My review of March and April’s books has been unfortunately delayed due to a gallavanting around the southern counties, which I must apologise for. As a consolation, I was carrying a copy of Philip Pullman’s The Tin Princess on my travels to keep up my comfortable lead on the 50 books challenge. You see, by reading one book per week and thus four books per month, I would succeed. Given it is May now and I’m on my 22nd book, I’m pretty pleased with how this is progressing!
In March I looked back at my list and realised that the vast majority of it was taken up by male authors. I then decided, henceforth, to read more books by female authors. This resolution drew me towards a collection of wonderful writers I hadn’t read before: famous, not so famous, exciting fiction, history and autobiography. All in all, a most enjoyable two months’ worth of reading.
I hate to begin a post with a negative comment, but here it is: my attempt at the ’50 book challenge’ last year ended in tears. Tears as in the liquid kind, dear reader; after all, could you imagine a devotee such as me, defacing a book? Moving on swiftly… before I admit to the hundreds of condemned flyleaves torn out, date sheet still attached, or the inside covers stamped and scribbled upon for the purpose of book sale, or that one occasion I lost my temper with a so-called Christian book* which had ‘homosexuality’ marked as the opposite to ‘marriage’ in a neat little chart… I love and respect all books. Honestly.
However, after bravely beginning the year with Hans Christian Andersen (and realising I’d bitten off more than I could chew), I came to realise that not every book I may lay eyes upon will readily see me through until its last page. It is not with pride that I abandon a badly-chosen book, either for the nature or the SHEER AMOUNT of its content. Therefore in this year’s attempt I promise to avoid such books which threaten the average Bible girthwise.
For a Library.
My soul is like a book;
woken in the morning by the Jolly Postman
and nurtured in the loving arms of Enid,
amid the snows of Narnia.
Looking out into cold reality it saw
hope and endless possibility;
because it found Charlie’s golden ticket and
saw the green world through the eyes of Mole
on that first Spring morning.
Like Bilbo it rushed out without a clean hanky
and made windows with Stig out of jam-jars,
but always came home for tea at Mister Tom’s
because it had a place to belong.
Today I thought I’d share another of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings in an audio recording.
The two excerpts I’ve chosen are from the first of the three volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring, and concern the great council held at the elven fortress of Rivendell on the 25th October in the 3018th year of the Third Age of Middle-earth; more commonly known as the Council of Elrond. Though there were many other topics discussed at this meeting of elves, dwarves and men, by far the most pertinent of these was the fate of the One Ring, which had been brought to Rivendell by the hobbit Frodo Baggins.
In the first of the excerpts, Boromir of Gondor tells the council of the prophetic dream which had led him on the long journey into the north to attend the council of which he knew not the purpose.
The second excerpt comes a little later on, when the ranger Strider reveals himself to be Aragorn, the heir of Isildur. The steward’s son Boromir is dubious of his claim. The ranger’s old friend Bilbo Baggins then steps forward in annoyance to recite a poem which is one of Tolkien’s most beloved and well-known pieces of verse.
The following is a recording of myself reading from one of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings.
The Departure of Boromir is, in my opinion, the saddest part of the whole trilogy. Those who haven’t read the books will perhaps not be entirely familiar with this beautiful and melancholic passage, which can be found in the first chapter of The Two Towers.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come across Boromir, lying among the woods upon Amon Hen. The son of the steward has fallen to the hands of the cruel Uruk-hai in a valiant effort to protect his charges, the hobbits Merry and Pippin; the great horn he carried split in two. In their grief, the three place the fallen Boromir into a boat with his shield and horn and the swords of his enemies at his feet. Then follows Tolkien’s most elegaic poetry; the song of the three winds, which Aragorn and Legolas sing as they send their companion out on his final journey.
As I’ve taken up the challenge to read 50 books (or more!) in 2011, I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts about the books I’ve finished reading every month.
If you work out the challenge, the goal is to read a book a week, give or take two weeks; thus I’m pretty pleased with myself to have finished six books so far with two still on the go. I haven’t yet finished the monster book of stories by Hans Christian Andersen yet with which I began the year (should I count it as more than one book?). However, I’m really enjoying the challenge so far.
Following on from the positivity of my last post, I’ve taken on two new challenges for this year; firstly, I’m going to give the Post a Day 2011 WordPress challenge a try, and secondly, I’m going to take up a challenge I found on a friend’s blog.
The idea is to read at least 50 books in one year. Given my hermit-come-packrat tendencies when it comes to books, I’m up for that! (It may even solve this ‘book waiting list’ problem I have so I can go out and buy more books! YAY!)