LOTR Readalong – The Hobbit

I love the fantasy genre, have read Paolini, and am absolutely in love with Katsa and Po in Graceling.  I’ve read all the books in The Chronicles of Narnia, play World of Warcraft, and I rather enjoyed Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure.  So when I read about the Tolkein Readalong, I decided to Crash the Unexpected Party.

The Lord of the Rings ReadalongJanuary was the month of The Hobbit with A Striped Armchair.  I got a late start, so I’ve had to hurry a bit to catch up, but I’ve now finished the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It was a re-reread for me, “the third time pays for all”, as Bilbo says, and my last time on the journey There and Back Again was in early 2008, I believe.  It amazes me how this book was still able to keep me in suspense through goblins chasing them, Riddles in the Dark, the sticky troubles in Mirkwood, imprisonment in the wood-elves city, Bilbo’s battle of wits with Smaug the Dragon, and through the final scene of the book, The Battle of Five Armies.  I so love Tolkein, and I seem to forget how much until I read his work.  Next month will be The Fellowship of the Rings with The Literary Omnivore.

So Eva at A Striped Armchair gave us the following questions:

  • Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?
  • Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?
  • Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of the narrator’s voice?
  • Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?
  • Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?
  • Okay, so here we go :-)

    1.  Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?

    I have just finished the book about twenty minutes ago, after tackling it in about 3 days.  I was a bit burned out by the ARCs that I’ve read this month, and desperately need a fun escape in a comfort read and The Hobbit fit that to a T.  I really do hope to take the next books a bit slower, because it gave me a bit of a brain-ache this way.  As always, it lived up to my memories, and I’ve been running over to YouTube to watch the 1977 Cartoon version of it that I watched repeatedly at my parents naseaum as a kid.  What really surprised me was that, even though I know the story, know what all’s going to happen, and know the outcomes, it can still hold me in suspense.  I was biting my nails and flipping pages, even though I knew they were all going to make it through.  Of course, since it was a reread, it was familiar, and maybe it is the cartoon I watched for all those years that makes it a comfort read for me.

    2.  Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?

    I did have trouble in the beginning of the book getting started.  I kept falling asleep.  However, that may have more to do with the fact that I was in a nice, warm bed at 12 o’clock at night, with the audiobook playing as I read along.  There is a reason we read bedtime stories to kids to make them go to sleep, and I can tell you it works on 36-year-old moms just as well ;-)

    3.  Let’s talk about the songs…are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?

    Well, as I said, I read along with an audiobook, so I didn’t skip the songs this time, but I never skipped them anyway.  I figure Tolkein put them where he did for a reason and read them (sang them, out loud, even if it drew stares) where he plunked them.  It was a bit different hearing them from the audiobook reader, who also sang them, (but with breaks that I didn’t care for) in that his tunes for them was a bit different than the ones I had sung.  Honestly, it would have never occurred to me to skip them.

    4.  What do you think of the narrator’s voice?

    I have always loved the book’s narrator voice, and I’d have to say that I like the audiobook’s narrator’s voice, as well.  I hope he’s doing the next three, as well.

    5.  Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?

    Yes, my book had both the dwarf map of the Lonely Mountain and the moonrunes that Elrond discovered (lol, I can’t read runes, though, so what does that matter?), as well as a broader map that shows the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, and the Grey Mountains, as well as Smaug on the Lonely Mountain.  They’re labelled “Thror’s Map” and “Wilderland”, and I referenced them often, especially the one of Wilderland to get a good sense of the directions they took and how far they travelled.  Like Bilbo, I too LOVE maps!

    6.  Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?

    Ooh, favorites…  I knew this question was coming, so I tried to be prepared, but I just was too into the book to remember to pick them.  Let me see….

    Favorite main character:  Well, of course it’s probably Gandalf.  Do people answer anything else?  Why or how could you have any other favorite than the Wandering Wizard?  Well, maybe Bilbo…  since he is the one about whom the story was written.  Certainly, it can’t be the dwarves, they’re a bunch of pansies who push Bilbo out in front like a Hobbit-shield.  Money-grubbing, short, lazy.. grumble grumble.  I know too many people like them in real life to like them much in the book, especially the pompous, self-important Thorin (though, he does redeem himself in the end).

