Summer reading programs at all my local libraries are in full swing this first week of June. Nearly all the libraries have great programs, activities and prizes for both kids and adults and this year’s theme is “Build a Better World” (see links below for libraries shown here).
Kansas City Area Summer Reading Programs
A dear friend of mine sent me off on a wonderful Tolkien tangent last week when she replied to my Podcast Pickup post and directed me to the Prancing Pony Podcast. I quickly scanned the last half dozen posted episodes and settled on #038, also entitled “I Will Choose Free Will” – which immediately gave me a Rush earworm. Not one to be daunted by a nearly two hour podcast (we are dealing with ‘epic’ fantasy here), I gave a listen to the ongoing discussion of The Silmarillion, specifically Chapter 21 and Túrin Turambar. I pulled out my ebook edition and quickly skimmed Chapter 21 to remind myself of the story. I really enjoyed the insights and the banter of the hosts. It took me several days to completely listen to the episode, but by the end I was hooked and a plan began to form in my mind.
I have read The Silmarillion at least three times, possibly four. My first attempt occurred in high school, followed by a reread during college. I probably pulled it out for a third reread in the 90s, but with two young kids, I doubt I succeeded a complete journey. The most recent rereading took a different tack wherein I switched to an audiobook edition, the one read by Martin Shaw. I adore English voice actors so I had no trouble listening to the entire book twice, in 2010 and again in early 2013.
Having been impressed with the podcast above, my plan now is to begin at the beginning, to rewind back to episode #001, “In Defense of Fantasy” originally released in February 2016. I’ve requested the recommended reading from my local library (the biography by Carpenter and Tree and Leaf by Tolkien). I already own the ebook editions of Tolkien’s letters.
I am not going to rush this journey. The road goes ever on, as any Tolkien fan knows. I will indulge myself as the fancy takes me, betwixt and between my other reading and listening projects. I will consider this an ongoing and long running blog posting series and please remember that “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Posted in Books, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Musings
Tagged books, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, mythology, podcasts, Tolkien
My uncle recently read and reviewed the late Robert Pirsig’s seminal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’ve added this book to my ever growing list of philosophy-related to-be-read pile. For more of Ron’s insightful review, please proceed to his blog via the link below:
Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig Five Stars “We are all of us very arrogant and conceited about running down other people’s ghosts but just as ignorant and barbaric and superstitious about our own.” I wish I read this book forty years ago. Instead […]
via Book Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (Five Stars) — As a Matter of Fancy
Similar to my previous post, I’ll be updating this one as I get a chance to watch the finalist in both of these categories. Long Form is going to be my most difficult ranking of any of the Hugo finalists. I currently have a three-way tie in my mind between Arrival, Rogue One and Stranger Things. And I have yet to actually watch Hidden Figures!
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
1733 ballots cast for 206 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 240 to 1030.
- Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films) – Watched opening weekend and purchased the movie; loved it
- Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment) – Watched via Dish Network free weekend for one of the premium movie channels; liked it
- Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company) – Watched via Starz streaming app through my subscription; liked it
- Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment) – Watched 5/17/2017; loved it
- Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures) – Watched opening weekend and again after I purchased the movie; loved it
- Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre) – Watched via Netflix streaming; loved it
For the next two months (plus a week or so), I’ll be reading the following, except where indicated (as in I’ve already read the item or have no plan to do so). I will keep updating this post as I finish reading these finalists.
2078 ballots cast for 652 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 156 to 480.
- All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books) – Read 01/15/2017; liked it
- A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US) – Read 10/29/2016; loved it
- Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus) – Probably won’t be able to read this one because I haven’t read the second one in the series.
- Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books) – Read 5/19/2017; liked it
- The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books) – Read 11/23/2016; liked it
- Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books) – Might not have time to read this one but it’s in the Current Month queue
1410 ballots cast for 187 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 167 to 511.
- The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing) – Read 03/29/2017, liked it
- The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing) – Read 06/04/2017, liked it
- Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing) – Read 12/3/2016; liked it
- Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency) – in Current Month queue
- A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing) – in Current Month queue
- This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador) – Read 5/23/2017; completely unsure of whether I liked it or not