ZZZZzzzz: Ten Books We Couldn’t Finish

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My home is filled with books. Books on shelves, books overflowing shelves, books on my nightstand, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, on the floor. Most I manage to get through, if not always enjoy. I am a big believer in seeing it through.  Most of my friends feel the same way. AND YET… there are always a few that we just cannot seem to finish.  Some are classics that we know we should complete before the inevitable Rise of the Librarians comes to quiz us with tasers. Others are books friends raved about….or best sellers that have evoked a lot of fuss…for no reason YOU can discern.

Whatever the reason, here are confessions of my well-read friends and colleagues, many of them English professors, so I will have to give them Code Names so their students never find out their dark, dark, secrets.

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1.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Dense passage about the physiognomy of whales: the poor man’s Ambien.  We all know that this should be read. And many of us keep trying. It’s our own…. yeah, you guessed it… Moby Dick (Insert groaning here.)

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2.  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

More Viggo Mortensen would have made this seemingly-endless series more interesting for me. Skipping the endless “songs” moves things right along though. Save yourself some time and listen to some Zep to catch up on everything you need to know about what you glossed over.

paradisio

3.  Paradisio by Dante Alighieri 

Another popular snooze-fest, this comment sums up our feelings in general:

 “I can’t finish Paradisio. The torments of The Inferno and even Purgatorio appeal to my sense of schadenfreude, but people in heaven and Beatrice? BO-RING.”

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4.  Anything by Stephen King 

I must say, in King’s defense, that his text On Writing  is one of my favorites. However, King, to me, and many others, is like the Costco of literature. Do you really need that giant box of paper towels? Or that giant stack of largely interchangeable plots and characters?

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Top Ten Gifts for Readers and Writers: Cyber-Monday is Here!

Got a reader and/or writer on your Christmas list? Take advantage of Cyber-Monday with these unique offerings for your favorite nerd. And I mean that in the most loving way possible, of course.

10. Favorite Writer’s Coasters

Even first-class swillers like the infamous… indulgers… Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski didn’t want nasty water rings left on their bedside table. Honor their memories and wishes with these snazzy coasters from Retrowhale and take advantage of 15% off your order, today only.  Use order code Retro77.

9.  Big Books Tote Bag

Make Sir Mix-a-lot proud and your children cringe with this bag from Pamela Fugate Designs. Free shipping!

8.  Tolkein Ring

As your favorite Tolkein geek will explain to you, the wizard Gandalf says this in The Fellowship of the Ring

7.  Bamboo Bath Caddy

A book, a bubble bath, and wine? I’ll be out around the end of February. Maybe. 10% off with the code “Cyber” at Macy’s.

6.  Massage Bed Rest from Brookstone

Ooohhh… Okay. It does remind me a bit of the flying chairs in the movie “Wall-E” but I’ll take one. I bet any other reader you know would love it as well. Massage, place for a drink, pockets, a reading light? Yes, please. 5% off Cyber-Monday with the code Pinit5.

5.  Hemingway Gift Box from Royal Palm Arts

Set includes a 6 oz stainless steel flask, a pair of shot glasses, a leather notebook, a wooden cigar caddy/pencil holder, and two pencils. Fill up the flask and throw in a couple of Cubans and you’ve got yourself a right manly Christmas there, my friend.

4. Demeter Fragrances: Paperback

Forget pheromones! I hope this comes in a male version. Books and manliness? Gimme.  Description promises, “A trip to your favorite library or used bookstore. Sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper, Demeter’s Paperback harnesses that scent with a sprinkling of violets and a dash of tasteful potpourri.”

3.  Scrabble: Book Lover’s Edition

Gather ’round kids, where I introduce you to this concept that came, yes, BEFORE “Words With Friends.” In this Scrabble edition, you get extra points for playing names of novels and authors. I’m not entirely sure why you couldn’t do that on a regular Scrabble board, but hey, this one looks all library-y and stuff. Cyber-Monday deals at Amazon. 

2.  Literary iPhone Covers

I love these. Love them! Perhaps I’ll even be persuaded to dump my 3G in order to get one. Or several. Hurry, limited editions and sadly, TKAM is already gone.  At Uncommon Goods.

1. Gift Certificate for Uninterrupted Reading and/or Writing Time

While all the previous ideas are fabulous, what most readers and writers want more than anything is some unfettered time…time free of needy kids, inquiring significant others, ringing phones, knocks at the door, email… Better yet, pair this with one or more of the other gifts listed here and make your favorite bibliophile/author very happy indeed.


All Things Tolkien: Five Ways to Await the Release of “The Hobbit”

If you are counting the days until the December 14, 2012 release date of The Hobbit (Part I) chances are you do not have a girlfriend and therefore need to find ways to pass the time. (I kid the geeks… I kid. Some of them do not have boyfriends.)

Not to worry. Since its original publication in 1937, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy that followed (between 1938 and 1949) Tolkein’s world of Hobbits, Ringwraiths, elves, and wizards has enthralled generations, inspiring countless songs, studies, puzzles, tributes, and cosplays. Here are just a few ways you can count down the next 35 days… or however they measure time in Middle Earth.

1.  Listen to Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” on Auto-repeat

(Sing along now!)

Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her….yeah.

2. Trace Middle Earth’s Family Tree

Ever wonder how, exactly, Fingoflin is related to Maeglin? Well, you can be prepared for that next panel discussion at the 2013  Comicon by memorizing all 817 characters and their relationships to one another. There’s even an app for that! And you can keep up with all the other people interested in the complex genealogy of the works by staying in touch on Facebook.

3.  Start Getting Prepared Now for Comic-Con

Every summer the San Diego Convention Center is host to the world’s largest gathering of fantasy….enthusiasts… many who dress up in elaborate costumes as homage to their favorite characters. Once only a venue for comic books, Comic-Con now caters to multiple genres including horror, anime, toys, and more. So extend No-Shave November through July and you’ve likely grown yourself some fine Hobbit feet!

4. Whip up Second Breakfasts and Elevenses

Nothing passes the time quite like eating so why not try to make your own delicious Seedcakes, courtesy of  The Lord of the Rings Cookbook Whether you need some comfort food for breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner and/or supper, Ms. Kittle has you covered.

5.  How About a  Hobbit Jigsaw Puzzle?

Get a pizza, the LOTR trilogy on DVD, shove the cat(s) off the table and get busy with this vintage two-sided puzzle. Done? Great! Only 4 and a half more weeks to go!


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