Book Shelf 2007

Here’s some highlights of our 2007 readings!

Narn I Chîn Húrin — The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien (Edited by Christopher Tolkien)

The Children of Hurin -- Picture taken from barnesandnoble.com

The Children of Húrin is part of the J.R.R. Tolkien world. The story was originally conceived by him, but this (and a handful of others) was put together by his son Christopher Tolkien (who himself will be turning 83 next month). You can understand much about how the book comes together by reading the preface and introduction — but personally I find that to be boring when I just want to start reading the actual story.

The book is a sad, miserable tale of men and elves (especially men, I think). Húrin, the book’s namesake, is a ruler of men who is captured by the evil Morgoth. There isn’t that much in the book about Húrin, but the story is about him and his family, mainly his son, Túrin.
Yes, the book is confusing with names. It takes a while to get into it and some turning back pages before I could get the hang of who’s who. There is a list of names at the back of the book as well as a family tree of sorts, which I suppose helps if I knew it was there before I finished. Part of the confusion is not just telling the difference between Húrin, Huor, Tuor, and Túrin, but also that characters often have multiple names. Túrin, for example, went by many names including Adanedhel, Agarwaen, and Turambar. Of course animals have names as well as physical objects like the swords Anglachel, Anguirel, and Aranrúth. It’s added confusion when the Túrin goes by the name of Mormegil which is also the name of the black sword. The list of names at the back of the book is 19 pages long.

As you can tell from above, like the Lord of the Rings, The Children of Húrin is written in English along with Tolkien-created languages (e.g. Elvish). Narn I Chîn Húrin: The sad tale of the Children of Húrin’s is primarily about their misfortune and the misfortune of those they love. It’s a book about deciding what’s right and walking the line between fate and free will.

On page 42 a young Túrin speaks with his friend and servant Sador (aka Labadal). Sador explains how he got his injury in battle, or really that he performed well in battle, but wanted to leave and when he he got permission to return home he got his injury, “And there I got my hurt; for a man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.” They then get into a conversation about what is fate and what is the fate of man. A little crazy of a conversation considering Túrin was eight years old at the time.

I’m happy I read it and maybe I’ll be motivated to read more of the Tolkien tales. Besides this, I’ve read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I’ll post about the others if I get around to reading them. It’s kind of weird because they are all individual stories about middle earth in a given time period, but there is also overlap between the tales. The Children of Húrin is a good book for those that wanted more information about the story of Húrin’s family and for people that like to read about sadness.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling

Harry Potter 7 -- Picture taken from barnesandnoble.com

Ian and Val both read this one and even own separate copies!

Ian says: It was a very quick read for a 759 page book. I was very excited to find out what would happen and kept turning page after page without being able to put the book down (of course I had to take some breaks, but we both finished it the weekend it came out). The book was very different than the previous six, although book six really led up to it being so. At the end of book six I really felt that unlike the 1-5, there was a real cliffhanger. It got wrapped up in this book and I don’t care what you say — I was thoroughly pleased to see an epilogue of how they’re doing years later. It was silly, but I still liked it.
Val says: I really enjoyed this book. I wanted to be prepared, so in the weeks up to the release I re-read the entire series, finishing book 6 only hours before book 7 was to be released! I finished reading Deathly Hallows 12 hours after obtaining it at the midnight release! Such a page turner, I could not stop once I started. Though it went by quickly, I spent the next day reading over key chapters. Certain things that I hoped would happen, did happen, and yet there were also some surprises. Overall it was a fitting end to the series, although I did feel that I still wanted more after I finished.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Val started reading this, but never finished.

After seeing it on the bookshelf for a while, eventually, Ian picked it up and read through the 500 pages.

Ian says: It was an enjoyable read. The author was fifteen when he wrote this, so keep that in mind. It’s both incredibly impressive for a fifteen year old and a good book regardless. That said, it’s not the best book I’ve ever read. It had some excitement to it and I kept reading. In fact, when I finished the book, I picked up the sequel (Eldest).

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

After reading Eragon, Ian continued on to read the sequel.

Ian says: This is book two of three in the Inheritance Trilogy. I don’t know when the third book with be coming out. I read this one right after I finished Eragon. Let’s put it this way: It was a fun book to read and for days after I finished this, I kept thinking about what will happen next. There were some weird parts in it (such as the main characters shift in appearance), but I do want to know how the series will end, so I guess that makes it a good read. A pretty fast read for 690 pages.

Charmed Knits — Projects for Fans of Harry Potter ® by Alison Hansel

Charmed Knits -- Picture taken from barnesandnoble.com

Val says: Innovative designs (for knitting) based on the Harry Potter series (books and movies)! Some of the designs look simple enough for a beginner like me. Other designs look a little more challenging and I’m looking forward to trying them. One of them is a cute little Errol the owl that I can’t wait to try! Another that looks fun is a Weasley sweater (yeah, I’ll be just like Molly).

Guns, Germs, and Steel — The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel -- Picture taken from barnesandnoble.com

Val says: I started this a long time ago. I am not sure if I agree with some of the author’s points, but the concepts are interesting, so I’m hoping I’ll pick it back up and finish soon.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One hundred years of solitude -- Picture taken from barnesandnoble.com

Val says: This is another one I started, but never finished. I’m about halfway done. I think it’s beautifully written, but it’s taken me a bit longer to get into the story and really appreciate it.

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