimately unnecessary. I’ve written many a blog post about the book, my tattoo of dedication, and how it feels to me like literary sunshine; thus, I will consider it sufficient for me to say that it is my favorite thing ever and the rest of this list is practically irrelevant in Bilbo Baggins’s shadow. (So, “irrelevant” is a little strong, and I take it back.) If you want to really know how I feel, I’m including some links at the bottom of the page so check those out.

2. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling – This is one of those instances where the book means so much to me that I can’t truly, adequately describe how much it means to me. The series affected me as a reader partly because I was the same age as Harry when the books came out, so I could relate to the awkward youthful angst and desire to be something “special.” However, it had a seriously life-changing effect on me, in that I saw books as a treat instead of a chore, I for once sought out more books with similar levels of entertainment, and literally abandoned the t.v.-watching lifestyle that had previously nicknamed me “couch-potato Lou.”

3. Beowulf – I tackled this for the first time in my high school Medieval Literature class and loved it from the very beginning. I loved how old and mysterious it was, I loved the language and monster-filled subject matter, and I loved the almost “bad boy” image it had among young readers (since the mass hatred and aversion everyone else my age felt towards it made it that much more appealing to me). It helped me choose English as my major in college with an emphasis in Early World Literature.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I have to say this one was a big deal because it surprised me so much! My bread and butter, in terms of literature, is Early World Lit or Classical Gothic Lit (contrary to the fact that my “Top 2” are generally for kids), and I typically hate “soft” literature about bland romances and boring, Victorian-style plot twists. I wrongly considered Austen to be within this category of “boringness” and avoided her up until just a couple of years ago. I was so surprised by how witty and forward Austen was with her language, characters, and plot subjects. My eyes have been opened to a writer all but new to me and hopefully to a whole genre of bold, witty female authors.

Dr_-Seuss-Collage

5. Dr. Seuss – Yep. I freaking love Dr. Seuss. Loved him as a child and still love him to this day. Dr. Seuss was (and still is) such an important influence in children’s literature, because he wrote about adult subjects (racism, bullying, preserving our planet) in a way that children willingly received and really loved. What child doesn’t love a good rhyme?! The good thing about this is that, no, the child may not initially understand the message behind the Dr.’s silly words, but they just eat that “one fish, two fish” stuff right up, so that the message has plenty of time to set in and be contemplated during the one million times the child requests that you, the parent, read it to them. I think Dr. Seuss was a genius and I fully intend to buy/read every one of his books when I reproduce.

As you can see, I did not list ten picks. If the aforementioned polite gunman expects complete honesty, there are way fewer than ten books (I count a series as one influential unit) or authors worthy of such a profound impact on my life. Just like with all “favorites,” I have a few here and a few there. To have too many devalues the few. If asked to list my top five instead of ten, it credits much more power of influence to those five, than if they were listed among five other, lesser-amazing picks. I could probably come up with five other works or authors that I think are just grand, but what would be the point? The five listed above have made me the person that I am today; any other works were simply adding “fluff” to the person that Rowling and Tolkien already made. Sorry, everybody else; you snooze, you lose.

Anyway, check out the links below for a little more detail on my favorites. I’m still reading Persuasion and I have no idea what Hannah is doing these days, so we’ll be in touch. Let us know what you think!

Smaug Tattoo, The Hobbit is my fav, Ode to Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice

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Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review

Read This, Drink That – Hobbit Edition

I know you all have been dying of thirst; in honor of Lindsay’s recent literary tattoo, here’s the latest edition of Read This, Drink That. As the Middle Earth-traveling group would have needed a drink to keep them warm on the inevitable autumn nights, I have selected a fiery hot toddy latte.

ReadDrinkHobbit

Maker’s Mark Latte
1 part Maker’s 46
2 tablespoons finely ground Espresso
4 parts Spring Water
3 parts + 1 part Organic Milk
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/2 part Vanilla Vodka
1 Rock Candy Swizzle Stick

Prepare espresso in stove top espresso maker. Bring 3 parts milk in a small saucepan or Turkish coffee pot to a light simmer. Mix espresso and milk in coffee mug. Add Maker’s 46™. Make the vanilla vodka foam: Add vanilla vodka and 1 part milk to small shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy. Pour foam over espresso milk mixture. Add swizzle stick and pinch of nutmeg. Stir and enjoy.

