Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Two Towers...random thoughts

First of all, I just have to say thank you to you all for the incredibly sweet comments you left yesterday! I was literally left in tears over all your kind words! There are still times when this whole blogging thing just totally amazes me...how I can feel so close to people I've never even met. How people I've never laid my eyes on can bring me such joy. How I can consider people whom I will probably never see face-to-face real, true friends. Yep, it still boggles my mind at times. Anyway, thank you!

So, about this book...

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What really can I say about it? You know, how exactly do you go about reviewing a book that nearly everyone on the planet has already read? A book that is so adored and treasured. I'm at a loss. Truly. But I feel like I "should" say something since I've used it as a challenge read. So, I'll just throw out a few thoughts and call it good.

I think I mentioned (but I'm too lazy to actually go look) when I finished The Fellowship of the Ring, that I had come to think of my reading time spent with these books as a "gift to myself". That's really what it is. I know it's taken me forever to read The Two Towers, but the reason isn't because I didn't enjoy reading it or that it didn't hold my interest. Quite the opposite, in fact. I wanted to savor the experience. So I refused to pick it up for a minute here, and five minutes there like I do with most books. That's just how most of my reading is fit into my days. But this wasn't a book I picked up as I stirred the spaghetti sauce or waited on hold "for the next available customer service representative". No, I saved this for those rare times when I could curl up and know that I could read uninterrupted. Sometimes that meant I went for a couple weeks without picking it up, but I was always carried immediately right back into Middle Earth as soon as I opened the pages again.

This is one (well, by one, I actually mean the trilogy) of those rare books, that so gracefully takes you away from your own life and transports you to its own world. You don't just imagine you're there...you ARE there. I have to admit, in some ways, I didn't love this second book as much as the first. It's just that I enjoyed the story in the first better; I loved when they were still all together. But then again, with the second book, I was for some reason more able to enjoy Tolkien's extremely beautiful writing. I know some people think he can really babble on at times, and I think that notion is what kept me from reading these books for so long. But if what he's doing is babbling, I say babble on! His rich descriptions are one of the reasons I think I can so easily "live in" this story.

It was dreary and wearisome. Cold clammy winter still held sway in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long-forgotten summers.

You not only see it, but you feel it and you smell it and you can even nearly taste the air, can't you?

Every step was reluctant, and time seemed to slow its pace, so that between the raising of a foot and the setting of it down minutes of loathing passed.

I literally felt my body shrink up in fear and dread as I read this. Seriously, could he have worded that any more perfectly? I think not.

Oh man, it's me who is beginning to babble now, isn't it? Only I don't do it with such skill and grace and beauty, so I'll just shut up now.


If you've reviewed this, please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll post it here. Please! These books obviously deserve better than my rambling.


Read for:

Pure and utter enjoyment!

Inklings Challenge.

Numbers Challenge.

Initials Challenge.


gail@more than a song said...

These are probably my kids favorite books! And I really should read them sometime!

Jessica said...

Wow. What a beautiful review. Thanks for pointing out the writing. Everyone knows that Tolkien was a master of plot and world-building, but I'm sure that the reason his books are classics is the writing.

Carl V. said...

I'm glad you savored it as you did, it truly is a book that deserves to be that way. I like each 'book' in the series better then the last, I think mostly because as much as I love Tolkien I felt that the beginning quarter of Fellowship was a bit of a mess and that his writing didn't coalesce well until he got farther into it. But that is just a minor quibble. I love them all and Two Towers was great. Loved reading Return even more. You did a great job sharing your thoughts and enthusiasm about this one. I look forward to what you think about Return of the King.

BTW, I left a question in response to your last comment on my Interview post.

Medbie said...

My husband and I read them together--two copies but only read them at the same time, same pace--and we both felt like you did, "transported" to that world. He's just incredible! It's such a joy to see someone else be enthusiastic about the books as well!

Nymeth said...

Beautiful review, Debi. This is certainly one to be savoured. I think that reading this trilogy slowly somehow adds to the "epicness" of it. After are, such a long time passes from when they first leave the Shire to when they finally return home. I read these slowly, too, and I felt that it made me appreciate the passing of time in the story more. Does that make sense?

Debi said...

Yes, it makes perfect sense! I hadn't really thought of it before, but I think it's a wonderful point!