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JRR Tolkien

T5M: Top 5 Dream Fictional Vacation Spots

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

Hello, friends! It’s my birthday today, and I just moved into my first apartment over the weekend, so I am BEAT! My muscles have never been so sore, even when I first started going to the gym and lifting weights. In fact, one could even say I need a vacation! Here are my top 5 dream fictional vacation spots ;D

5. Middle Earth

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I mean, I wouldn’t want to visit when Sauron is doing his bit with the Ring, but the scenic imagery in these books is unparalleled. Tolkien was a master of placing you in the environment so exactly, you’re surprised to look up from the book and realize you’re not there. Especially in the fall time! Autumn is my favorite season, so I’d love to visit then. Perhaps the elves, or the hobbits, to wander the explosively colorful forests or sample some cider. If I were braver I’d venture underground to visit the dwarves, but alas! I’m not made of such stern stuff.

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

4. Pellinor

 

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One of the things I love most about this series is the imagery. The descriptions of the countryside the characters journey through is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, but I also love the food descriptions. Just as in Middle Earth too, there are many different regions with different types of food, and Alison Croggon details them all lovingly. I love to eat, so I’d travel to Pellinor for the food alone!

The taste on her palate was pungent and rich, the flavor of woodlands and dark earth simmered in sunshine. ― Alison Croggon, The Naming

3. Assassin’s Creed series

This one is a little unusual, as the Assassin’s Creed series takes place in real history, with some sci-fi elements. The biggest being that the main character relives the memories of his ancestors, which are locked in his DNA, by use of a machine called the Animus. Therefore, the games are highly accurate to their respective time periods, and totally immersive. I’ve since fallen off with this series (Black Flag was where I stopped playing), but I go back to the early games again and again. It’s easy to lose myself for hours in their landscapes.

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Assassin’s Creed is stylistically my favorite, as it takes place in the Middle East during the Third Crusades. Middle Eastern art and architecture is my favorite style, and was a joy to study in school. Playing a game within that place in history is a wonderful experience for me.

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The runner up would have to be Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which takes place in Constantinople in the 16th century. That sprawling city, with it’s eclectic mixture of Middle Eastern and European elements, made me curious enough to research and seek out information on Constantinople, and the Turkish empire, on my own.

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And of course, who WOULDN’T want to visit the Renaissance Italy of Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, and rub elbows with the master artists??? I think I need say no more ;D Hurry up and invent that Animus already!

2. Themyscira

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I mean, come on! It’s also known as Paradise Island! There are beaches to lay on and tan with the ocean steps away. There’s ancient Greek art and architecture galore for an art nerd like me. Plus, it’s protected by the Greek gods, so there’s a guarantee your vacation will be uninterrupted by mortal danger… and even if there is, the entire island is populated by badass warrior women, so you’d be safe. Who wouldn’t want to visit???

1. Agrabah

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Daring sword fights, magic spells, princes in disguise… wait, I think I’m mixing up my Disney movies, but I daresay the sentiment remains the same ;D The lush textures and flavors of Broadway and live-action Aladdin adaptations were totally spellbinding for me. What I wouldn’t give to wander the marketplaces of Agrabah: to run my hands over the silks and jewels, to taste the fruits and delicacies, and drown in all the scents! And visit the royal palace, to lounge sunbathing beside the fountains and make friends with a certain tiger ;D And, of course, if you’re up for a little adventure, the Cave of Wonders is only a camel ride away.

Any of my dream fictional vacation spots make your list, too?

Kathleen

The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit content passing his days sitting on his front porch, blowing smoke rings, and drinking tea. All that changes when the wizard Gandalf appears on his doorstep, asking if Bilbo would like to participate in an adventure. Well, hobbits simply do not have adventures! But despite Bilbo’s protests, Gandalf along with a large group of dwarves show up at his door for tea the next day. They are on a quest to take back the stolen treasure that is their leader Thorin Oakenshield’s birthright. One problem… the treasure was stolen by a dragon named Smaug. Bilbo, of course, is horrified… and intrigued. Despite himself, he finds himself travelling with the band of dwarves and wizard. Together, they meet elves, almost get eaten by trolls, get kidnapped by goblins, and confront the most feared dragon in Middle-Earth.

