August 15th, 2013

books

Wednesday reading (a little late)

Current:
Far North & Other Dark Tales, by Sara Maitland
Far North, by Marcel Theroux
Resistance, by Anita Shreve
[Doctor Who] The Dalek Generation, by Nicholas Briggs
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, by Hergé

Last books finished
[Doctor Who] Eater of Wasps, by Trevor Baxendale
The History of the Hobbit, vol 1: Mr Baggins, by John D. Rateliff
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, by Jeanette Winterson
Shakespeare's Planet, by Clifford D. Simak
Shakedown, by Terrance Dicks
The Gods of Pegāna, by Lord Dunsany
Standing in Another Man's Grave, by Ian Rankin
The Monsters and the Critics, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie
Proportional Representation in Ireland, by James Creed Meredith

Next books
Tell My Horse, by Zora Neale Hurston
The Crown of Dalemark, by Diana Wynne Jones
Eleanor, Countess of Desmond, by Anne Chambers
Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb

Books acquired in last week:
The Gods of Pegāna, by Lord Dunsany
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie
Helen Waddell, by Felicitas Corrigan
politics

Links I found interesting for 15-08-2013

tolkien

August Books 12) The History of The Hobbit, vol 1: Mr Baggins, by John D. Rateliff

Having finished the History of Middle Earth series, I have made a start on the two-volume History of The Hobbit which I acquired a couple of years ago. It is actually rather good - as well as following through the manuscript changes (of which the most unsettling is that Gandalf was originally the name of the dwarf leader we know as Thorin Oakenshield; the wizard of early drafts was Bladorthin), Rateliff has taken the time to chase down the history of various elements of the story of The Hobbit; he argues, for instance, that Tolkien's trolls appear to have been the first in literature who were turned to stone by the rising sun, and that while invisibility-conferring rings were not completely new, many aspects of the Ring found by Bilbo are indeed original. He also shows how the writing of The Hobbit was affected by and in turn affected the other writing Tolkien was engaged in at the time, some of which became The Silmarillion and some of which only saw light in The History of Middle Earth. Note also that Laketown is the only culture in Middle Earth which is clearly rooted in the Western European medieval period which was Tolkien's own specialisation, and its Master is the only speaking character in the entire corpus who has won an election. Looking forward to the second volume now.
tardis

August Books 13) Eater of Wasps, by Trevor Baxendale

The wasps surrounded him, settling on his face and hands. He yelled and brushed them away, felt the inevitable stings on his hands and his fingers.
More were flying around his head, crawling in his hair and on his neck. He stumbled over a kitchen chair and fell to his knees. The air was full of insects, his ears filled with their agitated noise.
They were after him. It was deliberate. Rigby knew it.
A very effective tale of body horror here, with some similarities in central theme and historical setting to the later TV story The Unicorn and the Wasp but without the Agatha Christie bits and with more killer aliens. The Doctor is starting to behave all unsympathetically, though, and veers closer to cruelty than I would like. However the two companions, Fitz and Anji, have plenty to do and the wasps themselves are tremendously well visualised, as is the village which appears normal but is concealing horror and abomination.