Books That Have Influenced Me: Part Two

Standard

LOR

(Liz French)

 

Among the many books that I have enjoyed or have had a large influence on my life are some that I discovered when I was young.  One of the most important such works is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings. This magnificent work, which is one novel, divided into three books: The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return Of The King, is not only the most important work of modern fantasy, but it is also the contemporary work of British mythology. It is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the most important novels of the 20th Century.

jrr

(https://mrsflaherty.wikispaces.com)

Released in 3 parts from 1954 to 1955, this work has not only become an extraordinary bestseller, but also it influenced story-telling, writing, and movie making continually to the present day.

I was a young teenager when I read the book, deep in the heart of the Vietnam War era, in a time when everything was being questioned, and corruption was rampant in our society.  Actually, it has not seemed to change all that much, with the exception of the myriad of good and decent people who are trying to make positive contributions to our world.  This book captured my heart and mind immediately, and I have reread the entire book about once every ten years or so. I am due for another rereading soon.

Tolkien was a deeply important linguist, and he developed a new language—Elvish, complete with syntax, vocabulary, and an alphabet.  This work and his academic work would have made him one of the preeminent thinkers of the 20th Century. His writing of this novel puts him in the upper echelon of writers.

Almost any theme that can be considered is included in this work: life and death, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, the consequences of the industrial age on an agrarian culture, the place of war, the importance of ordinary people as well as leaders, the hero and the quest, and the workings of the human heart are just a few that could be mentioned.  I have been concerned my entire life with the issue of good and evil and when evil must be confronted.  Tolkien, who fought in World War I and saw the horror of World War Two, examines this issue in depth.  For a world that experienced the twin terrors of those wars, Tolkien’s book becomes a place to examine how such fighting impacts people.

No matter how many times I read this magnificent work, I never cease to be astounded by it. It is not a book intended for children, as The Hobbit is, as some have mistakenly thought. It is a work for adults and through the lens of fantasy, deals with extremely important human issues.

I know I will read The Lord Of The Rings throughout the rest of my life.

In my next installment, I will discuss a particular play that has had huge impact on me.

Advertisements

Happy Anniversary to JK Rowling and Harry Potter!

Standard

harry-potter-1091160_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

It has been 20 years since the publication of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. This extraordinary book and the entire Harry Potter series engaged the minds and imaginations of millions of readers around the world. I love this series, I teach it in several of my college classes, and I recommend it to anyone who has not read it.  It is also a book that can give the gift of reading to those who have not embraced the joy of reading. So, if you have not read this wonderful series, or if you have and love it, catch the express train to Hogwarts and have a great time!

Happy Anniversary and congratulation to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter!

harry-potter-1640525_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

Neil Gaiman’s The View From The Cheap Seats: An Early Recommendation

Standard

neil-gaiman-April-2013

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org)

I do not usually recommend books before I finish them, but I will make an exception now. I have begun reading The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, and I am taken with it. In this book, Gaiman discusses a variety of topics, including books, reading, and writing, and he does it with great perspective, wit, and insight.

Here are a couple of selected quotations from this book:

 

“We writers–and especially writers for children, but all writers–have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were–to understand that truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.” (13)

“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. ‘If you want your children to be intelligent,’ he said, ‘read them fairy tales. It you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.'” (15)

 

As I said, I have barely begun this book, but I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I recommend it highly. Read his book to explore a great writer’s thoughts on writing, books, fantasy, and more.

 

book-794978_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

What Is One Of Your Favorite Movies?

Standard

I have posted before about favorite books.  I will come back to that idea again in the not too distant future, but I was thinking about movies, because I am going to teach a hybrid online/traditional in-class course on Literature and Film at Muhlenberg College for The Wescoe School (the adult program) this summer. This will be an early question I will ask my students, so it is only fair that I think about it.

ring-1671094_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

My answer would be the same as if this question were for books: The Lord of the Rings by director Peter Jackson (all 3 movies considered to be one–the same as with the books.) I think this adaptation is one of the best adaptations of a book to movie that has ever been accomplished. I love the depth of the story, the issues raised of political power and corruption, war and peace, good and evil, life and death, love and hatred, industrialization and the decimation of the natural world, heroes, both large and small, and the connection of all people. I recommend this filmic adaptation to all.   Please also read the books!

hobbiton-1586979_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

So, I ask everyone: what is one of your favorite films?

Quotations on Writing by Ray Bradbury

Standard

ray-28744_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

“Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

 

“You fail only if you stop writing.”

 

“You must write every single day of your life.”

Ray_Bradbury_(1975)_-cropped-

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

What Book Would You Visit?

Standard

books-1655783_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

As readers and writers, we create new worlds and engage with places built by other writers. Our imaginations inform our lives and give us gifts of wonder. I have often considered what it would be like if it were possible to enter into the world of a book, if it would be anything like I had imagined as I read it, or if that place would be entirely different. What would it be like if we found a key that allowed us to unlock a sealed door, behind which was the world of a book?

hobbiton-1890838_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

If I could visit any book, I would choose J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of  The Rings. This work has been deeply important to me for most of my life, since I discovered it as a young teenager. I never cease to find the tale compelling, complex, and humanistic. Tolkien’s treatment of mythology and fantasy showed me that the creation of worlds is not an act of mere escapism but a way to shine a light on our world.

ring-1671094_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

When I ask this question, I do not mean that you would necessarily engage with the characters or situations of the world, but that you would have the option of being an observer of its actualities as they are in the book. So, if you choose to answer, remember that you would not have to place yourself in any kind of danger, and you could have a visit of exploration instead.

So, given that option, I ask: what book would you like to visit?

wp-1476386546701-maledicus

 

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek!

Standard

startrek

(https://pixabay.com)

This month is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek! Congratulations to extraordinary longevity and influence for a television show that ran 3 seasons beginning in September of 1966.  What had been seen initially as only an action-adventure space opera, the influence and importance of this series would grow slowly.

The series was scheduled to be canceled after only two seasons, but an onslaught of mail and calls from fans convinced the television executives to renew it for one more season, but it still was finished after a partial 3rd season. This run of circumstances ordinarily would have been the end of most shows, but something was happening.

Star Trek was in many ways a response to the turmoil of the 1960s, but it was also a vision that transcended that particularly chaotic era. Gene Roddenberry, the creator, of the series, imbued it with a sense of optimism and humanism that suggested it was possible for humanity to confront and overcome its enormous problems. It was the first series to create a multi-cultural, indeed multi-planetary, crew.  In many of its episodes it dealt with issues that were then, and still are, current and facing humanity; among these themes: racism, war, and the spread of weapons in various cultures.

After a short period of dormancy, Star Trek went into syndication and soon would spin off 5 other series, and a 6th is coming out soon. Additionally, many feature movies have been made, including the most recent from this year Star Trek Beyond.

I am a proud Trekkie, especially favoring the original series. The humanism and optimism of the show has resonated with me, and I find the writing especially to be at the top level of television science-fiction shows, right along with The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. I hope that the messages of  this show continue to inspire people for many years to come.

“Live Long and Prosper!”

star-trek-311704_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)