The subtitle stresses that it’s an illustrated edition, which I think in a few respects is true. While it is laid out like a graphic novel, and reads like one, this one is significantly more text-heavy than previous graphic novel adaptations I’ve read. It takes dialogue and expository passages straight from the book. As a result, there are many more text boxes into which the text was all squished. This made the text very small and hard to read at times. The book could have greatly benefited from a larger format (it was a little smaller than your usual trade paperback), or further editing to cut out some of the more unnecessary text.

The illustrations were lovely. They were whimsical and colorful and perfectly suited the lighter tone of The Hobbit. Even the darker places and passages were filled with a light and airy quality. I enjoyed them very much, and I could easily see the appeal for both older and younger readers. Like with the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions, I could see this edition being used by parents to introduce Tolkien to young children. It was in the teen graphic novel section at the public library I work at, but I’d say middle school children would be able to read it on their own.

While a bit too text-heavy for my taste, this was a wonderful adaptation of The Hobbit in graphic novel form. The illustrations will be the big appeal here, as they draw you into a whimsical and colorful Middle Earth.

– Kathleen

Tolkien, J.R.R. Adapted by Charles Dixon with Sean Deming. Illustrated by David Wenzel. The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic. 2001.

Fall Book Tag

It’s still November! We can still legit do the Fall Book Tag! We were tagged by Zezee With Books to do the Apple, Pumpkin Book Tag (which was a combo of two tags for her) and by Dani of Perspective of a Writer to do the Fall Time, Cozy Book & Manga Tag (in which she embellished). While they were quite different, they both had to do with fall, so we decided to combine the two into our own awesome mash-up! We alternated answering- can you figure out who answered each question?

From ZeZee’s Tag:

Granny Smith: An overbearingly sweet work or character

Faith is a kick ass heroine that also is super sweet. You go girl!

Red Delicious: A book that would be perfect if it was only judged by its cover

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Darkness Becomes Her. Man, the cover is beautiful and the synopsis was so good. But don’t be fooled. It’s a hot mess inside.

Golden Yellow: A book with yellow on the cover

Hark! A Vagrant has awesome riffs on history and literature, and is done so in an intelligent and hilarious manner.

McIntosh: A writer that has influenced or would influence your writing

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Isabel Allende! She definitely has influenced my (fan)fiction writing.

Honeycrisp: A book you have read that is in great demand

Written in 1986, this dystopian tale seems so very timely during our current political climate, and still is checked out regularly.

Gala: A work that fits under many genres

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Can’t talk enough about it – the Dark Tower series! An intoxicating mix of fantasy, Western, horror, and sci-fi.

Ambrosia: A long work that was easy to follow

The six book series Locke & Key kept me enthralled the entire time. Hoping for more books from this duo and the upcoming Hulu series. (Edit- now Netflix has the rights and is filming the series!)

Pumpkin Soup: A work that you first enjoyed, but then lost interest

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The Mistborn series. The first book was great! I could not make it more than a quarter of the way through the second book, though. *yawn* Booooring.

Pumpkin Picking: Within the last year, in which genre did you purchase the most books

Ummm….hello….what is the name of our blog? Graphic Novels of course!!!!!! Pictured is the graphic novel shelves at my library that I do all the purchasing for.

Pumpkin Painting: A book with magnificent illustrations

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Need I say more? (Actually, I did. In my review of TSS.)

Pumpkin Ice Cream: The most random work you would recommend

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I just finished this photography book by Gregory Crewdson.  Filled with surreal photographs that are dark and disquieting. A fascinating book that I looked at over and over again.

From Dani’s Tag:

Crunching Leaves 

The world is full of color Choose a book that had reds/oranges/yellows on the cover!

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Not a bad YA novel. Bonus because it takes place in part in autumn =P

Cozy Sweaters 

It’s finally cold enough to do warm cozy clothing  what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

This is my crazy favorite YA book. Young love in the 80’s…

Fall Storm

The wind is howling & the rain is pounding  Choose a book that you like to read on a stormy day…

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Man, if I’m in the mood to get spooked on a stormy day… this book is it. Beautifully unsettling.

Cool Crisp Air

Makes you breath freely  What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

Tyleet from the ElfQuest saga is my favorite elf! She’s kind, patient and steady. She’s not a flashy character but the kind of person/elf you’d always want by your side.

