“So they stumbled on through the weary end of the night, and until the coming of another day of fear they walked in silence with bowed heads, seeing nothing, and hearing nothing but the wind hissing in their ears. Before the next day dawned their journey to Mordor was over.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
First he brought Frodo close to the gates of Mordor and then he mowed the lawn. These are excerpts from 1944 letters from Tolkien to his son Christopher, published in Humphrey Carpenter’s J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography.
As someone on Twitter noted, this is a “reminder that great art is made on a normal Tuesday afternoon.”
“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, from the ending of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy
Christopher Tolkien passed away on January 15, 2020. RIP, guardian of Middle-earth.
Rayner Unwin, who became J.R.R. Tolkien’s publisher, wrote this review of The Hobbit in 1936. He was 10 and served as a test reader for his father, publisher Stanley Unwin, who published the book. The older Unwin believed that children were the best judges of children’s books, and he paid young Rayner 1 shilling for each review. “Good money in those days,” Rayner Unwin later remarked.
REPORT ON “THE HOBBIT” BY RAYNER UNWIN
30 Oct 1936
Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who lived in his hobbit-hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exiting time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they get to the lonely mountain; Smaug, the dragon who guards it is killed and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home — rich!
This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9.
This month, there has been a fresh push from Kuwaiti citizens who are fed up with official censorship, both outside the Ministry of Information and online, with Kuwaitis posting photos of the banned books in their personal libraries at #صور_كتاب_ممنوع_في_مكتبتك. Kuwaiti MA student Abrar Alshammari has been researching about censorship in Kuwait:
By Abrar Alshammari
Kuwait is currently experiencing a serious crisis of censorship. To the sorrow of many, it depicts almost literally the nightmare that Ray Bradbury portrayed in Fahrenheit 451.
In 2016, at the annual cultural conference of Nuqat in Kuwait City, award-winning Kuwaiti novelist Saud Al-Sanousi announced the horrific discovery that the Ministry of Information was burning banned books en masse, thousands of copies of his own novel Mama Hessa’s Mice included. The audience gasped in horror at the unimaginable atrocity of the state-sanctioned burning of literature, a blatant disrespect to books and their value…
Libraries are truly amazing places. Here are five inspirational library moments (read the whole post at z4short.com):
1. Trapped in the library door
“Please let me out and please let me in.” Irish poet Pat Ingoldsby sweetly recalls a 1950’s childhood memory. He got stuck in the library door with The Famous Five in one hand and a penny in the other to pay the overdue fine.
2. A story about a boy and a teacher, an atlas and reading
In this post, children’s writer Dawn Finch, a strong advocate of libraries, books and reading, tells how a former student of hers approached her and told her that she had taught him to read by using an atlas. It didn’t all have to be about stories, she had told him. Guess what became of the atlas boy?
3. Library on wheels
With no library nearby, a bookmobile saves the day in some remote villages in the south of Italy. A bright blue three-wheeled vehicle carrying a book house with red roof and a chimney. Behind the wheels of Il Bibliomotocarro, retired Italian schoolteacher Antonio La Cava who, after 42 years of teaching, took it upon himself to bring books to children. His mission is to instill in the children not only a love of reading but also of writing. Alongside the books, he brings with him new empty notebooks for the children to write their own stories. A true everyday hero. Read the whole story: Library on wheels
4. Stuffed animal sleepover in the library
This is just as cute as it sounds and brought a broad smile to the Internet. Somerville Public Library in Massachusetts, US hosted the stuffed animal sleepover. Kids left their animal buddies there for what would become an eventful night, with the librarians sharing images online. The animals enjoyed snacks, Lego building, reading and much more before they were safely tucked into bed, some of them among the books in the bookshelves.
5. Knit and listen
No matter how old or young you are, it feels good to be read to. The Deichman Library in Oslo invited people to bring their knitting with them and pop in for a “knit and listen” afternoon. A librarian, in front of a fake fireplace, read short stories to us while we all sat attentively with our knitting needles. I started on a new sock, knitted 24 rows during the one and a half hour session. This year they changed the name of these events to “Sit and listen.” You can still bring the knitting with you.