A Toast to the Professor | Celebrating with Favorite LOTR Moments

Today is Tolkien’s 126th Birthday! Every year on January 3rd, we fans raise a toast! (According to The Tolkien Society, it’s at 9:00 p.m. your local time.) Here’s the official way from their website :):

All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.

Current office decor

So tonight I’ll raise a glass, but thought it would be fun to share a few favorite quotes from the book and scenes from the LOTR movies!

1. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” The Fellowship of the Ring

2. “Courage is found in unlikely places…be of good hope!” (Gildor to Frodo in The Fellowship of The Ring)

3. “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

4. Samwise being Samwise

5. “Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer (The Two Towers)

6. “But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

7. Éowyn being awesome:

8. “He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.” I love this because it shows the romantic Tolkien was (Return of the King)

9. “For Frodo.” Gets me every time.

I couldn’t resist, I had to sneak one in from The Hobbit:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (Thorin to Bilbo as he was dying)

What are some of your favorite scenes?

Fun Finds

Fun Finds for Everyday #2

Oh hey December! Well, there’s no snow in my area this month (although it was a warm 10 degrees this week), but in a funny twist, family and friends in both Louisiana and Texas have gotten all the snow. I guess they’re just trying to be like The Springs :). Anyway, I hope this Christmas season has started off beautifully for you and that you are encouraged by the hope we celebrate a little bit extra this month!

And if you need some gift ideas, these might help!

1. Awesome Tolkien Shirt. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Thanks to the internet, I’m the absolute easiest person to shop for. Get me something of Tolkien or Lewis and I’m set. Like this shirt for example or the coffee mug. Seriously. I’ll be the happiest person.

2. See above.

3. Jute Clutch. With Christmas parties and NYE parties coming up, it’s always nice to have a pretty clutch option. I love mine! It’s in gold, but was a hit at the NYE party I went to last year!

4. Sunburst Ring. I love rings! When I find one I love, I’m wearing it all the time. I love the simplicity of this design and the silver. Plus sunbursts make me smile.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?


The Friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (Plus It’s International Inklings Day!!)

(If you’re new, welcome to Inklings Week 2016! I don’t want you to miss any of the posts this week, so be sure to check them out here!) 

I miss you Oxford!

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.” Cicero

Today is officially International Inklings Day!!!! On this day 90 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were gathered for English tea with Oxford English faculty at Merton College and met for the first time. This would begin a 40 year friendship and this friendship would inspire generations to come and also help to produce some of literature’s greatest masterpieces.

Yet, truth be told, it wasn’t friendship at first sight. After that first meeting, Lewis commented (I believe jokingly!) about Tolkien: “No harm in him: only needs a smack or so.” He thought him rather opinionated, but this was more due to the fact that at the time Lewis was an atheist and Tolkien was a strong Roman Catholic. As Diana Pavlac Glyer explained in Bandersnatch (which really is an excellent book and you should all read it!)

“It got worse. As Lewis and Tolkien got to know each other, it became clear that they had a number of serious disagreements. They had different interests and personalities. They came from different religious traditions. And they had different academic specialties. Lewis was an expert in literature and philosophy; Tolkien was a philologist, an expert in languages. He loved Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon. Lewis said that meeting Tolkien triggered two of his childhood prejudices. He explains, “At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a [Catholic], and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both.

Soon after the faculty disagreed on required courses for English students and Lewis and Tolkien found themselves on opposite sides of the debate. So Tolkien decided that in order to win people over to his curriculum, he would gather the faculty together to bring about love for mythology and ancient languages. This turned out to be a genius move. Once again, I’ll quote Bandersnatch:

Lewis and Tolkien discovered they had significant common ground. They gravitated towards each other because they shared an interest in what they called “northernness,” the vast skies, icy landscapes, and heroic tempers of the ancient Vikings. As they talked together, Lewis was slowly won over to Tolkien’s view of the English curriculum. And as they worked side by side, they forged a solid friendship. E. L. Edmonds, a student at Oxford, remembers, “It was very obvious that [Lewis and Tolkien] were great friends—indeed, they were like two young bear cubs sometimes, just happily quipping with one another.”

