Friday Poetry: Tolkien

Happy Friday Everyone!

Apologies in the delay of the Friday Poetry post, yesterday I just did not feel like blogging and today assignments got the better of me.

Today I have gone for a poem by my all time favourite author J. R. R. Tolkien. This poem features in his book The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I used to read this trilogy every year but have not read it for at least 6 or 7 years, I think it might be time to reread an old favourite.

 

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost.

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

J. R. R. Tolkien

 

Happy Reading.

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Mid Week Quote: J. R. R. Tolkien

Happy Wednesday everyone!

We are half way through the week! Sadly I have barely read a page so far, work and tiredness have taken their toll on the reading front.

The quote I have chosen today is by one of my all time favourite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien. He wrote the book I have read the most The Lord of the Rings. 

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

 

Happy reading!

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Happy Birthday!

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On this day in 1892 John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born and what a gift to the world of fantasy his birth was to us all.

I have read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy so many times I have lost count, in fact at one point, I read it every year without fail. It is my favourite trilogy and I doubt that will ever change. I also collect different editions of the trilogy from the very expensive to the cheap paperback, I have a dream of owning a signed first editon but that is definitely a dream as I will never be wealthy enough. In fact I collect anything Tolkien!

I also love the Peter Jackson films of The Lord of the Rings but sadly I did not appreciate what he did with The Hobbit. 

Thank you Tolkien for giving us the gift of Middle Earth and all your other wonderful worlds.

“One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

 

Lady Book Dragon.

Review 22: Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien, illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien

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About the author and illustrator

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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein. He moved to England when he was three years old and was home schooled with his younger brother and taught by his mother. Tolkien served in the First World War and after the war he established a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world. He is best known as the creator of Middle Earth and the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was awarded a CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died on 2nd September 1973 at the age of 81.

Blurb

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful colour drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole.

  • How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place.
  • How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of father Christmas’s house into the dining-room.
  • How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made age Man in it fall into the back garden.
  • How there were wars with the troublesome horse of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories.

Review

I got this book off my best friend for my birthday as she knows I love all things Tolkien and she knew I had not got this book. I am so pleased I saved this book for Christmas as it really put me in a Festive mood and made me smile from ear to ear.

The first letter in the book is sent in 1920 to John, Tolkien’s oldest child and we meet Father Christmas, the letter is only short but there is a beautiful drawing of Father Christmas that could easily be made into a Christmas card. There is then a gap and the next letter is in 1923, then basically from then on there is a letter until 1943 when Tolkien’s children are all too old for Father Christmas.

The first letters are sent to just John and then Michael and Christopher are added and finally Priscilla, although as each child reaches a certain age and they stop writing to Father Christmas they are dropped off the letters. Although good old Father Christmas always asks after the older children and pets in the house, so they are not forgotten.

Some letters are very short if Father Christmas is busy that year and some are very long, especially if Father Christmas has a tale to tell the children. Father Christmas has a helper called Polar Bear who is in fact a Polar Bear, a very special bear who does not age and is very strong but also rather clumsy and causes poor Father Christmas a great deal of extra work. Eventually Father Christmas also gets some Elves to help him get everything ready for Christmas.

The effort Tolkien put into the letters is amazing, the handwriting is unique to Father Christmas and is shaky like a very old man is writing and the illustrations are stunning. I loved reading all the letters and I can imagine how Tolkien’s children must have been so excited when the letters arrived each year. It really is like magic, Tolkien made sure his children believed in the wonder of magic and fairytales, the things all children should believe in and let their imaginations run wild.

This edition of the book is beautiful, it has all the pictures of the original letters so we can see all the handwriting Tolkien created and opposite is a typed up version so the reader can read the text with ease. Then there are also all the illustrations in colour with the letters. The fact that the book is also printed on excellent quality shiny paper is perfect for showing off Tolkien’s work.

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I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the magic and beauty it had but it did not get the full 5 stars because it made me sad at the end when the children were too old for letters off Father Christmas. In my opinion you are never too old for Father Christmas and believing in the magic.

Lady Book Dragon.

Christmas Reading List

Happy Advent! Today is the first day of Advent and so the Christmas reading has begun.

And here it is! My Christmas reading list.

I am very excited and I can not wait for tomorrow. I will see how my reading goes as I might add to the list as December goes on. The Christmas reading list runs from 1st December to 6th January when the Christmas decorations come down.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

I chose this one because I read a short story by Venronica Henry recently and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would try one of her Christmas books.

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Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

My best friend bought me this book for my birthday present and I have been saving it for my Christmas read. I am really excited about this as I absolutely adore Tolkien.

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Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent (based on the characters created by Enid Blyton)

These books are my guilty pleasure, I think I have read them all apart from this one, as again I have been saving it for Christmas.

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Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Not really a Christmas book I know but I could not resist. This book is so beautiful and special I just thought it was ideal for Christmas reading. Also the new Mary Poppins film Mary Poppins Returns is out soon and one of my saxophone students plays one of the children in the film, so I thought I had better read the book.

