Okay, well, actually, it wasn’t midnight, it was 12:15 AM. The fact that Peter Jackson and company really want you to see this in high frame rate 3D sat poorly with my group of friends—since childhood, I have subconsciously allied myself with people who wear glasses. (I recommend this strategy.) In the interests of not having my friends’ heads explode when exposed to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I got tickets for the 12:15 AM 2D screening in Atlantic Station. And lo and behold, the official TheOneRing.Net line party was being held at this very screening! Having never been to a line party before (and two of us having never been to a midnight screening before!), we were all super-excited, so when Thursday night finally rolled around and we were done braiding each other’s hair and talking about Tolkien, we took to the highway. (Music: “I Will Wait”, Mumford & Sons.)
I can’t tell you how happy I am it’s December. Sure, finals season is upon me, but I always get antsy on the last one or two days of a month. I like having a fresh calendar and new wallpapers. But November still lingers, in the best of ways: last month, Lu tagged me with a short reading questionnaire. Why don’t we get started?
For us Americans, this past Thursday was Thanksgiving. I finally was able to convince my mother to let me “help” (i.e., take over) with Thanksgiving dinner, and we had a fantastic time brainstorming a menu and executing it. And it was so nice to spend a few days at home, tending to things, like trying new recipes, interviewing librarians for grad school, and finally return my friend Natalya’s The Mighty Boosh DVDs. It’s a nice bit of decompression before the final push, so I’d thought I’d extend the holiday a bit and share what I’m (bookishly) thankful for.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no question that it can make a difference!
What book(s) have your favorite covers? Something that’s perfect for the story, the tone, the colors, the mood…
And did you pick up the book BECAUSE of the cover? Or were you going to read it anyway, and the cover was just serendipitous?
I am stupidly easy to distract with a beautiful cover. While I can’t be too picky at the moment, as I rely mostly on libraries for my books and get whatever edition they happen to have on hand, it does definitely flavor my reading experience. What I can say? I’m a really visual person.
As far as favorite covers, Alan Lee’s illustrations gracing those enormous copies of The Lord of the Rings are jaw-droppingly beautiful; they focus on monuments in Middle-Earth, giving your imagination a bit of wiggle room. Rock and Roll is Here to Stay has a lovely cover, with the text vertical instead of horizontal and limited color. I’m awful fond of the look of the Penguin Classics—you know, illustration, black box—for anything in the public domain. And the American cover for Mr. Toppit is very arresting.
I have read books solely based on their cover; again, I’m really visual and I didn’t really read as a kid. I specifically remember stumbling across the gorgeous cover to The Gigolo Murder, done by Tomer Hanuka, and snatching up The Kiss Murder because of its cover. A decent read, but nothing really amazing, you know?
If you hadn’t noticed, last week was Tolkien Week; with the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Hobbit on Friday and Bilbo and Frodo’s shared birthday yesterday, it’s been a fun week for Ringers and other assorted Tolkien freaks. And Peter Jackson’s contribution to the festivities was a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Wednesday. It was supposed to drop at 10 AM, but actually went up half an hour before; lucky for me, because in the battle between my Latin class and Tolkien, I have no idea who would win. Let’s take a look.
Next weekend marks a pretty big weekend for Ringers; not only is Friday the seventy-fifth anniversary (!) of the publication of The Hobbit, but Saturday, September 22nd, is the mutual birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the birthday that kicks off The Lord of the Rings. An image was recently posted on the official The Hobbit film Twitter feed discussing ways to throw a Hobbit Day Party, but blogger Charles alerted me to the existence of something a little more glamorous—The Hobbit Second Breakfast, an event organized by HarperCollins UK, which includes an event where Fulham Palace’s gardens will be transformed into the Shire, a second breakfast will be provided, and there’ll be a reading from the novel. For everyone else, HarperCollins UK is providing a .pdf packet with bunting, coasters, and a dwarven word search. In short, my Anglophilia is acting up like never before. I’ll be using the word “shan’t” in sentences soon enough.
Even Warner Brothers is getting in on the action, by putting up a website devoted to Bombur’s recipes. (You can even submit your own!) But these recipes are either a little basic or a little specialized (perhaps I am merely unschooled in the ways of medieval cooking, but I have no idea where I can pick up ground pigeon, short of doing it myself). So I thought we’d look at some recipes from my own recipe box that might be perfect for your very own Second Breakfast, be it next Friday, next Saturday, or whenever the mood strikes.
Remember last summer, when NPR hosted that poll about the best science fiction and fantasy novels? Well, this summer NPR had another poll—this one aimed at generating the best ever teen novels, according to NPR listeners. While I rushed to last summer’s, if only to fulfill my obligations as a Tolkien fanatic and devotee of Jacqueline Carey, I didn’t to this one. Why? Because of the rather thin criteria. Whereas last summer’s poll focused on two genres that, at the very least, can be defined in broad strokes, this poll focuses on an audience instead—an audience we’ve only recently invented, and have only recently started catering to.
What was the most emotional read you have ever had?
Of late, I’d say The Lord of the Rings, especially the ending. I’m a very easy crier, more so with film and television—something about the emotional power of music. I think I startled my father when I started crying a little during The Hobbit trailer when we went to go see Brave; but it was the highest definition I’d ever seen it in and “Over The Misty Mountains Cold”—if that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what does.
But I think the first time I cried openly (i.e., actual tears, not just tearing up, which I do all the time) over a book was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I was twelve when it came out, but I was unable to go to the midnight release—I think we were travelling at the time, and my efforts to attend a local release were shot down. So when I did get it, I tore through it (did I ever tell you about the time I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in eight hours? Good times). I remember being curled up on my office chair (there was a good way to balance myself with my feet on the desk and my back half on the seat, which probably explains my hamstring issues), reading the death of a certain someone, and crying lightly. I mean, yeah, we’d had a big death in the previous book, but that character had been introduced and removed within the same book. My mother popped her head in to tell me to go take a shower (reading had taken precedence over my morning routine, but it was the summer), and looked startled to find that I was tearful.
So The Hobbit is going to be a trilogy. My immediate screams of joy have started to die down, although I can’t forget that guys there’s going to be three Hobbit movies YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN oh my God oh my God oh my God. There’s been plenty of deservedly mixed reactions to this across the web, but personally? I trust Peter Jackson, because let’s be honest, his The Lord of the Rings films changed my life. And the sheer amount of effort involved in just beginning to crafting three films out of what they have already is kind of mind-blowing and seems like too much trouble for a simple cashgrab. That article does make much of the fact that there’s no script for the third film, but I think that Jackson and company looked at the footage they had and realized that a third film might allow them more breathing room. I don’t really have anything else to say on the matter, except that I sincerely doubt we’ll be getting Extended Editions of the new trilogy. The new trilogy! Oh my God!