Tolkien would go on to play a significant role in Lewis’ conversion to Christianity (especially on the night of September 19, 1931, where, along with Hugo Dyson, the three men spent hours discussing life and faith and Lewis later said this was his final push for Christianity) and Lewis would be Tolkien’s biggest supporter and encourager in finishing Lord of the Rings and other works. Their friendship was a staple in each other’s lives and, while, in later years the friendship did change, it never lost it’s meaning.

In Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship by Colin Duriez, we see that “with C.S. Lewis’ death, it was a “wound [Tolkien] knew he would not lose, as one loses a falling lead.” Even years after Lewis’ death Tolkien wrote about Lewis: “The unpayable debt that I owe to him was not ‘influence’ as it is ordinarily understood, but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. Only from him [did I] ever get the idea that my ‘stuff’ could be more than a private hobby.”

I’ll leave with a few fun facts because I’m all about fun facts.

  • Lewis’ character, Elwin Random, in Out of the Silent Planet, resembles Tolkien quite a bit. Elwin means “elf-friend” and the character is a Cambridge philologist who has a love for languages.
  • The Professor in Narnia was also inspired by Tolkien.
  • Treebeard was inspired by C.S. Lewis.
  • They each have rad names: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and Clive Staples Lewis
  • They both lost their moms at a young age
  • Tolkien’s dad died when he was a toddler and Lewis’ Dad withdrew and sent Lewis to a boarding school after his mother’s death.
  • They both fought in WWI.
  • In 1961, Lewis nominated Tolkien for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature (which he totally should have won)
  • Both Humphrey Carpenter (Tolkien’s official biographer) and Edith Tolkien (when she told scholar Clyde S. Kilby) stated that C.S. Lewis actually wrote Tolkien’s obituary, which was published the day after his death (9/2/73) in The Times.

“My happiest hours are spent with three or four old friends and old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs – or else sitting up till the small hours in someone’s college rooms talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics over beer tea and pipes.”

I hope y’all enjoyed this brief look at Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship! Who has greatly encouraged and inspired you in your life?


The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

Here’s the thing about reading The Return of the King….EMOTIONS. I had to keep it together with many parts, but do y’all blame me? Between Sam, Gandalf, Aragorn and all of my Middle Earth people, I felt so much of their anguish, sorrow, pain and then joy and happiness.

I’m really going to try and keep this post short, but how is one to pick just a few highlights? This is a near impossible task. For the sake of the Inklings, I will try!

Let’s kick it off with some highlights. I love that Tolkien was such the romantic. Like Faramir and Éowyn’s story? I mean stop.

“He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.”

One of the reasons I love reading Tolkien’s work, is his ability to completely draw you into the characters and feeling what they were feeling. When the Mouth of Sauron showed garments of Sam to Aragorn, Gandalf and crew, I felt their utter despair. That’s how Tolkien writes. He completely engages you and your emotions. Same with Frodo and Sam’s walk through Mordor. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And I needed a cup of water. I love how he shows, through his characters, you don’t know how much you have into until you’re put to the test.

I thought a lot about Tolkien’s war experiences while reading this one. I’m not sure why specifically in this book, but he was able to show what evil looks like. Sauron is creepy and evil enough, but He didn’t stop there – between Shelob and the Nazgûl, that’s the stuff of nightmares.

“For yet another weapon, swifter than hunger, the Lord of the Dark Tower had: dread and despair.

The Nazgûl came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror. Ever they circle above the City, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, at each new cry. At length even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war; but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death.”

Also the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr – “His name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it…”

Then there’s some many incredible characters (both good and bad):

  • As we all know, Denethor is not only a jerk, but creepy and Tolkien describes him perfectly as an “old patient spider.” It’s so fitting and I wish the movie would have shown why he was how he was at the end – because of one of the Seven Seeing Stones. As Gandalf explained: “The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless, often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind.”
  • Théoden charging into battle? Dang son!

Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

  • Èowyn – she is such a strong character and the movie didn’t nearly do enough justice to her character.
  • Where do I even start with Gandalf?
  • Finally I have to talk about Samwise again. He always put Frodo above himself. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Sam and Frodo’s friendship reminds me of David and Jonathan. LOVE HIM.
    “In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped him most to hold firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere chat to betray him.”

Okay, now onto the changes. There were some I can understand, like the story behind going to the oath breakers. That would have added at least an hour. But others? Mmmhmm..

  • The Dú love
  • Again, Faramir deserved more respect: “He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he (Pippin) would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings.”
  • Pippin and Merry. I forgot how different they were in the book. They weren’t just goofy, they were far braver before the final battle. I love Pippin’s thoughts when waiting for battle:
    “No, my heart will not yet despair. Gandalf fell and has yet returned and is with us. We may stand, if only on one leg, or at least be left still upon our knees.”
  • I liked how Aragorn met Èomer from the ship. Bonds of brotherhood! “And last of all Aragorn greeted Éomer of Rohan, and they embraced, and Aragorn said: ‘Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren.”
  • Where was the love for Beregond – another example of such loyalty (and saving Faramir)?
    “But think, you servants of the Lord, blind in your obedience, that but for the treason of Beregond Faramir, Captain of the White Tower, would now also be burned.” Gandalf
  • Oh and Aragorn and his epic healing powers? Dónde está?

I’ll stop now.

Sorry friends! I tried to keep it short!! So let’s end with some discussion questions – feel free to chat about any, all or add your own thoughts!

1. What did you think of “The Scouring of the Shire?”
I liked it. I thought it showed how much the Hobbits had grown and that even the Shire wasn’t safe from Sauron’s evil.

2. What’s something you wished the movie didn’t change?

3. Who are some of your favorite character(s) in this book?

4. What about some favorite quotes?
Obviously many, but I’ll add one more! I love the appreciation Hobbits have of food. I understand them. “Pippin looked ruefully at the small loaf and (he thought) very inadequate pat of butter which was set out for him, beside a cup of thin milk.”

Thanks for joining in!!

“Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn.”


My (Current) Top 6 Books Written by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Welcome to the final post of Inklings Week! You can find all the posts here. Thank you for joining in – it’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to next year (which will actually be by International Inklings Day, May 11th)! Think there’s something that should be added for next year? Please share!

Whenever I create any type of “favorites” list, I don’t include books written by Tolkien or Lewis. It wouldn’t be fair to the competition. But since it’s Inklings Week, I wanted to share my current favorites of the boys.

If you’re new to either Tolkien or Lewis, then this post is especially for you, but only because I get the honor of introducing you to some of the best books ever written. It’s a list of my favorites and ones I recommend to folks who are interested reading one of their books for the first time. (If I’ve read it for this blog, then it’s linked up, so you can hear me gush and discuss on those posts.)

Let’s start with Professor Tolkien. How can one adequately put into words just how amazing the creation of Middle Earth is? Before this turns into a gush fest, here’s my current top 3.

  • The Hobbit
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King (Stop by next Wed. for this discussion!)

C.S. Lewis is a bit more difficult. From Narnia to Mere Christianity, how’s a girl to choose? Well, I’m going with the following three. Ask me next month and the list will probably change, but no matter, because these are all excellent ones to start with.

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • The Great Divorce

I’m glad we can all agree that they were geniuses and I look forward to reading more from them!

What are some of your favorite works by Tolkien and/or Lewis?


Welcome to Inklings Week (and Why I Love Their Books)!

Ready for a bit of summer fun?! It’s the first ever Inklings Week! I thought of doing a Inklings Week earlier this year around International Inklings Day (it’s not a thing yet, but it shall be!) in May, but the idea popped in my head two days before. All kinds of planning time right? I also didn’t want to wait until 2016, so I figured July was the perfect month! (For all the posts from this year, just go here!)