    Favorite minor character:  Ahh, now this one gives us a much broader choice.  My favorite minor character is, by far, Beorn.  I loved Beorn!  He treats his animals with care and love as if they were his own children, and watches over and guards his friends, too.  Beorn could be called “The Guardian of the Wood”, I think.  And I had forgotten about him until reaching his house after the Eagles had dropped them all at the Carrock.  Beorn has this sense that he could be dangerous (well, and his does transform into a bear, after all), but there’s a gentleness about him at the same time.

    Favorite scene:  My favorite scene had always previously been the barrel-escape scene.  However, this time around, my favorite scene is at the end, when Gandalf and Bilbo begin their journey home, parting company with the elvenking, and Beorn stays with them and protects them.  I don’t know why I’d never paid much attention to him before!

    As for my favorite quote…  There were so many great lines and passages in this book, obviously!  But here’s the one that struck me this time around:

    “The the prophecies of the old song have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” said Bilbo.

    “Of course!” said Gandalf.  “And why should not they prove true?  Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?  You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?  You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

    “Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

    -The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, page 330

     

     I found a deep sense of comfort in this passage this time around, and I’m not exactly sure why.  Perhaps it’s the idea that I myself am “quite a little fellow” (or whatever the term for a girl fellow is) in a wide world, and it’s a comfort to know that it all will turn out okay in the end.  Sometimes it feels like I’m battling the forces of darkness just to raise my kids to be honorable, integral, self-respecting, well-mannered, civilized, law-abiding, good citizens.  And though it would be nice to have a wizard helping me along the way, or a bear-man like Beorn to watch over them when they’re not under my own watchful gaze, it is a comfort to know that there is Someone who does keep them, and all of us, and, though we might not understand the hows and whys, there is a Plan that is being worked out for the good of all.

    This counts toward my 451 Challenge.

    Wait, How Did You Find Me?!

    Okay, I had so much fun doing the last search results post, That Brought You Here?!? That I wanted to do another.

    When I was scrolling down my stats page, one of the search terms caught my eye, and I wondered if enough time had passed to post another.  It’s been over a week so… YuP! :-D  Here goes.  The search terms are in bold, btw.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    bad effects of eating your boogers ~ Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea… yeah!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    spray cheese ~ on cracker… eat immediately.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    sex with sleeping doll ~ I believe this is illegal, and you knowChatty Cathy’s watching and’ll tell everyone…

    .

    .

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    william shakespeare (dr. faustus) ~ Dr. Faustus, meet William Shakespeare :-)

    compare anne frank to the book thief! ~ NO! I don’t wanna!

    I won't do it!  NOOOOO!      NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!      You can't make me!

    invention of “invisible shirt”~ Yeah, I’m selling them out of my invisible store, and they come with an invisible receipt. I guarantee all eyes will be on you when you wear the matching invisible pants. I’ll sell both to you and throw in a pair of invisible Nikes all for a visible $20 bill. :-D

    gary larsen plant comics~ Personally, I plant vegetables and herbs, maybe a few annuals, but hey… to each his own. I wonder if any of his comics have been famous? Tom Arnold must of been a bad year for the old winyard, eh?

    isabel ice custard ~ It’s the movie version of Custard the Dragon. When Isabel, Ink, Wink, Mustard and Custard are flying over the Andes on their way to a rugby match, the plane crashes and they are forced to do the unthinkable to survive. Custard kept crying for his nice safe cage, until Isabel couldn’t take it anymore and turned him into Dragon tartar.

    half-blood prince’s comments on love pot ~ He said, “Dude… DUDE… duuuuuude…. ya gotta try this pot…. one long drag and you like… totally love everyone. *puff.. puff… blow* DuuUuuuUuDe! I love you, man!”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Then there are a few Vampire ones:

    where can i read vampire kisses blood~ Anywhere you want, dawg, as long as you buy something every couple hours so the don’t think you’re loitering, home slice.

    cheap: vampire kisses: blood relatives ~ This would be the Redneck family reunion slash speed dating slash wedding version.

