Do you have any advice for me?

Archive Home > The Books
Caro1984 13/Dec/2006 at 11:55 AM
New Soul Points: 104 Posts: 13 Joined: 07/Nov/2003

A few years ago (In January 2004), I tried to read the Lord of the Rings since I was a huge fan of the movies. I gave up in book 4 (the second half of The Two Towers) . For some reasons, I couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s because of the long descriptions... I want to give the lotr book a second chance. Do you have any advice for me?


Nenarye 13/Dec/2006 at 12:30 PM
Defender of Imladris Points: 839 Posts: 376 Joined: 08/Oct/2006
If the long descriptions are boring you, just have patience. (That’s kinda suprising, I know a lot of people on the plaza like the books more because of them. I know I do . . .)

But honestly, it’s kind of hard to give advide on how to read a book.   Well, I hope you end up reading them, it really is worth it.
GiorgosTurambar 13/Dec/2006 at 12:38 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 511 Posts: 66 Joined: 23/Apr/2005
If the long descriptions get boring to you, then maybe the books aren’t for you...
Still it would be good if you read them, and i think that if you persist and get on with it, you will be rewarded in the end.
Endril 13/Dec/2006 at 01:21 PM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
Caro: Try to read the books without thinking to much at what happened in the movie. If you do that you will think that the books are long and booring, something not true. You should try again reading them, or read the Hobbit first and then LOTR. The books are great and the source of the movies.
Kirinki54 13/Dec/2006 at 02:30 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Caro1984, I far from want to be patronizing, but all real rewards demands work. You simply have to apply yourself to get through what you perceive now as Ďtediousí passages. I can assure you it will be worth your efforts, and I guess there are a few thousand Plaza members that would agree. In a sense I envy you to have all these discoveries in front of you!

Hasufel 13/Dec/2006 at 02:47 PM
Esquire of the Mark Points: 4360 Posts: 3308 Joined: 13/Apr/2002
You might want to try finding a book on tape, or finding someone willing to read it aloud to you. Though I myself never had trouble getting through LotR, a friend of mine did--therefore, I’m reading the books out loud to her. She finds it much more palatable that way, and it’s alot of fun for both of us; we look forward to our daily "storytime" sessions! If you know of anyone who would be willing to read it aloud to you, I highly recommend it.
Dis 13/Dec/2006 at 02:53 PM
Ambassador of Erebor Points: 20811 Posts: 14283 Joined: 05/Aug/2003

Iíve known lots of people who donít like descriptive storytelling. Itís a matter of taste but you may find with time your tastes will change. There are lots of books I did not have the patience for years ago that are now my favourites. Hasufel has some very good suggestions.

Blackrose Bugg 13/Dec/2006 at 03:08 PM
New Soul Points: 21505 Posts: 30286 Joined: 19/Jan/2003
Like Hasufel - I recommend a good unabridged audio version.  HEARING the descriptions makes them come alive to many people.  I especially like to put them on when I am doing mindless housework- dishes, folding laundry, dusting, etc-  the kinds of things you do not have to concentrate on - and let the story take hold of my mind.  The work goes much faster, it seems - and the story sings for hours afterwards!
Falmarin 13/Dec/2006 at 04:31 PM
Herald of Imladris Points: 239 Posts: 40 Joined: 24/Oct/2006
i also had trouble getting through the books, and coincidentally, i put my reading on hold during the fourth book as well. Maybe its just the section of the book that seems less than thrilling, but for some reason, once i did get past it and into ROTK i got my enthusiasm back, and recently i re-read the trilogy and the Hobbit with much more ease. Good luck with your reading .
Nieliqui Vaneyar 13/Dec/2006 at 05:12 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

Caro1984, as some have suggested you could try the audio books.  The unabridged one I enjoyed was by Rob Inglis, as he really gets ’into’ the different characters voices and has a rather, um, interesting singing voice to sing the various songs and chants.

You could also wait for us to finish the Book Study Club of the The Hobbit where we are on Chapter 4 (only 15 to go).  There’s a good chance we will start LoTR when we’re finished. 