First, things first – a (hopefully) fun announcement. You’ve already heard this if you subscribe to my quarterly newsletter (which you should totally sign up if you haven’t! It’s all kinds of bookish fun and there’s giveaways. You can here), but if not…there’s an Inklings podcast coming! I’m working on the details (like how I even get this up on iTunes) and material (I’m hoping it won’t be just me talking!) and I’m really excited about it. So if you’re into podcasts, I hope you’ll join in the fun!

There’s plenty of reasons people love the works of Tolkien and Lewis and I’d love to hear why you do! For me? Where to begin right? Their books have shown me what it means to be brave, what it means to be a true and loyal friend until the very end, what it means to love, what it means to fight for good against all odds, and what it means to embrace what you were meant to do.

Their books have also helped me realize it’s okay to wrestle with faith, to understand God’s character in ways I didn’t see before, how to hope in the most dire of circumstances and that there’s always a chance to turn back.

They wrote more than just books. They left a legacy (of their lives and their stories) that will continue to impact generations to come.

I love knowing I can always come back to them and be amazed. Sigh…I just love them.

So please, fellow fans, share below! Why do you enjoy reading Tolkien and Lewis?


The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

This is my 1965 edition of The Two Towers. Sadly, I don’t remember who gave it to me or where I got it, but I love having an older edition!

Tolkien never fails to entertain. I love his writing, I love his creativity and this book was yet another reminder of his brilliance. Did anyone else keep noticing the differences in the books from the movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the movies and watch them all the time, but I have questions Peter Jackson! I’d forgotten so much from the books and some of the changes I don’t get the reasoning. Like the fact the sword was remade long before in the book. I love that it was too. Just read this quote when Aragorn and crew first encounter the Rohirrim:

“Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. ‘Elendil!’ he cried. ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!’

Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature while Èomer had shrunk; and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed in the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.”

Y’all – dang.

Or even how much it meant for Èomer to let the three travel freely in Rohan. Or that scouts never threw Aragorn over the cliff on the way to Helm’s Deep. Or the key character-revealing fact that Faramir never forced Frodo and crew to go to Minas Tirith. How about Pippin “tricking” Treebeard and the Ents to see Isengard since they had decided not to join the fight in the movie? Oh and Frodo snapping at Sam on Stairs of Cirith Ungol? Didn’t happen. Plus them going through Shelob’s Lair together further showed their bond of friendship. I promise I still like the movies, but since it’s been over 10 years since I’ve read the books, I found the changes rather surprising (and often unnecessary). Maybe that’s just me though!

I need to take a few moments to talk about the Ents. I liked Treebeard so much more in the book (not that I disliked the movie version), but there were just some things that couldn’t be portrayed in the movie. Like this description by Pippin of Treebeard’s eyes:

“One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground – asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years.”

I feel like the movies made them Tree Eeyores… But they much deeper and awesome. The fact that Trolls were made in mockery of Ents (and Orcs of Elves) by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, proves they are legit. I’m also going to try to bring this into everyday vernacular: “By root and twig, but it is strange business.”

“There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men bad enough for such treachery. Down with Saruman!”

I really love the friendship between Gimli and Legolas as well – watching it play out in the book made me laugh and appreciate friendship, much like the movie. Okay. So….Helm’s Deep. Can I also share a few words about this as well? Èomer and Aragorn fighting together = awesome. Again, Aragorn having Andúril was way better. He’s the king I tell you! Then there was the wild men who fought, the conversations Aragorn had with them right before dawn and the fact that oh, you know, Legolas was the only elf there. Why must you change the Tolkien awesomeness?! Kay, I’m done with Helm’s Deep.

Then there’s good ol Saruman. I think my favorite reaction to Saruman’s final persuasive attempts was Gandalf:

“Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.
‘Saruman, Saruman!’ Said Gandalf still laughing. ‘Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors…I fear I am beyond your comprehension.”

That’s called Gandalf dropping the mic.

I still think one of the best characters created in literature is Gollum. (He’s portrayed so well in the movies too!) His split personality, wanting to refer to himself as “Lord Sméagol” or “Gollum the Great,” to how readers really do pity the creature, to his sly remarks…I love it.

