Re: What are you reading?
I read that a year ago (in the original English) and, while the story is good and the universe interesting, something about Tolkien's style has made it an excruciating read for me (I kept thinking: "I'd rather just watch the movie again."). Is it more palatable to Britons?
Short answer: Nope, it's still a tough read.
My first exposure to Lord of the Rings was New Years Eve 2001. It used to be a bit of a tradition for me and my dad to go see a film on NYE and the adverts for Fellowship seemed cool. My dad had no idea what LOTR was and thought I was taking him to 'some Jesus film' - it's got the word Lord in the title, go figure.
Anyway, whilst we were out - my mum had dug out her old copy of the book. She read it way back when and thought I'd enjoy it. The book was tattered, the pages were yellowed and just turning the page had the potential to make a tear. This was the cover.
My mum warned me in advance it would be a hard read, but I jumped right in. She was right, it was a hard read - but not because of the language. The sheer fragility of this particular copy made it tough. Each page turn had to be slow and delicate. I needed a new copy.
I eventually got my own and made it all the way up to 'The Council of Elrond' chapter. Then, I just stopped. I can't remember exactly why, but I remember the book became less fun to read and more daunting. I'd pick the book up many times through the later years, but I'd never get very far. I've read the first few chapters in The Shire so many times, that it's almost comfort reading.
[meta]I didn't want to leave The Shire. The roads beyond were ominous and beyond my comfort zone.[/meta]
Fast forward to the tail end of last year. I'd just finished Siddhartha, which was a relatively short read. Now that I had the need to actually always be reading something, I was wondering what I should tackle next. I saw LOTR staring at me from the bookcase and decided 'Fuck it, I don't care how long it takes - or how tough it will be. I'm gonna finish it!'
And yeah, it was a bit of a slog at times. But honestly, I'd made it seem much more tedious in my head. I particularly recall dreading coming up to 'The Council of Elrond' chapter, but it came and went without any issue - in fact, I really enjoyed it this time round!
I think reading it on a Kindle really helped in a few different ways. The main benefit was the built-in dictionary feature, which will also search Wikipedia. As you can imagine, this was brilliant for quickly getting up to speed with who this character that has a very similar name to another character. If it wasn't for this, I'm sure my brain would have merged so many characters together. Another big benefit to the Kindle is the 'Time Remaining' feature. Seeing that you've only got 12 minutes left during a bit of a plodding section makes it so much easier to just persevere.
Anyway, yeah... I kinda rambled a bit here. It was a big thing for me to finally get round to finishing LOTR. It was tough at times, but despite all that I ended up falling in love with Middle-earth all over again. I'm not itching to jump in to The Silmarillion any time soon, but there were points during LOTR where I was tempted to dive right in.
Solid reads sir. Especially a fan of the last two. I recommend Diamond Age also by Stephenson, if not immediately after Snow Crash then sometime within the next year or so.
Recommendation noted. I probably wont get round to it right after Snow Crash, but I'll definitely add it to my list. I was actually thinking of dipping my toes in to Narnia after this.