Other than that, you could just set a goal like so many pages or a chapter.  I do agree there are some long descriptive passages with little action, but that is also what makes Tolkien so interesting, he gives enough that you can almost imagine yourself being there along with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, or Sam and Frodo.

Catiri 13/Dec/2006 at 06:21 PM
Wise Ent of Fangorn Points: 4121 Posts: 3298 Joined: 11/Feb/2002

Want one ruler? why not just get two? have a look HERE at  this amazing chance, this is a limited time offer (and all officients are open to bribery for credits). Don’t forget the same offer goes for Supporting Membership aswell

Can Spam here Roh said so xx

halfir 13/Dec/2006 at 08:54 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Caro 1984: Try starting with Eragon and Eldest  first -  then when you  start The Two Towers again it will be like drinking the milk of paradise compared with a revolting draught of stagnant water!
Asha Greyjoy 13/Dec/2006 at 09:07 PM
Assassin of Umbar Points: 5958 Posts: 17382 Joined: 28/Dec/2002

Caro--It took me three tries to get through the entire trilogy and understand everything I read.

It is worth it in the end, but no matter how many times you read it, it’ll be a chore (albeit a supremely enjoyable one!)
Laielinwen 14/Dec/2006 at 01:04 AM
New Soul Points: 31115 Posts: 27324 Joined: 16/Mar/2002

Caro 1984... I think it is normal to have some parts that appeal to you less than others. The descriptions are wonderful to me, but I was not as thrilled with all of them the first time I read it. I’m not into battle scenes either really so that part of the story was not as appealing to me as other parts.

I’d advise you to just keep on keeping on... even if that means skimming a bit through those parts till it seems to pick up again for you. You may be like many of us and read it more than once in your lifetime. There is so much amazing stuff there that you will soon come to parts you enjoy greatly and you will find yourself lost again in the story.

The audio books are a great suggestion. Though real life happening around you may cause your mind to drift or you may become distracted. Each person is different. You could give those a try too and see how well you enjoy them. I love the feel of the book in my hands so I miss that aspect when doing the audio.

Nenarye 14/Dec/2006 at 11:51 AM
Defender of Imladris Points: 839 Posts: 376 Joined: 08/Oct/2006
halfir - You really do hate those books don’t you?

Although, what halfir is suggesting could be a way to get into the books again...

The audiobooks, as everyone else is saying, are a great alternitive to the books. Myself, I like reading the books more, but I have been known to listen to books on tape.
nEUroTIc 15/Dec/2006 at 07:29 AM
Defender of Imladris Points: 815 Posts: 157 Joined: 23/Aug/2006 happens..actually i like the book a lot and read it at a stretch..but when my friends read the book they complained that they dont understand the songs and rhymes..for example tom bombadils chapter is full of rhymes and no significant you have to realise what is important and what not..giveit a try once..and then if you still dont understand the it wil b easier to read it the 2nd time..because you can omit all the stuff that you have read already
geordie 15/Dec/2006 at 09:45 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
so you have to realise what is important and what not

Everything is important. Bombadil fulfills a vital part of the story; these chapters add great depth and mystery to the tale. And - in the spirit of interlace which Tolkien uses throughout the book - the sword which Merry uses to fell the Witch-King comes from the barrow incident which we see in that phase.

As for descriptive passages where nothing seems to happen. *sigh*

Some of Tolkien’s best writing is in the Bombadil chapters - the part where Frodo stands by the back door during a downpour and watches the chalky path turn ’into a little river of milk’ and run away down the hill. And the one where Tom tells of the history of the little land around him; sheep cropping grass; then Men come - green walls then white walls rise - then flame, and towers fall; back to sheep cropping grass again, then the hills are empty. Sounds like a coupla thousand years of British history right there.

You ask for advice - frankly - if you’ve got to book four and the story has’nt got hold of you then maybe this ain’t the tale for you. Nothing to be concerned about - it does’nt grab everyone the same way. If you do want to give the book a second chance, then I can only say what the professor said [or intimated] more than once - to read with attention. I’d take that to mean to read the book carefully; for enjoyment for what it is - not some adjunct of the movies. It’s worth it. Changed my life.

