Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Slightly Less New Arrivals

So, it's been two weeks since I picked up two more HOBBIT-related items, but having failed to mention them at the time (M. Oct. 29th), now seemed like a good time.

The first is yet another HOBBIT-themed book with a religious/philosophical/life-advice bent. This time, it's called THE WISDOM OF THE SHIRE: A SHORT GUIDE TO A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE, by Noble Smith. But right away a few things make it stand out. First off, it has a brief Foreword by Peter S. Beagle, who admits to having been "Tolkiened out" in recent years but says he's been stirred to re-reading THE HOBBIT and LotR again by reading Smith's little book. As with so many other of the new HOBBIT-themed books coming out, I've not yet read this one, but in this case I think I'll definitely be doing so at some point: Smith has a relaxed, easy-going tone that's appealing, and contrasts with the earnestness or snarkiness of some other recent efforts. And have to say I'm drawn by chapter titles like "Your Own Personal Gollum" and "Sleep Like a Hobbit". The book ends with "The Hobbit Test", where you get points for things like "You've named one of your pets after a Tolkien character"* (80 points) or "You know what J. R. R. stands for" (100 points), and finally with "Directions for Creating a Small Hobbit Garden" (he recommends "Try Purple or Red Dragon [carrot] varieties in honor of Smaug").

The second is THE HOBBIT TAROT, but I wound up writing so much about this that I'm going to separate it off into its own post.

--John R.

*hi, Feanor!

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