    read vampire kisses vol 2 free ~ Dude… it’s called the LIBRARY.  If that’s not free enough for you, I don’t know what to tell ya.  Get the audio book?  Except it’s a manga book.  Have someone read it for you, then transfer the memory into your brain…  It’d probably have horrible side-effects, and you’d probably grow a tail and develop a tic, but it’d be free.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And… of course… there are all of the BOOGER searches, some of which made me swallow my tongue…

    is it dangerous to eat your boogers?  Yes, that’s why you look left, then right, then left again before taking a nibble… oh, wait, that’s crossing the street.

    how to eat boogers ~ Now… mind you, I’m no expert on this, but it seems fairly straight forward…  freshly picked, breaded and deep-fried and served with marinara sauce, right?

    cure smelly boogers ~ Dude!  Stop sniffing your gym shoes!  Get some Odor-Eaters or something!

    im 18 and still eat boogers, and 20 years old and eats boogers why~ Seriously, an even better question is WHY did GOOGLE think I knew the answers?!

    throw poo ~ okay… here you go…

    I'm throwing POO at you!

    What are some of the weird search terms that have led people to your blog? Or what’s the oddest search you’ve ever done?

    Custard and Company by Ogden Nash

    Title:  Custard and Company

    Author:  Ogden Nash

    Illustrator:  Quentin Blake

    Hardback:  128 pages

    Publish Date:  1980

    Publisher:  Little, Brown & Company

    ISBN:  0316598348

    The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus

    In Baltimore there lived a boy.
    He wasn’t anybody’s joy.
    Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
    His character was full of flaws.
    In school he never led his classes,
    He hid old ladies’ reading glasses,
    His mouth was open when he chewed,
    And elbows to the table glued.
    He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
    And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
    He said he acted thus because
    There wasn’t any Santa Claus.
    Another trick that tickled Jabez
    Was crying ‘Boo’ at little babies.
    He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
    Sideways instead of up and down.

    Yet people pardoned every sin,
    And viewed his antics with a grin,
    Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
    ‘There isn’t any Santa Claus!’
    Deploring how he did behave,
    His parents swiftly sought their grave.
    They hurried through the portals pearly,
    And Jabez left the funeral early.

    Like whooping cough, from child to child,
    He sped to spread the rumor wild:
    ‘Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
    There isn’t any Santa Claus!’
    Slunk like a weasel of a marten
    Through nursery and kindergarten,
    Whispering low to every tot,
    ‘There isn’t any, no there’s not!’

    The children wept all Christmas eve
    And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
    No infant dared hang up his stocking
    For fear of Jabez’ ribald mocking.
    He sprawled on his untidy bed,
    Fresh malice dancing in his head,
    When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
    Jabez heard a distant jingling;
    He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
    Crisply alighting on the roof.

    What good to rise and bar the door?
    A shower of soot was on the floor.
    What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
    The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
    Then Jabez fell upon his knees
    With cries of ‘Don’t,’ and ‘Pretty Please.’
    He howled, ‘I don’t know where you read it,
    But anyhow, I never said it!’

    ‘Jabez’ replied the angry saint,
    ‘It isn’t I, it’s you that ain’t.
    Although there is a Santa Claus,
    There isn’t any Jabez Dawes!’

    Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
    ‘Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
    Your magic don’t scare me, it doesn’t’
    And suddenly he found he wasn’t!

    From grimy feet to grimy locks,
    Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
    An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
    Forever sticking out his tongue.
    The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
    They searched for him, but not with zeal.

    No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
    Which led to thunderous applause,
    And people drank a loving cup
    And went and hung their stockings up.

    All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
    Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
    The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
    Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

    -Custard and Company by Ogden Nash, pages 50-54

    Ogden Nash, a popular American poet, was known for his droll humor and unconventional rhymes.  Most of us have heard his poetry, through we may not know him as the author, as he’s often used in everyday conversations.  A great example of this is Nash’s quick verse, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” from his book Reflections on Ice-Breaking.

    Custard and Company by Ogden Nash is a collection of Nash’s poems and include “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” and “Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight,” two of Nash’s most beloved works.  The book is also illustrated by Quentin Blake, who is best known for his collaboration with writer Roald Dahl.

    Most of the poems in this book have a quality that appeals to children, both young and old, many of them mythical characters and animals as their focus.  A few of the poems have children as the main characters, such as Jabez Dawes in the one quoted above, Belinda in the Custard poems and Isabel, an adventurous young girl who never screams or scurries, instead standing in the face of danger and winning.