Have I mentioned how much I love Sam?

“Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer

As always here’s some questions, feel free to answer any or all!

1. Did you notice the differences as much as I did? Is there something you would have liked to stay the same as the books?

2. Favorite character(s) or ones you wish were in the movie?
Sam. He’ll be one of my favorites in Return of the King too. He’s the perfect character. Like when he was ready to take on Faramir?? Love him.

Faramir. Such injustice done in the movies! He may not be the eldest, but he’s commanding in his own right.

I wish Quickbeam the Ent has a more prominent role in the movie. He’s funny and passionate! Such a missed opportunity.

3. Any favorite quotes?
“But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

4. What do you think happened with Shelob?
First off, I’m pretty sure Tolkien’s description of Shelob shall haunt my dreams until forever and then some. Personally I think she crawled back in her hole and died a miserable and slow death. No less than she deserved, as Bilbo would say.

5. As always, any other random thoughts are appreciated and welcomed!


The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

“But in the days of Bilbo, and of Frodo his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great.”

I admit these are sometimes the hardest posts for me to write. All I want to do is say how much I loved it and then list a bunch of quotes :). It’s the balance of not writing out a dissertation and having a worthy discussion! But it’s not my fault Tolkien and Lewis were geniuses right? Moving on…after reading this delightful book again (years after my last reading of it), I have been reminded of the age old truth: the book is always better. I love the LOTR movies, but man! There is so much more that awaits in the book! You can’t understand Tolkien’s true greatness without reading the book.

For me, some of the biggest themes are courage, bravery, sacrifice and friendship. Take this interaction:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I also was a huge fan of the brotherhood and friendship of the hobbits. The commitment and loyalty to follow Frodo, knowing it would be dangerous, made my heart happy. Plus the forming of the Fellowship? Awesome all around.

Other tidbits worth noting:

  • Hobbits are sometimes feisty and witty fellows and it had me cracking up. When Gildor (an elf) didn’t answer Frodo’s question one way or the other, his response was “And it is also said ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'”
  • Glóin was at Rivendell and we got all the details on our dwarf friends from The Hobbit 🙂
  • Aragorn has pretty much been everywhere in Middle Earth approx. 100 times.
  • Lady Galadriel – love her character. From “tempting” each member of the fellowship to her gifts. Everything done with a purpose; to make each one stronger. The gift to Sam? His garden-in-a-box? Loved it!
  • The story of Beren and Lúthien..sigh. That’s worth reading The Silmarillion for.

“Courage is found in unlikely places…be of good hope!” (Gildor to Frodo)

As always, here’s a few questions to get the discussion going. Feel free to answer some, none or all and of course be sure to include any other insight and thoughts!

1. Which Hobbit do you identify with at this point in the book?
I appreciate Pippin’s love of food :). I understand Frodo’s reluctance to have people come with him, as he didn’t want them hurt. Merry has courage in him and Sam, well Sam is amazing. I’ll say this – I want to be the type of person Sam is.

2. If you could be one in Middle Earth, which would you pick: Hobbit, dwarf, elf, wizard or man?
An elf! They are wise and know how to handle their weapons.

3. What’s something you wished would have been added or done differently in the movie?
Two words: TOM BOMBADIL. Also Glorfindel deserved better.

4. What were some quotes that really stuck out to you?
This statement. Frodo is not only vulnerable, to me he shows such courage.

“I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.”

I want to memorize this in elvish:

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

Just because I love how Tolkien writes:

“The bow of Legolas was singing.”

One more quote on friendship:

“You do not understand!’ said Pippin. ‘You must go – and therefore we must, too. Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon’s throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet; but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure.’ ‘My dear and most beloved hobbits!’ said Frodo deeply moved. ‘But I could not allow it. I decided that long ago, too. You speak of danger, but you do not understand. This is no treasure-hunt, no there-and-back journey. I am flying from deadly peril into deadly peril.’ ‘Of course we understand,’ said Merry firmly. ‘That is why we have decided to come. We know the Ring is no laughing-matter; but we are going to do our best to help you against the Enemy.”

