Thursday's Things: It's All About the Hobbits

“Thursday’s Things” is a roundup of book related links I’ve come across while wandering down the rabbit hole that is the internet.
Every September, Tolkien fans return to the Shire.  Even though September is also the start of #RIPXII, I am no exception.  So, this month will be a strange mix of Middle Earth and Gothic content.  However, this “Thursday’s Things” is all about the Hobbits!

Tolkien Reading Day!

How did I not know about #TolkienReadingDay?!  In addition to celebrating the Gondorian New Year and the downfall of Sauron, March 25th is set aside each year to honor the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Tolkien Society started the wonderful Tolkien Reading Day in 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favorite passages and attending events.  Unfortunately, it looks like the majority of the events take place across the pond.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve never heard of Tolkien Reading Day before Middle Earth News posted about it a couple days ago.
Tolkien Reading Day is organized around a particular theme each year. This year’s theme is “Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction.”  Since I love anything to do with Hobbits, I’ll be reading (and singing) my favorite Hobbit songs and poems:

  • “The Road Goes Ever On” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 1 (“A Long-expected Party”) and Chapter 3 (“Three is Company”).  I’ll also be reading the longer version from The Hobbit, Chapter 19 (“The Last Stage”).
  • “Upon the Hearth the Fire Is Red” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 3 (“Three is Company”).
  • “A Drinking Song” from  The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 4 (“A Short Cut to Mushrooms”).
  • “The Bath Song” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 5 (“A Conspiracy Unmasked”).
  • “Farewell Song of Merry and Pippin” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 5 (“A Conspiracy Unmasked”).
  • “Song in the Woods” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 6 (“The Old Forest”).
  • “The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 9 (“At the Sign of the Prancing Pony”).
  • “All that is Gold Does Not Glitter” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 10 (“Strider”).
  • “Sam’s Rhyme of the Troll” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 12 (“Flight to the Ford”).
  • “I Sit Beside the Fire” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 3 (“The Ring Goes South”).
  • “Frodo’s Lament for Gandalf” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 7 (“The Mirror of Galadriel”).
  • “Oliphaunt” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 2, The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 3 (“The Black Gate is Closed”).
  • “In Western Lands” from The Lord of the Rings vol. 3, The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 1 (“The Tower of Cirith Ungol”).

Will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day?  What will you be reading?

#FanspeakTheRing 2016 Read-Along

Hobbit Adventure

Fanspeak Files is hosting a year long read-along of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, starting tomorrow!  I don’t even know how many times I’ve read The Hobbit, but I’ve only read The Lord of the Rings once in my life, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen.

Hobbit Lord of the Rings

The timing couldn’t be better, either.  Why?  I own all the audiobooks but have yet to listen to any of them.  Also, since I started working full-time, I get more time to listen to audiobooks on my drive to and from work every day than I get to read most nights after work and on the weekends.  That is especially true now that the Boyfriend and I are packing up the apartment to move the first week of April.  I can listen to my all-time favorite book while I pack!

Here’s the schedule:

  • March 20th to June 19th – The Hobbit
  • June 20th to September 21st – The Fellowship of the Ring
  • September 22nd to December 20th – The Two Towers
  • December 21st to March 19th, 2017 – The Return of the King

Will you be joining #FanspeakTheRing?

The Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence

Party Button Door

There’s a party going on over at The Edge of the Precipice, and it’s all Tolkien, all the time!  How could I not participate?!  Below are the questions that everyone at the party has been asked to answer.

1.  What draws you to Tolkien’s stories?  For me, it’s all about the hobbits.
2.  What was the first Middle Earth book you read or movie you saw?  What did you think of it?  My 1st Middle Earth book was a picture book based on the cartoon adaptation of The Hobbit.  I was ten or eleven, came across it in the public library, and remembered that when I was five or so, I had seen the cartoon and loved it.  Coincidentally, that was my first Middle Earth movie, but no one had told me it was a book!  I immediately went to the card catalogue (yeah, I know, I’m OLD) and looked up The Hobbit.
3.  Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them.  Bilbo Baggins because if he hadn’t decided to go on an adventure and subsequently forget his handkerchief I wouldn’t have been able to read about it, Gandalf because he arrives precisely when he means to, and Samwise Gamgee because without him, Frodo would have never gotten the ring to Mordor.
4.  Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention? In the movies, yes, but not in the books.
5.  What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most? I relate the most to Bilbo Baggins.  Like him, I went on an adventure that required me to leave just about everything I took comfort in, and then I quietly “retired” back into my quiet world of books, tea, and cardigans.  I do have the occasional crazy party, figuratively speaking, but, for the most part, I still feel world-weary from my time in the Army.
6.  If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him? I would ask him if he would please write another hobbit story or book of short stories about the hobbits.
7.  Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don’t? The Hobbit Shop can just take my money.  Also, this hardcover edition of The Hobbit and everything listed here and here.
8.  What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of? I wouldn’t want to be a part of any of them!
9.  Would you rather eat a meal at Rivendell or Bag End?  Bag End, of course!  Tea is at four 🙂
10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies. I did a whole post about my favorite quotes from The Hobbit.