Wentwaley 15/Dec/2006 at 12:04 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 674 Posts: 231 Joined: 05/Dec/2006
Caro1984, Maybe you could start reading the chapters about which you’re more enthusiastic, like your favourite parts in the movies. Since you’ve seen them, you shouldn’t get too lost if you skip around a little. Once you begin to appreciate his writing, you could read it in order.
If you prefer reading about Aragorn and company, you could just go to Book V.   I thought things got a lot more exciting once they reached Ithilien in Book IV though, so if you’re not there yet I suggest getting there first and seeing if it still feels tedious (or skip if you’re lazy ).
Nieliqui Vaneyar 15/Dec/2006 at 12:31 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

geordie, you wrote - Everything is important

Well, yes, all things in the book are equally important, but as the pigs would say on Orwell’s Farm, some things are more equally important then others.  I really liked Tom and the story there and how it added to the story, but going through the woods getting to his house, it was like, ok, I can see that 2 feet past the hedge that the trees are menacing, but by about the 5th or so page of that it was now, enough with the trees already, I understand.

Like Sam and Frodo on the plains of Mordor, it was like great battles were raging across Middle-earth, ebbing and flowing, surging and receding, armies seemingly victorious and then unimagineable counters, and here are Sam and Frodo staggering another 3 feet. Thank goodness they were ’recruited’ by that orc army, something, anything to break the 3 feet and collapse motif.

geordie 15/Dec/2006 at 01:14 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Tolkien wrote [about The Lord of the Rings] ’It is written in my life-blood, such as it is, thick or thin, and I can no other’.

And Lewis wrote [in a review of one of the volumes] ’Here are beauties which pierce like swords, or burn like cold iron. Here is a book that will break your heart’.

That’s from memory - I think they’re pretty accurate quotes. Anyone who could write that about their work - or in the case of Lewis; anyone who could write that about someone else’s work - clearly lived in a different age to the one we have now. And a different world to one where we can have PJ using words like ’kewl’ to describe how he’d sit and think of ways for Legolas to show off a bit more - like surfing down the stairs, or whatever. It’s all a different tempo; and dare I say, if we want to read LotR and appreciate what Tolkien was doing with his ’life’s blood’ at the time, then it behoves us to take notice. Of what he wrote in the story; and when he wrote things in, and why.

Tolkien also said ’It’s a curse to have an epic temperament in an age devoted to snappy bits’.

Too true.
halfir 15/Dec/2006 at 05:28 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tolkien also said ’It’s a curse to have an epic temperament in an age devoted to snappy bits’. Amen to that!

I was reminded of Edmund Burkes fine words, set, paradoxically to most modern minds, in a passage lamenting the demise of Marie Antoinette (not Kirtsen Dunst!):

the age of chivalry is gone. ó That of sophisters, oeconomists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.{Reflections}

When some can seriously mention the rubbish that is Eragon in the same breath as LOTR then Tolkien’s words ring like a clarion call. We have indeed suffered - and are suffering - as Jules Benda wrote so seminally some 80 or so years ago :

’La trahison des clercs’

Morgil 16/Dec/2006 at 12:39 AM
Minstrel of Lothlorien Points: 2614 Posts: 3542 Joined: 10/Dec/2008
halfir...If you keep mentioning the master’s works in the same sentence as Eragarbage, I’m going to email you and autographed photo of David Day.   
halfir 16/Dec/2006 at 02:25 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Nieliqui Vaneyar 16/Dec/2006 at 07:47 AM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

I will try to keep this about books, but I found some viewer reviews of the movie, Eragon, online the other day and itís quite funny to read how seriously those fans take Paoliniís book and think the movie version is rubbish.  I can see the same apoplexy of ídevotedí Eragon fans as I sometimes see here.  Truly, books are better than the movies.  (but of course, taken in context, if Eragon is that bad a book and the devoted fans are trashing the movie, one can only imagine how bad the movie is - except for Alec Guiness’, no, wait, um,Ian McKellen?, oops, I meant their stand-in, Jeremy Irons, performance,)

Ok, my advice is - read the books, some parts may take a little more focusing than others, but the entire experience is far more than worth it.