Other thoughts:
I love much of the new fantasy stories out there (looking at you Potter), but Tolkien really was the master and I see Tolkien influence in so many of these stories. But that’s okay because Tolkien was a genius. Times a billion.

I also need to mention I was reading the part of the CREEPY CRAWLING BLACK RIDER BY MYSELF. Any sound that night was clearly a creature fixin to attack me. So that was neat. But not really.

Can’t wait to hear from y’all! 

Bookish Radness, Inklings

You don’t like Lord of the Rings? This Post is For You.

I like to think I have an open mind. I can debate with others who share completely different opinions from my own without getting fiery or feisty. Healthy debate is a good thing. Why? It helps you really understand why you value and believe what you do and you can learn a thing or two from other people.

Unless we’re discussing one thing. Then I have no choice but to inwardly (and quite possibly outwardly) judge you. What topic would cause such a dramatic reaction you ask? Must be one of the hot topics right? Religion or politics si? Nope, this goes much deeper readers.

Much much deeper.

We’re talking about Lord of the Rings* internet. Lord.of.the.Rings.

When someone tells me they don’t like Lord of the Rings, I’m a bit taken aback at first.

Say wha????

So I am here to make my confessions. I can’t help but possibly think some (or all) of these things when I encounter one of those lonely souls who doesn’t seem to enjoy my beloved Middle Earth.**

1. I don’t trust you.
Or anything you might say.

2. If we’re related, I question our blood connection.
Neither my parents or brother enjoy this type of genre, thus they aren’t fans of this EPIC, AWESOME AND LIFE-CHANGING story. As I’ve mentioned before, this has led me to believe I’m actually adopted from Middle Earth and they are hiding this from me. The only other explanation is they simply don’t like them and I’m not sure I can emotionally handle that yet. Now I know how Smeags felt.

3. I’m going to assume you hate friendship and love.
Because that’s what Middle Earth adventures are made of. If you want to be a murderer of love and happiness, well, to each his own. But I also have to ask, do you also hate puppies? Sunsets? Chocolate??? Because that’s what it feels like. Forget stabbing me in the back, just go right to the front. Why you’re at it, punch me in the face too.

4. I’m also going to assume you have plans to take over the world since you, as mentioned above, obviously hate friendship and love.
I should just start calling you Sauron now. But it’s cool, I’ve got arrow wielding friends.

5. I unfortunately can’t invite you to all of the things that happen in the cool kids’ circle.
I may or may not have thrown extremely awesome Middle Earth type get togethers in the past. Show up at my door with Frodo haterade?! Well then…

6. I might not show it, but you’re crushing my heart.
I can only handle so much of the world speaking crimes against Tolkien. But it’s cool, crying is healthy.

7. I’m going to need you to please provide legitimate reasons for not liking my Middle Earth.
If you don’t like Lord of the Rings because you were once attacked by a Hobbit, I can give you that. But if say you adore certain reality television or reading 50 Shades of Grey instead, well….I can only weep for you and all of humanity.

But if none of these apply to you and you’re Team Middle Earth, then if we’re ever in the same town, let’s pull a Merry and Pippin kay?!

*This also applies to all things The Hobbit and Narnia.
**This is all in jest of course! But only kinda. J.K….j…..k…..

What have I missed fellow fans? Also, if you aren’t a fan – what is it about the series you don’t like? I promise I’m genuinely curious as I know not everyone is a fantasy fan :). Also, if you want to join in the monthly Inklings series, I’d love to have you join! You can find all the details here!

Bookish Radness

My Top 8 All-Time Favorite Fiction Reads

Do I dare even tackle such a list? Now before you think there’s really only eight favorites on my list, I just have to say this is me we’re chatting about! But here’s a start of some novels that have held a place in my heart for at least 10 years. You know it’s solid if it’s remained on the list for at least a decade.