#Readathon Mini-Challenge: A Hobbit Themed Party

Dewey's Readathon_Pocketwatch_BellezzaYes, I’ve already written about the Hobbit today for another Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon mini-challenge, but I just couldn’t stop my brain from coming up with all sorts of Hobbit-themed party ideas when I read Christina’s mini-challenge over at Christina Writes.

My Hobbit party would consist of the following:

  • Food and Drink:
  1. Waybread Blueberry Tarts (as found in the Unofficial Hobbit Handbook by The Shire Collective)
  2. Tea
  3. Scones
  4. Various Breads
  5. Jam
  6. Meat and Fruit Pies
  7. Various Cheeses
  8. Ale
  9. Wine
  10. Smaug the Golden Cocktail
  • Activities:
  1. Hobbit Trivia Game
  2. Viewing of all three Hobbit films
  3. Middle Earth Cosplay Contest
  • Party Favors:
  1. Hobbit bookmarks
  2. Handkerchiefs
  3. Large “hairy” plastic or rubber spiders for stabbing
  4. Books of riddles
  5. Pocket sized Middle Earth maps
  6. Small Treasure Boxes for storing the items listed above

#Readathon Mini-Challenge: Classic Words of Wisdom

Dewey's Readathon_Pocketwatch_Bellezza


Allie over at A Literary Odyssey has challenged all of us participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon to share our favorite words of wisdom from Classic literature.  Being a lover of the Classics, as well as a member of the Classics Club, I’ve got plenty of them, but one of my all time favorite quotes comes from my all time favorite book, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

This bit of wisdom can be applied to just about everything as I’ve made my way through the past decade of my life.  When I decided to not re-enlist in the Army, I had no idea what I wanted to do instead, besides finish college.  I didn’t even know what I wanted my major to be; I just knew I didn’t want it to be what it was at the time.  I stumbled across a former passion of mine, and, after some research, chose International Relations as my major, but I didn’t have a clue what university I wanted to attend.  I stumbled again, and found Texas State, even though I had never intended on staying in Texas after I go out of the military.  It has ended up being the best university for me, and I’ve discovered new friends, and new interests, and have had a lot of great experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  I also discovered that, even though I’m still interested in Humanitarian aid work specifically, and International Relations in general, what truly makes me happy is doing anything book related.  Books have always been my true love, but it wasn’t until I started reading some book blogs and then stumbled across the 24 in 48 Read-a-thon that got me started on my own blog, that I found out there are so many more book related jobs than I ever imagined.  I’m now on a crazy meandering path towards a fulfilling career, and that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for all the finding of things I hadn’t been looking for.

Thursday’s Quotables #9: The Hobbit

Hobbit Adventure

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”

Brenda @ Daily Mayo wrote about songs inspired by The Hobbit, “The Battle of the Five Armies” will be in theaters in a couple weeks, and one of my current reads, The Hobbit and Philosophy, happens to be one of my 10 fave book covers this year.  All of this has inspired me to dedicate this Thursday’s Quotables to my all time favorite book.

The Hobbit

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

My all time favorite first line.  You just know something fantastic and magical is contained in this book after reading that one sentence.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

These two quotes are a strange comfort to me because sometimes they’re very fitting to my life.  I’m sure the first one is relatable to everyone, especially avid readers.  Every time I walk into a bookstore with my long list of books I’d like to get, I almost always leave with something else entirely.  The second quote is for all those scary new beginnings when I’ve stepped far outside my comfort zone to try something new and I have no idea if I’m going to be successful or flail around like an idiot and fall flat on my face.  It’s also for those times when I face the great unknown.  I experienced both of those feelings when I left my steady paycheck and what had been my life for 8 years, moved to a new town and became a full-time college student at the age of 32.

“I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen… I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number… I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me… I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider…”

This quote is important to me because it took me many years to understand it’s ok to speak of my accomplishments, even the ones that seem insignificant, because those are the ones that usually are all but small.  Tooting my own horn from time to time isn’t the same as being a braggart, and if I don’t do it, the chances are no one else will do it for me.

There are so many more.  The entire book is full of them, but I’ll end with this one:

“May the hair on [your] toes never fall out!”

What I’m Reading Monday #2

Currently Reading: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, my book club’s pick for September, and The Hobbit and Philosophy to give my brain something more intelligent and satisfying.  I would’ve added A Discovery of Witches to my DNF list, but by time it started going from really good to horrible, I was already far past the first 50 pages.  So, I’ll finish it, and then gleefully tear it to shreds in my review.


Hobbit Philosophy

Total pages read for the week: 398

Total number of books for the year: 40.  I will hopefully finish both of my current reads by the end of the month so that I’ll only have 8 books left to reach my goal for the year.  I really wish I could say “by the end of the week”, but this is the time of year when my reading usually slows down a bit.