Book | Cocktail | Thermos | Rock Candy | Bottle Opener | Leather Flask | Bar10der | Ice Bucket | Adventure Flask

Cheers!
-H

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L: Day 6 and Opinion of “The Hobbit” Film

I don’t apologize for my absence. Christmas is a hectic time for everyone and I’m going to proceed with my opinions of things as if I never missed a beat.

First and foremost, the second film in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy came out a week or two ago, and I have a few things to say about it. No, I’m not disappointed. No, I’m not pleased with it, either. It was what I expected. I went in with low expectations, and it met them. This sounds harsh, but I promise I do not mean for it to come across this way. I enjoyed it; it took a lot of artistic license, strayed from the original storyline quite a bit, and thus had even me wondering what was going to happen. Let me reveal a few things (none of which are spoilers, btw) to those of you who have seen the film but have not read the book: Thorin is NOT a sexy Dwarf, nor are Kili & Fili; that whole episode with the melting of the gold & gilding of Samug didn’t happen in the book; Tauriel doesn’t exist and Legolas is not even slightly mentioned; Kili isn’t shot by a poisoned arrow; this whole “Necromancer” fascination is just in there to tie it to the LOTR series, not because it actually happens; and most importantly, they totally missed the mark with Beorn. Beorn is one of the coolest characters ever written. He is not all somber and introspective like in the movie. Beorn is jolly and semi-magical, enormous in size and personality, friendly, and deadly. He is so complex and so wonderful. Jackson killed me with this, but I digress.

Like I said (and showed you with the examples above), the ways that Jackson strayed from the storyline are technically fine with me, because even I didn’t know what would happen at times, and because who cares, right?! SO WHAT if it isn’t exactly like the story?! I own four copies of the book so if I want to know what really happened, I’ll go read it. If I want to enjoy a film mostly based on the greatest story ever told, I need to be reasonable and understand that riding down the river, hanging half out of barrels, fighting orcs alongside attractive elves is way more appealing than 13 angry and seasick dwarves stuffed in barrels with apples. I get it. And anything that brings attention to this story is a-okay in my book!

 

Now, for my Day 6 book. A book that makes me laugh is Stephen Colbert’s I Am America, and So Can You. That book is fantastic. I got it on audiobook for one of those long drives home for a holiday, and that ride went by so much quicker than usual. He addresses so many current topics and issues, but with his usual sense of sarcasm. You have to enjoy his sense of humor to get it, obviously, but the fact that he narrated it himself made the audiobook so much more appealing to me. I recommend it to anyone and everyone for a jolly good laugh!

What about you? What book makes you laugh?

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Now THAT’S Lit-Love

The deed is done. I got a tattoo of Smaug. I know many of you think this is quite silly; and for anyone else, it certainly would be silly. However, my emotional connection to The Hobbit is likely quite dissimilar to your own.

This book changed my life. It was one of the first books I read as a child that showed me that books can be fun and exciting, not just informational obligations. It convinced me to stay up way too late trying to squeeze in one more chapter, followed by just one more. The big, illustrated version that my parents gave me was one of the forefathers in my now impressive book collection. I’m not talking about all the books my parents bought to read to Addie and me before bed. I’m talking about MY books. Those went on a whole different shelf, people. I even remember when my mom got a package deal for seeing three shows at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Mama chose to see A Christmas Carol, Addie picked The Rockettes, and I picked The Hobbit. That story transformed me to a whole other world with mythical creatures and adventures I simply couldn’t experience in the mean streets of Fort Gaines, GA. My life consisted of the usual stuff: school/homework/playing/sleep, repeat. I certainly never encountered hoards of spiders just begging for a sound thrashing, nor did I get the chance to outwit a huge dragon, so I let Bilbo do it and I just went along for the ride.

I went into this knowing I would have to explain myself a lot to people who didn’t know what the tattoo was, and then upon finding out, wondered why I’d want that permanently on my body. Like I said, to someone without my elaborate back story, it seems insignificant. However, I can assure you that your hibiscus flower with your ex’s name underneath it lacks significance for me, as well. So I encourage everyone to form an opinion of my tattoo, but if it isn’t nice, keep it to yourself. Who will it benefit to let anyone know that you think their permanent choice was ill-made? My mom always said it was rude to say something negative about the food someone is choosing to eat; the same goes for tattoos. The deed is done. The ink is permanent. Be nice.