Mark of the Lion Series | Francine Rivers: If you ask me for a book recommendation, this will always be the first series I recommend. Looking for a biography of the 13th President? Read Mark of the Lion. Oh, you want a story about London society after 1912? I think the story of Marcus and Hadassah is just what you need. Just kidding, I’d give you a legit recommendation, but I don’t think I can put into words how amazing this series is. If I ever meet Francine Rivers, I’m just going to hug and thank her for this book. I’ve probably read it 10 times and I only see that number increasing through the years.

Just know it’s a three book series. I did not know this and when the first book ended, I texted my friend who recommended it asking why she would think to suggest a book that just RIPPED OUT MY SOUL. Yep, my reaction was equivalent to all caps plus a bag of chips and toss in some fireworks.

I own a hard copy and the kindle version so I can read it at anytime. I also read it two weeks after I read it for the first time because it’s just that amazing. If I could only have one series the rest of my life, this would be it. (I need to confess, I only read this about 5 years ago, but I’ve read it 10+ times, so I still added it to the list.)

Dracula | Bram Stoker: Vampires? Wha? Let’s just clear things up by saying it is nothing like modern day vampire shenanigans. No, this is a classic that so fantastically demonstrates battling such evil. I’m reminded that in the fight against evil, you will battle dark forces, you will lose people, you will want to quit, but you won’t. The world will be a better place because you didn’t. I haven’t read this one in a few years, but man, what a book! My e-reader friends, it’s free, so no excuses!

Redeeming Love | Francine Rivers: That sneaky, sneaky Rivers lady. Without knowing how it happens, after reading her stories, you’re forever connected to the characters she creates and wish you could meet these people in real life. Redeeming Love was also the first Christian Fiction book I read back when I was in college. I remember my friend Lindsay, from one of my Comm classes during my freshman year (folks, I never remember details, so the fact that I remember the class, the friend and the year should tell you something ;), gave me her copy to borrow and I had the chance to read it over Thanksgiving and I devoured that sucker in about two minutes flat.

Please, read this book if you haven’t yet (which I need to point out that every monthly top seller list Lifeway releases, Redeeming Love is on it. I jest not. And it’s nearly 25 years old. In May, Francine Rivers not only had her latest (which was fantastic, see my review here), but Redeeming Love as well. P.S. IT HAS IT’S OWN WIKIPEDIA PAGE. Need I say more?

The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam | Huynh Quang Nhuong: This is one of the first books I vividly remember reading. I read through it so many times, I’ve lost count. Since growing up in Vietnam was so vastly different from growing up in my parent’s house in Orange County, California, I was so fascinated by this man’s life. Every time I read this book I wanted to do one thing: Go on an epic adventure. If my mom ever asks why I’m always fixin to do something crazy, it’s because I grew up on stories like these. It was also my Mama who gave it to me 🙂

Fire By Night | Lynn Austin: Sigh….just thinking about this book makes me want to re-read it. I think I might too. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered Dr. McGrath and Julia, so I think this summer I might change that. Not only do I love Julia’s character (and connect with her), I adore Dr. McGrath. The whole series is enjoyable, but this one shines far greater than the other two. Plus it’s Civil War (and still my favorite Civil War fiction novel), so win with that.

The Giver | Lois Lowry: I’ve talked about this one the blog enough, so I’ll keep it short. Without pain, one would never know the true depth of happiness, beauty and love. Lowry so beautifully captures this. Plus it’s coming out in the movies soon!!

The Harry Potter Series | J.K. Rowling: Duh.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee: This was one of those books I actually liked in high school and understood at the age of 16 why it was such an important piece of literature. It’s beautifully written, it’s an amazing story and Atticus Finch is one of the all-time greatest heroes in literature.

You might be wondering about the books I talk about every 27 seconds and why they aren’t on this list. Well, I figured it was a given that anything Narnia/Lewis or Middle Earth/Tolkien related are in their own category of greatest all-time anything. I mean, I have a monthly series about them internet, so of course they are my favorite of favorites. (If you want to join in The Inklings series, check it out here)

Alright, there’s the fiction list! I feel I can breathe a little easier now ;). What do you think? What are some of your favorites to add?