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A Tolkien Miscellany by J.R.R. Tolkien
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A Tolkien Miscellany (original 2002; edition 2002)

by J.R.R. Tolkien, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)

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371429,183 (3.92)6
Member:RebeccaAnn
Title:A Tolkien Miscellany
Authors:J.R.R. Tolkien
Other authors:Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Company (2002), Edition: Science Fiction Book Club, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Own, Fantasy, Fiction, To read
Rating:
Tags:Own, Fantasy, Fiction, To Read

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A Tolkien Miscellany by J. R. R. Tolkien (2002)

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Can't rate, as I read only 1/2. Loved the essay On Fairy-Stories" in [b:Tree and Leaf|1335611|Tree and Leaf|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1286567112s/1335611.jpg|2964258] in here, but even more loved 'Leaf by Niggle.' 'Smith of Wootton Major' didn't do anything for me. 'Farmer Giles of Ham' is funny but longer than I realized or felt necessary. Paged through the poems and translations a bit, but again, just not to my taste. *Love* the fanciful illustrations by [a:Pauline Baynes|25523|Pauline Baynes|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1339339682p2/25523.jpg].

Disclaimer - I haven't read LotR and this book did not motivate me to do so.

In the essay:
[about choosing books for children & not underestimating them] "Their books like their clothes should allow for growth, and their books at any rate should encourage it.""
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
The first 100 pages = 3 stars. The rest, one at most.

"Smith of Wooten Major" is a cute little story.

"Farmer Giles of Ham" is a good story, rather enjoyable and humorous.

Then the bad news: the books is longer than 100 pages. In fact, the rest of it shifts between unusual torture and the occasional smirk at something clever gleaned through the mire. Only occasional and that's generous.

"Tree and Leaf" is half essay and half story. Well, the essay is quite more than half and shows just what an educated and pretentious blowhard Tolkien really was. I'm sure he had some good points in there about fantasy stories, but all I cared about was getting out of it. Then the "Leaf by Niggle" story to wrap it up pretty much sucked. It wasn't long, so was forgivable. Just not as good as the first two stories. Something about doing good deeds for your annoying neighbors when you just want to paint a leaf.

"The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" was ok. A series of 16 poem/tales, it was at times interesting and at other times funny, but mostly it was poetry. Aside from the fact that I don't like poetry, I guess it was ok.

Then we have the 3 epic medieval translation poems, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", "Pearl", and "Sir Ofeo". By now I'm speed reading. Sir Gawain was mildly interesting. Some violence and some knights and a boar hunt and a seducing tart of a lord's wife. Cool stuff. Boring poetic prose.

"Pearl" sucked donkey balls. It shows us what happens when one particular dumbass loses a pearl, falls asleep by the river, and dreams about a nymph who tells him about God. You get, yes you guessed it, bored shitless. I actually found myself distracted by a piece of loose skin that needed trimming from my finger. Infinitely more interesting than the crap I was reading.

"Sir Ofeo" was wonderful. Well, no. It sucked too. But it was awesome because we weren't reading "Pearl"! Here we have Orpheus, who they couldn't call Orpheus. I guess the anonymous English medieval poets couldn't chance being sued by anonymous Greek myth makers. But Orpheus lost his wife yadda yadda blab blab oh look at the flowers. Who cares? His wife probably left him for being in a fucking poem!

After finishing this, I promptly removed several "to read" Tolkien books from my GR shelves. I downgraded The Tolkien Reader to match this rating. I had read it as a child and was apparently too young to know it sucked. That book didn't have "Smith of Wooten Major" but at least one didn't have to suffer through the epic poem tortures.

I even considered removing Tolkien from my "favorite authors" list. What has he done for me, really? One novel (though many call it three because the publishers are tricky that way) that's epic and a cornerstone to the majority of the fantasy books I read today? Another novel that's a really good (though childish) prelude to the masterpiece? And a historical (his history, that is) novel that reads like a bible for elves? Sure, why not. These are still good books. And they're important enough to the direction I took in my reading preferences.

But I have copies of all of these. I've been collecting Tolkien for years. No more! It's time to downsize. ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is a collection of Tolkien's short faerie stories that are a delight to read for yourself and a greater delight to read to a receptive youngster. My nephew always alls asleep when I read to him, which is handy. The miscellany contains Smith of Wootton Major (my favorite of the bunch), Farmer Giles of Ham, The Songs of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle and it's accompanying essay on the nature and allure of faerie stories, as well as his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is bundled with Sir Orfeo (a similar tale in some ways to the homecoming of Odysseus) and The Pearl. The last one is a sad poem about a man whose daughter dies and he laments the loss of his 'pearl'. I couldn't finish it but I'm sure I'll read it for completenesses sake at some point soon. I've learned the hard way that the better collection is Tales From The Perilous Realm, as it has all the children's stories plus Roverandom and it includes some great pencil art by Alan Lee. The Tales does not have Sir Gawain, but that seemed out of place with the rest of the stories in the Miscellany. Tolkien was clearly a master of language and these simple little tales really attest to that. Truly fun, put a smile on your face reads. The Sir Gawain stuff is very different and is more of a serious scholarly read. ( )
  DirtPriest | Sep 13, 2010 |
This is a neat little collection of Tolkien's bits and pieces. It is not entirely Middle Earth related and even includes some of his scholarly writings about English folk lore and it's connection to the modern world. Some pretty cool stuff. ( )
  danconsiglio | Apr 2, 2010 |
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Smith of Wootten Major:
There was a village once, not very long ago for those with long memories, nor very far away for those with long legs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0739427369, Hardcover)

Delightful compilation of Tolkien works, including "Smith of Wootton Major", "Farmer Giles of Ham", "Tree and Leaf", "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil", and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Delightful compilation of Tolkien works, including "Smith of Wootton Major", "Farmer Giles of Ham", "Tree and Leaf", "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil", and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight".

(summary from another edition)

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