Today's post is inspired by m'wife - and not inspired by Tolkien. More specifically, it might be, but I wouldn't know. Why? Well ... I haven't read Lord of the Rings.
|Beautiful, beautiful art, and a rare example of an author designing their own cover.|
Wednesday's Inspiring Book? A book that made me a writer which I haven't read? Well, yes. Let me explain ...
There are books we haven't read. This is a universal truth. For some, the list is big. For others, small. Some avoid classics. Some avoid contemporary works. Some avoid whole genres (I can't get into sci-fi, for all its genius). Some individual books are just a slog. War and Peace, perhaps? Bronte's Villette gets me every time. I've never got more than halfway. Murakami's The Windup Bird Chronicle sits half-finished on my shelf, and has for two years. Even Tolkien fans must admit that The Silmarillion is a challenge.
I love Old English. I elected to study it at university, which put me in a vast minority, and Tolkien's essays on that language, and on Middle English poetry, are some of my most prized possessions. I can still hold my own in any discussion on Anglo-Saxon poetry, its meter, its allusion and influence, etc. Dream of the Rood? I can recognize the Ruthwell Cross from across the room, and recite the lines of the runic inscription by heart.
In fact, I did that, just last month. Many geek points with the wife there, I think.
But Lord of the Rings? I don't know. I'm not opposed, at all. I'm sure I'll love it when I get round to reading it. Love the movies. Love Tolkien. Love fantasy and children's books and adults book. I just ... haven't read it yet.
Does it seem like a big oversight? It's a strange confession to make, as an author.
But we all have books we haven't read, and that's OK. Know why? 'Cause it means you can read them in the future.
So I will, in time, correct this oversight. And I'll power through Villette. Ulysses? One day. War and Peace? Anna Karenina? Stranger things happen at sea.
Tolkien inspired so many of the writers and readers who inspire me today. His influence on the entire sphere of fantasy and children's writing might be unmatched. He matters to my wife - the single most important person in the world to me - and so he's influenced and inspired me there, too. I will read him. And then I'll let you know what I think. For now, though ...
What's on your long-term to-read list? And have you read LotR?