Sunday, 4 April 2010

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Readalong & General Reading

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Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Done & Checking in!
Although it's actually April now, I not only finished The Two Towers on time for the March readalong, but I even finished early. But, because of timing and I just generally feel like writing about books on Sundays, I'm writing my check in post in April. As through out the month, our The Two Towers readalong host Shelf Love has given us even more questions to accompany the experience of reading Book 4. Here's the we go!

1. The last half of The Two Towers covers fewer characters than the first half. For some, this makes Book 4 slower than the rest of the book; others love the intense focus on Frodo, Gollum, and Sam. Where do you stand on this question?

I loved this section of the book! At some point I realized that the second half of the book wasn't as long as the first and nowhere near as long as the Fellowship and this made me completely whiz through it. I liked the Sam, Frodo and Gollum focus, but I wish there was more Faramir!

2. If you’re a first-time reader (or even a rereader), what surprised you most about this half of the book?

It feels already like the story is wrapping up, which is so odd considering there is all of The Return of the King to get through. Also, I find it emotionally conflicting to sympathize in this section with Gollum over Sam. I want to cheer for Sam but sometimes he's not so nice, althought I know he's just looking out for Frodo.

3. Are there any specific moments that stand out as favorites or least favorites in this section?

Not so much. I read this one out and about a lot instead of at home so I didn't take as many notes (heh, there an admission for ya). A lot of the sections I could, as I've said previously, see and hear the film. In particular PO-TA-TOES! and Gollum/Smeagol chatter.

4. What are some themes or ideas in this book (or the trilogy as a whole so far) that stand out to you?

Choices & persistence. I admire persistence a lot, and I've noted that how much I like a character in this series feels very proportionate to how far they are willing to go or how quickly they are willing to give up. Also the idea of still attempting a task when you don't even know how to complete it, is fascinating. It's all about the journey!

5. And the obligatory movie question: Many LOTR readers take the biggest issue with Jackson’s treatment of this part of the trilogy than with any other? Did the changes bother you? Are there any ways in which you think the movie was more effective?

I'm going to rewatch the film today, but from memory I'd say there is a lot that was done in the film that shows a creative genius's interpretation of the book. Sure, it doesn't follow along step by step like Fellowship did, but the essence of the story stays intact and I found I understood more about the characters in the film. In particular the treatment of Gollum is so amazing, and it's an idea that if I heard about it I would say it would be too far fetched to be pulled off but somehow they did it. I'm really looking forward to revisiting the film, it's been a while since I've seen it!

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2010 Book to Film Challenge Update

As with the mid month check in, I've decided to take the opportunity to write about some of the other books I've read recently and my progress on my 2010 Book to Film Challenge, where I'm now up to 6/20 films read! Yay! With the current pace I should finish all 20 by the end of the year with ease.

The Final Warning by James Patterson
Another book in the Maximum Ride Series, although I'm not entirely sure if it's Maximum Ride: Book 4 as it's also listed as The Protectors: Book 1. Bizarre. Anyhow, I continue to love the antics and adventures of this group of avian-human hybrids lead by their fearless leader Max, a teenage girl who kicks butt and takes names. I also really enjoy the casual writing style that feels free to used terms that may not necessarily be words, but certainly are things people say. It's also a great example of a series that gives you enough catch up information as a reminder from the last book, without dwelling/romanticizing the past. Thank you for that James Patterson, I appreciate it! The series are all quick, fun reads and I look forward to keep reading and seeing what happens next.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Although I keep trying to find stand alone books, I keep getting sucked into series and this is a Book 1 of a 4 books series. It's teen fiction, scifi/dystopic, set in a world where at 16 people have surgery to turn from uglies to pretties. Interesting to continue to see the theme of beauty explored in teen fic (Beastly did this too), but Uglies reminded me that Tolkien aside I've almost exclusively been reading books by women's authors. Actually, both this and the Maximum Ride series are by male authors with female teen protagonists. Interesting. Anyway, Uglies was great - interesting world & ideas with characters & relationships that feel real & interesting. I did often feel like I could see where it was going, but I didn't always figure it out so it surprized me occasionally which I like. It reminded me of a "what if City of Ember and Logan's Run collided", but that's likely because I've not read too my near-future dystopic stuff. Looking forward to continuing the series, although I've got lots to get through in April so might be a while before I get to book 2.

Upcoming books for April 2010
The Lord of the Rings readalong continues with The Return of the King, this section of the readalong will be hosted by Just Add Books. I'm also diving into Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights continuing with my 2010 book to film challenge & as a countdown to the film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Other possibilities include Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and Cassandra Clare's City of Glass - the third in The Mortal Instruments Series. I'm sure there will be more. What are you reading in April?

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1 comment:

Jenny said...

They do do a great job with Gollum. It's so familiar to me by now, because I've rewatched those films so many times, that I completely forgot to say it. But damn, they pulled that off in spades. Way to go Andy Serkis.

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