Though this might not trouble some of you, I believe I’m letting down my own Tolkien self and feel the need to share.
Whilst the author’s works are too extensive to be read within the relatively brief amount of time I’ve been an ardent reader of Tolkien (15 years give or take), there are some books — written by or about him — that I feel disappointed at not having yet tackled them.
This post might be just one big excuse, but here we go …
Beowulf: A Translation & Commentary
In a not-so-shocking revelation, my copy of Beowulf: A Translation & Commentary has been resting on my shelf for a couple of years now. Every time my eyes settle on its lovely green cover and lavish dragon illustration, I feel a pang of guilt and shame at not yet having read this.
Beowulf as a poem is a work of literature close to my heart. My anticipations at this book’s release were high and I actually had made it past the first 50 pages or so … once. One day I just stopped for some reason and never picked it up again.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish one or two (or three) books I’m currently reading to attempt this a second time. Fingers crossed…
The History of Middle-earth (All 12 Volumes)
The excitement of getting through this mammoth task is intense, but I’m overwhelmed by the length and presumed difficulty of the writing.
I did in fact begin reading The Book of Lost Tales: Volume I and actually manage to complete most of it. Though Tolkien’s original tales are written in an extremely archaic style, I fell in love with certain passages. Christopher’s commentary was extremely helpful but, again, I abandoned the rest of the reading for some obscure reason.
I’m determined that if I am to read the entire series, it must be chronologically, and that I shall do some time soon.
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays
Yet another one of those books that I’ve restarted reading three or four times but always stop after the second or third essay. It’s nothing to do with whether the content is engaging or not.
It seems that every time I pick up this book, I arrive at a point when I soon forget I’m reading it and turn to something else. When I try to return to the page I had last read, the argument before me is too complex to understand without having to re-read the whole thing again to make sense of it.
Yet, I have hope that one day I’ll get through this one …
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Alas! Yes. I admit I’m one of those.
Although well-thumbed due to research purposes on numerous occasions, where I would analyse the index pages for specific references and guide myself to particular letters, I have yet to sit down and read the entire book.
There’s treasure in here that I feel I must discover.
The Story of Kullervo
I’m not well-versed in the Kalevala, the Finnish epic, and the fact that this is yet another unfinished work is not very encouraging. I’ve been told it is not an easy read, but I shall have to discover that for myself.
Are there any Tolkien books you have not yet read, are planning to read, or just can’t get round to finishing them? Let us know below! 🙂
Till next time…