Smaug

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Filed under Lindsay, Not A Book Review, Wednesdays with Lind-say!

Real Talk: Audiobooks Prevent “Going Postal”

Along with pretty much everyone else in the world, my job drives me bonkers. Just totally nutso. Sometimes, the people are psychopaths. Sometimes, the work is overwhelming. Sometimes, the average work day somehow lasts about a year. Some days are good; but some days are positively maddening. You know what I’ve come to rely on for those extra “if that phone rings one more time I’m smashing it through a window” kinda days? Audiobooks. One of my office mates gave me access to her Audible.com account and was generous enough to download The Hobbit for me. Let me tell you, this totally skyrocketed her to first place in my list of likable coworkers; but in addition to that, it gave me a productive way to distract myself from the many commotions in my office.

Every now and then, the big-wigs come to town and spend the day in the office and we are all asked to refrain from wearing headphones on those days. I have noticed a startling decrease in my concentration and, thereby, my productivity on these “no headphones,” “every man for himself” days. Since I started with The Hobbit, a book I had already read innumerable times, I was able to do my work while listening to a book I love yet don’t necessarily feel compelled to pay attention to it. To me, it’s the same as listening to music while working; it drowns out the conversations across the hall, the phone on my officemate’s desk, the hum of the printer, and other background noise and allows me to focus on the task at hand.

Kieran the sheep loves Audiobooks!

I share a medium-sized office space with three people. That makes 4 phones ringing constantly, a printer that rarely is inactive, high echo-y ceilings, and conference calls that seemingly MUST be on speakerphone. I love my office mates, luckily, so I’m not afraid to tell you that Bilbo Baggins may have very well saved their lives a couple of times. The Audiobooks keep me from hearing every impertinent peep, keep me from asking them to keep it down, keep me from breaking a piece of the printer just to get it to stop running for just a minute, keep me from “tripping” and falling right onto the mute button on my boss’s conference call, and keep me from “accidentally” dropping his cell phone (with the maddening cricket-chirping ringer sound) into his coffee cup.

Audiobooks save lives, people!

Anyone have any thoughts? I know a lot of people consider it difficult to listen to a book because they feel like it is even more distracting than background noise. All thoughts and comments are welcome and, as always, keep reading! Or listening…

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There and Back Again, and Again, and Again…

You know how we all have something, some passion, some “Soapbox” subject, about which we want to talk and explain to others why we… just gotta have it? But when we genuinely try to explain it, all words fall short of what we truly wish to express because the main argument in favor of it is the feeling it gives us? Well, I imagine this phenomenon is generally applied to fiery romances or the joys of parenthood or some such; however, since I cannot claim to currently desire either of those options, I instead attribute it to the books which have molded me into this totally rad person.

Don’t ask me to list my “Top 5;” that is impossible. Instead I’ll reveal them to you as I please, starting of course with The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Fact: this book is amazing. From the short, “Call me Ishmael”-esk first sentence, that “gotta have it” takes over. The story is a prelude to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series and tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins’s acquisition of the One Ring and his adventures across Middle Earth with 13 grumbling, albeit charming, dwarves and Gandalf the wizard.

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit to be appropriate for all ages so the storyline and imagery is all quite fantastical and child-friendly. This last point is where the movie comes into play. Since the Lord of the Rings movies came out first, a lot of people expected The Hobbit to be similar to those in the sinister undertones, semi-adult content (I mean, there is a lot of killing going on in those movies), and realistic characters. This is why I think a lot of people were disappointed by the movie. It was light and rather slapstick at times and the action scenes included far less sword-play and included more dialogue & running away. As for the realistic aspect, the LOTR movies were filmed 10 years ago; aside from Gollum & Treebeard, most of the characters were real people in unbelievable costumes. I, for one, favor this to CGI animation, but I won’t fault Peter Jackson for utilizing the technology that has since become available.

All in all, you should go see the movie, but only after reading the book! It is a wonderful adaptation of one of the greatest books ever and I highly recommend it. I hope you love the book half as much as I do and, hopefully, enjoy the trip there and back again, again and again and again.

The Hobbit

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