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Lord of the Rings 'book club'


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Initial post: Feb 6, 2012 5:17:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 5:38:11 AM PST
A group of us have decided to (re-)read LotR together this month, and we thought it would be both fun and educational to start a discussion group. Anyone who would like to join and either re-read LotR or start it for the first time is very welcome to participate.

A couple of ground rules:

* we are not Orcs. Please be civil.
* there may be folks participating who have not previously read LotR, so no spoilers, if at all possible
* it's not necessary to have read the Hobbit in order to read LotR, so don't let that stop you

You don't have to be reading on your Kindle. If you have LotR in DTB form and don't want to purchase the Kindle version, you're still welcome! If you are interested in purchasing the Kindle version, the best value is the 1-volume editions (The Lord of the Rings which works out to be about $7.33 per book. Individual books in the trilogy are priced at $11 each.

My game plan here - though who knows if it'll work out that way - is that we read a few chapters a day & discuss the story, ask questions, talk about underlying themes, etc. I know a lot of people will probably read ahead, and you're welcome to do so, but remember the 'no spoilers' rule during the discussions! I'm hoping, especially as we finish up the book, that we'll be able to have wide-ranging discussions about the *themes* of the story, not just the story itself, since that's where so much of the richness of Tolkien's work lies.

So... charge up that Kindle or dust off the DTB book and join me in willing suspension of disbelief.

ETA: Abbreviations:
LotR = Lord of the Rings
FR = Fellowship of the Ring
TT = Two Towers
RK = Return of the King
S = Silmarillion
H = Hobbit
HME = History of Middle-earth

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 5:32:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 5:33:12 AM PST
I have the DTBs somewhere, but I have no idea where and there is no way I could hold those bricks anyway... If all 2054 who have reviewed the three-in-one edition I just bought (The Lord of the Rings) joins the discussion this should be a lively group. I'm in!
ETA: who invited downvote fairies to this discussion? LOTR has _elves_, not fairies!

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 5:36:30 AM PST
You're right... but LotR does have trolls and orcs. Let's just ignore them. The sun's up (at least where I am), so the trolls won't be out, and the orcs will tire quickly!

More to the point, I have that version, and while I've heard there were a few formatting issues, they're nothing major, and certainly won't detract from the story. Strangely enough, they seem to be mostly in TT.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 5:38:32 AM PST
Stillwood says:
I re-read The Hobbit before Christmas and started re-readiing Lord of the Ring in early January. I will enjoy reading along with the group. Thanks for starting this.

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 5:49:12 AM PST
Tolkien was a scholar of icelandic languages. some of the themes in LOTR go back to the poem Beowulf. Beowulf: An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem Beowulf: An Introduction to the Study of the Poem with a Discussion of the Stories of Offa and Finn

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 5:52:08 AM PST
@SingleEye: What a great idea! I think it would be nice if you also posted this in the fantasy forum because I think you would probably find some more people who would be interested?
http://www.amazon.com/forum/fantasy/ref=cm_cd_topf_t?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxRHP2KEWXI0H1

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 5:54:00 AM PST
WHOlooigan says:
I found you and so I'm ready to go on my brick of a book but, if my thumbs can't hold out I may spring for the Kindle version. Can't wait to get started.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:09:16 AM PST
Denise says:
Hi, SEP -- love that first ground rule about not being orcs! :D

I can't wait to be swept away in Middle Earth again and will do what I can to help make this discussion thread fun and a success for all. I'd like to add my special welcome to those who might be reading this for the first time. I can't begin to remember how that changes one's perceptions, though I must say -- no matter how many times I read it the story telling itself never gets old.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:17:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 6:21:10 AM PST
Hi, G! One of our readers also participates in the Fantasy thread, and has already volunteered to let them know. If you hang out in the Fantasy thread as well, you can give them another 'nudge' over here.

