Since finishing my PhD (did I mention that I'd... oh, I have?) I have treated myself to some READING. I do like a good old READ but for the past several years most of it has been EITHER academical works OR Other Research for the OTHER big project I've been doing for the past few years - a project what I hope to be able to REVEAL properly in a few months.
Anyway, that's all been a bit like homework, so since finishing up I have been going through and READING some of the books that I've added to my KINDLE over the years but never had time to read. This included "The Wheels Of Chance" which I got ages ago in the middle of my HG WELLS MANIA but never actually got round to reading - I'm glad i did, as it was Quite Jolly. To be honest it did feel like a tiny bit of a cash-in on "Three Men In A Boat", but I liked that also so didn't really mind.
The BIG book which has been sat on my Kindle for a while, however, was "The Silmarillion". I think I got it after I watched all the Hobbit films a couple of Christmases ago, and ever since it's been sat there LOOKING at me, DARING me to read it. I've never really had the time until recently, but once I'd handed in my OWN mighty tome (with it's own huge wodge of appendices) I thought I'd give JRR Tolkien's a go.
CRUMBS! To my utter amazement, I really really enjoyed it! It was a bit of a slog to start with, getting used to the Quasi-Biblical way everything is written, the huge list of NAMES all the time (which CHANGE too), and the first few chapters being all about a bunch of annoying GODS swanning around, but once you get into it it's surprisingly relaxing. I started to let the lists of names and places just wash over me after a while, and it turned into a very pleasant stroll through various woods, towns and dread domains, occasionally pausing for a BIG FITE. And I tell you what, JRR Tolkien doesn't half write an exciting FITE. I remember reading "The Hobbit" for the first time and being dead excited during the (SPOILERS) massive battle at the end when all the different armies pile on, and there are LOADS of these in "The Silmarillion". It's also quite good fun when places from THE FILMS get mentioned, and you get to feel Very Slightly More Clever for remembering them.
Best of all, it's one of those HUGE books where the last quarter of it is appendices and indexes that you don't actually need to read (I am not likely to start narrating an audiobook of it so don't really see the point in reading page after page of pronunciation guidance for a totally made up language) so when you get to 50% of the way through you know you're actually much further.
I finished it the other night and FLUSHED with success I thought "Right! Now I'm going to finally read the Lord Of The Rings Appendices too, and then - SOD IT - go back to the start of The Hobbit and do THE LOT!" I then DID read one of the appendices (the one about what a nice time the members of The Fellowship have with their lives when it's all over), and next morning rose with a clearer vision i.e. "No I won't be doing that just yet thanks. Maybe next time I go on holiday."
It was dead good thoigh and, after spending 6 years in the enormous complicated storyworld of the Marvel Universe it was quite fun to dip into the enormous complicated storyworld of Middle Earth. Something a bit lighter next though - I'm thinking MIDDLEMARCH!
posted 11/4/2022 by MJ Hibbett
after my PhD I subscribed to The Economist and New Scientist for a year in an attempt to relearn the world. A year later, I was tired of their tones, and realised I'd learned little.
Twelve year old me did not enjoy the Silmarillion. posted 11/4/2022 by PF