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Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo

I am a bit of a Morpurgo fan and when I saw this book I had to have it. I do love children’s books they always make me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I found this book by complete accident as I was looking online for another book called Coming Home and this came up in the search. Hopefully it will be a lucky find.

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Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr

This was chosen quite simply because I have very fond memories of reading Mog stories to my neice and nephews. I have missed Mog so much I decided to buy this as a little treat to myself.

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The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

Here is the big finale! As I have mentioned in a previous post I always read a new version of The Nutchracker on the run up to Christmas and here is my new copy. Another pretty book, I do love pretty books.

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I would love to hear if anybody else has a Christmas reading list. Please feel free to post a link to your blog in the comments.

Happy Advent and Happy Reading.

Lady Book Dragon

 

Christmas Planning

It has begun! My Christmas reading list has started to be developed and planned. On the 1st December I start to read Christmas related books, to get me into the festive spirit.

I have one main tradition that I started a few years ago and that is to read The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann but a different copy each year. I have ordered a new copy and I’m impatiently waiting for it to arrive. I am hoping it will be as pretty as it looks on the website.

I have also ordered some Christmas related books which I will post on here as soon as they arrive. I will also be taking a trip to Waterstones at some point for Christmas present shopping and I am sure I will buy some extra Christmas books then.

Here is the beginning of my Christmas list so far:-

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent.

Does anybody else have a Christmas reading tradition? I would love to hear your traditions or Christmas books you plan on reading. Please drop me a comment.

Lady Book Dragon

Review 3. The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook by Alan Lee

The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook by Alan Lee

About the Author

Alan Lee was born in 1947 in Middlesex, England, he is an acclaimed book illustrator and conceptual designer and set decorator for films. His most famous works are the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings and diamond edition of The Hobbit. He studied graphic design and the depiction of Celtic and Norse myths. He has illustrated many books and won many awards for his work. He was also the Conceptual Designer and Set decorator on Percy Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

Blurb

In The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook Alan Lee reveals in pictures and in words how he created the beautiful watercolour paintings for the special centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings. These images would prove so powerful and evocative that they would eventually define the look of Percy Jackson’s movie trilogy and would earn him a coveted Academy Award.

The book is filled with over 150 of his sketches and early conceptual pieces to show how the project progressed from idea to finished art. It also contains a selection of colour paintings reproduced in full page glory, together with numerous examples of previously unseen conceptual art produced for the films and many new works drawn specially for this book.

The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook provides a fascinating insight into the imagination of the man who painted Tolkien’s vision, firstly onto the page and then in three dimensions on the cinema screen. It will also be of interest to many of the 100,000 people who have bought the illustrated The Lord of the Rings as well as for budding artists interested in unlocking the secrets of book illustration.

Review

I was very lucky to receive this book for my birthday this year, as it has been on my wish list for some time. I must admit I had forgotten this book was on my wish list, so it was a great surprise to receive it. I remember my mom buying me the centenary illustrated edition of The Lord of Rings and it is one of my favourite books, so actually to be able to read how Alan Lee came up with his amazing art work has been rather exciting.

Firstly, I must admit I did not read the book, I just sat there looking at each page and the beautiful art work appearing on each page, remembering where the sketches fit in with the narrative. I was pleased I took the time to enjoy the art work first, as I know I am quite often guilty of getting too absorbed in the words and missing out on the beauty of the art. 

Once I had seen all the artwork I then went back to the beginning and started to read. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the book, sometimes with these types of books I easily lose focus and find it hard to finish the book. However, this book I could not put down. I loved how Lee described the history he has with the story and how parts of his childhood influenced his imagination for some of the scenes. Lee describes how when he read The Lord of the Rings he was constantly imagining what the scene looked like and thinking what was Tolkien wanting the scenes to look like and what images were influencing his descriptions in the book and Lee wanting to be as true to that as he could. 

Seeing the little sketches and ideas that Lee worked through in the book gives you a glimpse into what it must be like inside Lee’s head. I can not imagine that he ever stops creating either in his head or doodling on paper, that is what comes across most in the book. He is always thinking and working. 

The picture below shows the sketch of one of my favourite watercolour images in the centenary edition, Eowyn with Aragorn. I love this image so much and to see the sketch is wonderful, it is fascinating to see a rough version of one of my all time favourite images. 

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The following picture is also one of my favourites – Tom Bombadil’s house. I loved the chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring with Tom and I was really upset it was not in the film, so I was really pleased to see it included in the sketchbook and to read about how Lee created it.

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The details in the book about how the film sets were created are fascinating and just magical. It really brought it home to me just how many people were involved in the making of one of my all time favourite film series. I also loved how Lee is happily telling the reader about his frustrations, the art work he wasn’t so happy with and particularly when he had to pull all nighters. 

The thing I loved the most about this book was that Lee did not focus it all on the film and included so much about the centenary edition, the book I love so much. Lee is such a talented artist and it was wonderful to be briefly part of his world.

I truly loved this book and even though I have finished it, I still pick it up and dip in to look again at the stunning artwork. 

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase from

Waterstones

Amazon

Book Depository

Lady Book Dragon