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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien

Dear Unwin,
the Hobbit will be ready tomorrow, honest.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear Unwin,
I've been swamped by illness, work, exams, more work, more exams, lectures, more work and more exams. I can't possibly get it ready this decade.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear Unwin,
did you like it?

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear Unwin,
glad you liked it. The illustrations will be ready tomorrow.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

...this decade, etc.

Dear Unwin,
I may have no taste but the American cover art is appalling and did they even read the book?

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

[Repeat all of the above w.r.t LoTR]

Dear [Inkling]
the other Inklings' work is mostly rubbish but I like it in parts and even though they are annoying I like them really.

Yours,

Tolkers.

[repeat with every other Inkling]

Dear [somebody acquainted with me]
that critic is impertinent and did he even read the book?

Yours, annoyed,

JRRT

Dear Christopher,
you are the only one who understands me! I love you! Sob!

Your
Father.
[Above written in Anglo-Saxon.]

Dear Nazi scum,
you, Apartheid supporters, Colonialists and other racist groups are all intellectually and morally defective. The Jews are a fine people and I would be proud to have Jewish ancestry but as far as I know I don't.

Yours with no respect at all.

Tolkien.

Dear [any translator of LoTR]
your translation is rubbish; why do you translate names that are not in English? Your translations are unnecessary and show a poor grasp of [your native language]. [Demonstrates a superior knowledge of the translator's language.] Here's a book I wrote about how to translate my book.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear {Member of public]
thank you for your interesting questions. Enclosed is a set of answers in obsessive detail that I worked out prior to my 5th birthday. It includes philological details unintelligible to any person lay in the subject.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear {Critic I like]
thank you for your encouraging, perceptive review.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear [prospective interviewer]
leave me alone.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear [Reader who said something stupid]
as any one with a modicum of understanding of [Old Ancient High Low North Western Indo-European Obscure Language], which is surely everybody, knows, you are completely wrong. Enclosed is a detailed explanation, incomprehensible to anyone lay in philology. And anyway it says you're wrong in the Appendices.

Yours faithfully,

Tolkien.

Dear Christopher,
the Roman Catholic Church is axiomatically right about everything even though most of its priests are idiotic, uneducated, corrupt, morally defective, politcally-minded perverts.

Your

Father.

----------------------------------------

That, if repeated many times over, is this book. It's interesting in parts and dull (because repetitive) in others. It shows a man jealously protective of his work, easily irritated (although by things that would probably wind up many an author) in search of an unmechanised rural idyll that never existed in the same way as Thomas Hardy. Enormously erudite, he struggled to understand why other people might find Anglo-Saxon difficult - a common problem with people of enormous talent in any intellectual discipline being the inability to conceive of it being anything but simple to grasp.

Worthwhile for anybody who wants to know more of what Tolkien the person was like.