Bags of Bran


The thing I needed to do
August 19, 2014, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Bibliophilia, Biography

Among my “need to do” list belong such items as “prayer,” “the ministry of the Word,” “sleep,” “flossing,” “trimming my toenails,” “sorting bins of bicycle parts,” and etc. Some, obviously, are of much momentary weight; some are cyclical, and some I can probably safely put off for another year. But they all need to happen.

One thing that I need to do is go back and re-read some important books. There are books that repay a close re-reading, and there are books that don’t. I’m starting to get a stack of the former, where I suppose the stack of the latter could reach the second story of the house and beyond by now. I have to conclude that writing is difficult, or everyone would be writing compelling stories set in realistic worlds.

I just finished The Lord of the Rings again. It repaid. When I finished the final volume and read the Appendices,  I reflected on how much I used to like the Peter Jackson movies when they first came out on DVD. At that point it had probably been a decade since I’d read the books, but now that I’ve read them through twice since I’ve seen the movies, I don’t think that the movie form can carry that story except as a rude caricature, which is essentially what Jackson made. The world is too small, too new, and too binary. Tolkien’s world is vast, ancient, and layered. There are some whiffs of the sensational in Tolkien, as well as some deus ex machina moments that I suppose are just part of fantasy literature. But Tolkien draws you in, makes you care, helps you see and smell and feel. Even the sense of justice I felt when Samwise plunked Bill Ferny in the face with an apple was a real sense of justice, even if it was a waste of a good apple.

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