    Isabel met an enormous bear,
    Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
    The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
    The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
    The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
    How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
    Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
    Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,
    She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
    Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

    -from “The Adventures of Isabel,” Custard and Company by Ogden Nash, page 88

    Something surprising I found with many of these poems is that they are often clunky and terrible when read silently to yourself, but become playfully fun when read out loud, and even more so when read out loud to a child.  I read a number of these to my oldest daughter, Sammi, age 16, who is a big Shel Silverstein fan.  She was actually the one who picked up the similarity of the illustrations to those in Roald Dahl’s books.  She will be very excited to find out she was right ;-)

    Wonderfully fun and a book for the whole family, Custard and Company by Ogden Nash is a treasure of American Literary history.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    ********************************************************************

    The video I’ve selected to accompany Custard and Company is a bit longer than usual. It is a 10 minute, mini-movie of “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” and makes use of HALO characters. It’s quite funny, but is a little slow to get started. It started out as a school project, for which I hope the creator received an A+ :-D Enjoy!

    TSS – Mummies, Mishka, and More!

    The Sunday Salon.com

    Wow! What a week! It’s Sunday already and I don’t know where the week went! I only read one adult book and on children’s book, but I’m okay with that. I gave away $50 in Borders gift cards, announced a giveaway for a signed copy of Mishka: An Adoption Tale, I helped capture a dangerous sociopath, and more.

    This week was the last week for Maggie’s summer school classes. One of her classes was a drama class which held their performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Sammi and I went on Wednesday, and were the only family audience that day, then I took my little actress out for a fish sandwich at Burger King afterwards. Then I went to sign Gwen, my 14-year-old, and Mags up for school. Meg’s happy because she’s got a sweet teacher and all her friends (and none of her enemies) are in her class this year. Sammi’s in 10th grade this year, and high school registration is on Tuesday.

    I thought I was excited and ready for them to go back to school… until I went clothes and supplies shopping. YIKES! Three outfits a piece totalled $270. Supplies, backpack, unmentionables for growing girls, and a Hannah Montana outfit I promised to get Mags two weeks ago added up to another $260 at Wal-mart.  We might have to cut back to one meal a day, but at least they’ll look great when they go back to school ;-)

    Thursday was the last day of the giveaway contest. So Friday I ran the numbers through Research Randomizer and posted the winners: M, The True Confessions of a Book Lover Named M, won the $20 Borders gift card and a bonus gift, then Jessica and Dawn, She Is Too Fond of Books…, won the $10 cards, and Suey, It’s All About Books, and Judy Brittle won the $5 cards. I still haven’t heard from Jessica or Judy Brittle and if they don’t email me their address by 3 pm today, then I will draw two new names for their $10 and $5 cards.

    Friday night, while y’all were fighting in line for Breaking Dawn, I haven’t read any off them and have a copy of BD on hold, we went to the movie theater to see the new Mummy movie.

    It was an incredible movie. It has something for everyone (except small children I suppose), mummies, dragons, Yetis (is that the right word for more than one Yeti? or is it like the word “fish”), new love, reclaimed love, animal love (yeah, but is strictly platonic), action, battle, immortals and Shangri La. The kids came home and immediately put the first Mummy movie in the DVD player, and they’ve been flipping back and forth between one and two. I want to see this one again!

    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THIS WEEK, blogwise that is. Seriously, I can’t say this enough, Mishka: An Adoption Tale is an exceptionally good book. Not only is the book a really wonderful and heartwarming book, but for each book that’s sold, and any other DRT Press book, 5% of the profit is donated to charities that help orphaned children in the EE and Russia. How can you go wrong with that? You get a great book to keep, AND the knowledge you are helping a child, who has no one, eat or get a new pair of shoes. It’s win-win!
    Don’t forget to check out my Interview with Adrienne Ehlert Bashista and be sure to enter to win a signed copy of Mishka!

    OH, and by the way… tell me what you think of my new look!  I’ve added a “Quote of the Day” to my sidebar, as well as rearranging the widgets (thanks readerville for the text box trick!)

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 494 other followers