Wednesday, 10 February 2010
This is a bit of a difficult and stressful week for me. I have two interviews (one of which was today and the other on Friday), both for jobs I really want. One of them even includes an exam, something I thought I was done with a long time ago. I am using parts of my brain this week that I mothballed sometime in 2003.
With that in mind, I knew I wouldn't be much good in trying to take on a new book this week. Even though I currently have Wolf Hall, A Little Stranger, Nixonland and The Gun and the Olive Branch all sitting by my bedside table begging to be read, I have chosen instead to immerse myself into re-reading The Lord of the Rings. This is the ultimate in comfort reading.
I first read LotR when I was 12. I needed a book to do my first book report in English when I started secondary school. Goaded on by my brother and dad, I decided to read LotR in two weeks. Predictably, I didn't actually sleep for that entire fortnight. It was worth it however when I presented my English teacher with a 40 page fully illustrated and bound book report, earning her eternal devotion as a teacher, and my classmates eternal derision. Pretty much from that moment on, I was tagged the class swot.
Luckily, the horror of secondary school fades after a bit, and I am still left with a life-long love of LotR. I can still remember the feverish intensity with which I read it the first time and the unadulterated pleasure of re-reading it many times since. It's been a while since I read the entire thing in one go - I have often just picked up one of the books, or read certain sections. The last time I read the whole book was abut seven or eight years ago when I was ill over Christmas (and yes that does include the Introduction and Appendices!).
For me, its like a warm blanky, the same way that I feel about the films. That's not to say I consume it passively. I am already at Weathertop with Frodo, Strider and the other hobbits and I have barely been able to put it down. Its fun also to read it with the films so firmly ingrained in my mind, to wonder once more at the incredible job that Jackson and Co did in adapting the books. I picture the actors in my head now as I read, but this hasn't narrowed my enjoyment of the books, but made them more vivid and enjoyable.
I will probably wrap up the Fellowship sometime at the weekend when I may get the chance to write a longer piece before delving into The Two Towers. Its one of the few things that has successfully distracted me from the job hunt.