Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reading Tolkien and King

I thought I would change tact today and discuss two books I read recently, one I enjoyed and one I didn't.
The first book I want to talk about is The Tale of the Children of Hurin by Tolkien. I absolutely love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I was shocked by how much this latest book reminded me of all the things I don't like about Tolkien's writing. Long lists of similar sounding names makes my brain go dead, and this book has its fair share of these. Also the book highlights the fact that really Tolkien is not that great a writer, he really loves the sound of his own voice so to speak and this intrudes into the narrative. The story does pick up, though the ending is a bit of a downer. Personally the book comes across as another attempt to cash in on the success of The Lord of the Rings. Hopefully we will not see further attempts to sully the creation of J R R Tolkien.
On the other hand I have been enjoying the Gunslinger series by Stephen King. I have tried to read this series in the past but never really got into it, but for some reason this time I can't put it down. Funnily enough this series was inspired by Tolkien, though King wanted to give the characters a more American feel, and he succeeds quite well at this. Set in a mythical wild west, the sort of place Ford shot his films and John Wayne roams, the story weaves in and out of time and space in a sureal manner. I am really enjoying this and am looking foward to finishing all the books in the series. And seeing if Roland does reach the Black Tower.

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