Thank you for joining.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:19:12 AM PST
Denise says:
Oh, and are you going to set out a reading pace any more specifically? So that we know it's ok to post any comments for what people can be expected to have read? I will be cautious to post favorite lines or thoughts until I see how this goes...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:20:13 AM PST
Will do. I think it is nice that you are starting a book club that involves the fantasy genre. The Mystery Forum has been pretty successful with their book of the month club.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:20:38 AM PST
Another primary source for Tolkien was the Kalevala - the compilation of Finnish fireside tales and origin myths. When I got my Kindle, I was able to pick it up in translation free (Kalevala : the Epic Poem of Finland Complete. Formatting is OK, but it is a hard read. If you slog through, you suddenly start to 'feel' resonances with LotR. Nothing you can put your finger on, but if you're familiar with LotR, you'll sense the derivation.

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 6:20:54 AM PST
melly says:
Yay, I'm in :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:23:10 AM PST
Yeah, I was. I was going to count up chapters & divide them by the remaining days in Feb to give an idea of how much to read to keep up. I didn't have time last night & am at work today. I'll do it tonight, unless someone wants to do it for me (hint, hint!).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:23:55 AM PST
Hi, Mel! Wave your hands and announce that this is your first time with Tolkien. Everyone will be so proud of you! :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:29:20 AM PST
And the Edda, and Lord Dunsany, but I thought the Beowulf connection was the most approachable.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:30:13 AM PST
(((Melissa))). Brave girl1 It's a lot of reading.

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 6:43:39 AM PST
WHOlooigan says:
This is exciting - especially seeing so many "old" friends and now a chance to make new ones. Hi G, Stillwood and Northern Lights (and anybody I might not have caught).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 6:44:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 6:46:25 AM PST
I blush to admit that I have never read Beowulf.

I *have* read many other things, though! ;-)

On a somewhat related note, these two were free a couple weeks ago, and tie into the same 'Beowulf' and 'founding of Britain' themes. I picked them up, but haven't cracked the spines yet:

Hrothgar (still free!)
Hengest (Lost Sagas) ($2.99)

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 6:56:07 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 10, 2012 6:25:04 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:02:25 AM PST
Denise says:
Well, I know there are 63 chapters because I counted them up sometime in the last two days. But my head is full of "cotton, hay and rags" (as per Henry Higgins' characterization) today so someone else can do the math and perhaps lay out the names of the chapters to do...

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 7:05:01 AM PST
KindlePad says:
I am game! I like the idea of a schedule for the first book at least?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:24:24 AM PST
OK, there are 24 more days in Feb (counting today). If we read 3 chapters a day, we should have a few days left over to catch up, and/or we can devote a little more time to the longer or more information-heavy chapters, like 'Shadow of the Past' or 'Council of Elrond'.

Today's 'reading assignment' can be to start the FR, read the introduction and preface if you're so inclined, and complete chapter 2, 'Shadow of the Past'.

Tomorrow, we'll discuss those 2 chapters and move on to read chapters 3, 4, and 5 - all of which are fairly straightforward and easy reading. We'll discuss those on Wednesday.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:26:21 AM PST
Denise says:
SCHEDULE:

Can we at least assume, then, that by tomorrow (7 Feb) it is safe to comment upon anything in chapters 1 & 2 of Fellowship of the Ring? Those are the ones entitled: 1. A Long-Expected Party, and 2. The Shadow of the Past.

This takes us up to the point of Gandalf telling Frodo (and his companion) that it's time to head out. So we get the fun of the party and a bit of set up for the adventures to come.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 7:28:18 AM PST
Denise says:
Ha! You came back early and beat me to it.

For those just tackling LotR for the first time, I would suggest that the preface (while useful background info) isn't entirely necessary. Feel free to jump right into the story at chapter 1. That way you won't have the chance to decide before even starting that it's not for you. The background is just that, and Tolkien will fill in with snippets as you need to know anything.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  57
Total posts:  949
Initial post:  Feb 6, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 17, 2013

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