Thursday, March 11, 2021

Tolkienish books

The books I've been ordering through ILL are beginning to roll into the libraries. These are the general-reader books that I've found online have Tolkien references, but I need to check the actual books to see if the references are substantive.

Not surprisingly, most of them just want to spend a few pages introducing their readers to basic info on Tolkien to place him in some larger context, so there's no need to put them in the bibliography. For instance, here's one based on the premise that F. Scott Fitzgerald had Gatsby claim that he'd spent a few months post-WW1 studying in Oxford on some military exchange program. What might he have seen there? Well, among other things, he might have met Tolkien. But he probably wouldn't have.

More unusual, but also not bibliography-worthy, is a book with a pretentious woo-woo title but which turns out to be mostly a collection of innocuous instructions for making elf-related craft projects: banners, or cookies. The chatty and informal author, who actually seems pretty well informed about Germanic mythological folklore, brings up Tolkien a lot because she says she fixated in childhood on the Rankin-Bass Hobbit ("In my humble opinion, Peter Jackson has nothing on" it) and then on the book. Unsurprisingly for someone for whom The Hobbit is their favorite Tolkien book, she's less enthused about some of the others: "Tolkien observed that there are not many stories that hold elves as the main subject, and that those that do are 'not very interesting.' He would prove himself correct when he wrote The Silmarillion!" Oh, burn.

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