Laielinwen 16/Dec/2006 at 08:08 AM
New Soul Points: 31115 Posts: 27324 Joined: 16/Mar/2002
Battlehamster 16/Dec/2006 at 09:31 AM
Horse-lord of the Mark Points: 1401 Posts: 515 Joined: 10/Nov/2006

I haven’t seen the movie, but I read this one review where it said that watching Irons have to say some line about how before he can use his powers he "must first learn the magical language of the elves."

It’s really sad how now people don’t seem able to distinguish between a true epic and a really really long book.  Just because it’s about 700 pages does not make it an "epic" story. coughHarryPottercoughcoughEragoncough

Although on a happy side of things, I think that George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire is really good.  Although I get very irritated when I read the promotional blurbs where reviewers talk about how, unlike LotR and most fantasy, SoIaF has "moral complexity" and stuff like that.  Grrr...

Caro1984 19/Dec/2006 at 11:04 AM
New Soul Points: 104 Posts: 13 Joined: 07/Nov/2003

Thank you so myuch everyone!

I’m actually a Harry Potter fan. I love the books AND the movies. However, I tried reading Eragon and I don’t like it. I don’t like Christopher Paolini’s  writing style. It’s so simple that it makes it hard for me to read it.

I’m thinking about reading LOTR to my mother (she’s also a huge fan of the movies) or reading one chapter a day. Maybe it will make my reading easier...  

Jinniver Thynne 21/Dec/2006 at 02:23 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

geordie - "Some of Tolkien’s best writing is in the Bombadil chapters - the part where Frodo stands by the back door during a downpour and watches the chalky path turn ’into a little river of milk’ and run away down the hill. And the one where Tom tells of the history of the little land around him; sheep cropping grass; then Men come - green walls then white walls rise - then flame, and towers fall; back to sheep cropping grass again, then the hills are empty. Sounds like a coupla thousand years of British history right there."

Yes! Those chapters are an absolute dream (possibly quite literally) and it’s from those that I can trace my whole interest in history, archaeology, British myth. Deeply significant for me, stunning, dark and light, etc. etc. Can’t pile enough superlatives onto this section!

I’ve tried to get a number of people ’into’ Tolkien and lots of them fall down at Bombadil and I can only sigh with frustration because I love that part so much. I think it’s that some want the ’swords and sorcery’ element of the books as that’s what they’ve somehow come to believe they contain, but at root they are magical in a different way and it’s not all about shouting and killing Orcs, its also about mystery.

Thankfully my friend’s nephews were read these chapters (I have no idea why my friend read these to them, but he did, after the little lads had seen the films) and now they play at being "Tom Bombadil".

Anyway. Stuck on the books? I know many a deeply committed fan who didn’t get through them all in one sitting the first time out, so don’t beat yourself up over it!
Arvellas 21/Dec/2006 at 02:33 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 5462 Posts: 3016 Joined: 16/May/2006
Caro-It’s great that you show interest in getting through LOTR, even if it is a bit difficult in places.  I know the first time I read it, I felt that it was rather boring and long-winded in places, but I kept on reading anyway, and in the end it was more than worth it.  Upon reading it a second time, I also found that the boring and long-winded parts did not seem so boring and long-winded anymore; you get to like them, if you can make yourself tough it out that first time.  Just take it at your own pace--read just a couple of pages at a time if you have to (that was how I got through the Council of Elrond).  The main thing is that you just have to keep going and don’t give up hope--just like Frodo.
Sulvitari 23/Dec/2006 at 01:52 PM
Horse-lord of the Mark Points: 1627 Posts: 1951 Joined: 22/Mar/2004

Try reading them a little bit at a time. For me, I would always want to just finish the book, but that makes me really impatient during the descriptive parts of any book. It’s worth your time to take your time because if you dont, youre likely to give up or just gloss over parts-- and miss out on the plot.
Also ask yourself if you are reading the book or just seeing the words. If you’re really reading, you will think about the words and what Tolkien is communicating, and youre more likely to feel the depth of the world Tolkien is creating in his books.