Hot Apple Cider

Warm autumn drink What under-hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

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*SLAMS FISTS ON THE TABLE* GIVE ME AN 8 SEASON TV SHOW ON THIS SERIES

Coat, Scarves, and Mittens

The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up   What’s the most embarrassing book cover that you’d like to keep hidden in public?

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This was an awesome book, but it just screams that I’m a geek for reading it.

Pumpkin Spice

Time for some Starbucks  What’s your favorite Fall time comfort foods (i.e. genres) and a book/manga that represents them.

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Fantasy ❤ Autumn is the best time to read fantasy, imo.

 

Thanks ladies for choosing us! We are not choosing to tag anyone, because fall is almost over, and our tag is a hopeless muddle of our favorite questions from the tags above. And now that this autumn tag is complete, we are ready for winter- bring it on!

(Okay, Nancy is obviously ready for winter, but I DEFINITELY am not… can’t wait for it to be over!!! I’m so sad autumn is almost finished 😭😭😭 )

-Nancy & Kathleen

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Bromances

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

This week, it’s all about the dudes! And their friendships!

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5. Roland and Eddie – The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

I know this one’s a little out there… but let’s be honest, this whole series is a little out there =P Roland and Eddie meet in the second book, when Roland essentially enters Eddie’s mind and helps him successfully (depending on your point of view) complete a heroin smuggling. Eddie gets sucked into Roland’s world, and though they definitely don’t start out as friends, they do come to a sort of understanding. Really, it just makes me laugh whenever Eddie throws out some word or phrase common in the ’80s and Roland becomes confused XD

(Plz no spoilers in the comments, as I’m maybe halfway through the third book =3 )

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4. Cadvan and Saliman – The Pellinor series by Alison Croggon

The main character of this series, Maerad, finds out she is a Bard when she stumbles across Cadvan in the keep where she lives as a slave. Cadvan becomes her mentor and companion throughout the series, and is just as interesting and complex as a character as Maerad. Cadvan’s good friend Saliman plays a large role in the series as well, and we get to know him better in the third book. Both Cadvan and Saliman speak highly of the other, and reminisce on their younger days when they learned the ways of Barding. Though they are apart for much of the series, you can tell they have a strong bond.

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3. Harry and Ron – Harry Potter

Ever since Ron asked Harry if he could sit on the train with him on their first ride to Hogwarts, these two boys have been best friends. Sure, they have their ups and downs, and periods they don’t speak to each other. But they have a special bond. Ron was Harry’s very first friend, and they’ve stayed together through thick and thin. You can’t really go on a quest to defeat the Dark Lord without becoming BFFs anyway.

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2. … Everyone – The Lord of the Rings

There really isn’t one bromance I’d pick over another when it comes to LoTR. It’s the whole thing. There’s Frodo and Sam, of course, whose rock-solid friendship is at the core of the series. Merry and Pippin are a lively duo, and are just as steadfast to the rest of the Fellowship as they are to each other. Legolas and Gimli each overcome the prejudices they have for the other’s races to become the best of friends. And there are many more besides. In a trilogy full of bromances, it’s very hard to pick just one! =P

(Also see my last sentence for Harry and Ron, ‘cuz it’s equally true here)

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1. Hawke/Inquisitor and Varric – Dragon Age II/Inquisition

Listen… Varric is the bestest best friend in a video game to ever exist. He’s definitely my favorite character in the entire series. Varric is a storyteller and a merchant prince of the Dwarves. He first appears in Dragon Age II, when he offers Hawke a place on his excavation of an abandoned dwarf settlement in the Deep Roads. Hawke and Varric are betrayed and left for dead underground by Varric’s brother, Bartrand, and Varric swears revenge. Hawke and Varric develop a fast friendship; underneath Varric’s storyteller’s swagger and wily ways, he has a heart of gold, and in some ways acts as Hawke’s conscience. It’s easy to fall in love with him as a character, and I was overjoyed to have him as a companion again in Dragon Age: Inquisition. My Inquisitor is probably no match for Hawke… but I hope she’s earned his friendship all the same.

Any of these bromances your favorites, too? =P

– Kathleen

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