Jaz 24/Dec/2006 at 06:20 AM
Builder of the Shire Points: 1739 Posts: 720 Joined: 25/May/2006
If it’s book four that is getting in the way of you finishing the books, I’d say skip it, then come back to it later. Book four was the hardest from my point of view as well, although I do love the bits when they finally reach Cirith Ungol. I’m sure there are lots of people here who find skipping parts of books absolutely horrendous, but in my opinion that section gets easier after you’ve red RofTK.
Poppy Burrows 25/Dec/2006 at 02:48 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 174 Posts: 43 Joined: 25/Dec/2006
I am trying to read the books too! i’m finding it quite hard just like you. how ever i don’t think its the long discriptions that i find boring... I don’t know what it is but they are hard to read. It’s proberly because their so old. My mum read them to me when i was little and i have read parts of them over and over again and of cource i love the movies, but as i’ve never actualy read them all the way through on my own i will get through it! lol. Good luck to you and I think they are well worth struggerling through!
Captain Bingo 25/Dec/2006 at 03:50 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
I’ve read LotR a good 15 times (which, I suppose, puts me in the average for the Plaza - was gonna put a smiley in there but I suspects its probably true)

Yet the first time I attempted it I stopped at the end of Book 1 & didn’t go back for six months. You know why - I missed Bilbo!. All through Book 1 I was wanting to get back to the High Adventure of Bilbo’s quest & it alll seemed very slow & complicated. However, when I did pick FotR up again I hardly put the thing down till I’d finished.

I haven’t heard the unabridged reading, but I have to say that the BBC adaptation is also a good place to start if you’re struggling with the books. That captures the mood of the story in a way the movies never did (for me).

As to the events of Book 4. I kind of understand. At least, when I first read the book I wanted through the Frodo-Sam-Gollum section as fast as possible. Now its my favourite part & affects me much more deeply than all the ’battle & war’ stuff in Books 3 & 5. Maybe that’s an age thing.

Persevere. Maybe you won’t come to love the book in the end, but there are many worse ways to spend your time. However, if you do stick with them maybe you’ll make the connection & find a real treasure. If I could offer one word of advice - don’t read them in order to become an ’expert’. Don’t see them as the start of years of serious study. Don’t, in short, treat them as a chore. Just let yourself be carried away by the story. Enjoy it - that’s why Tolkien wrote it.   
Arvellas 25/Dec/2006 at 07:30 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 5462 Posts: 3016 Joined: 16/May/2006

Tallulla Burro-Good for you, and hope you manage to read the whole thing all the way through, because it certainly is a most wonderful experience.  It is true that Tolkien does use language that is more old-fashioned than what most modern writers use, and also his writing gives you a lot to think about, which can tire one’s brain, but if that is the case, it means you’re really reading it, both on the lines and between them.

And of course, never leave out the Appendices!  It can feel in places as though you are reading history textbook, but they are a treasure-trove of information!

Poppy Burrows 26/Dec/2006 at 04:12 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 174 Posts: 43 Joined: 25/Dec/2006
Arvellas- Thank you for the sopport and I am sure I will get throught them!  Thier really good i’m sure. And I will be sure not to leave out the appendixes either! Your right about it seeming as if your reading a text book lol But there we are, no pain no gain.
Battlehamster 26/Dec/2006 at 02:10 PM
Horse-lord of the Mark Points: 1401 Posts: 515 Joined: 10/Nov/2006

Textbook?!  Well, I suppose there are a wide variety of textbooks, so the appendices could be about as interesting as some of the most interesting ones.  Like Howard Zinn’s book.  There are some dry bits in the appendices, but there are some really fun parts, too.  I love how, when you’re reading the timeline there’re all the battles and councils and kings’ deaths and then there’ll be something like "Tobold Hornblower begins growing pipeweed in the Shire."