Humble Bundle is an online charitable service that offers content from various ebook, audiobook and computer software companies at very low prices, with a portion of all sales going to charity. This week's book bundle includes The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings books, and two other secondary collections - Tolkien and the West and The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings (note that last one clocks in at over 26 hours of audiobook content!). Depending on what you pay, you get some or all of these titles, but you can have all of them for a minimum donation of $15.
The editions for the primary titles are all the original American full cast dramatizations as broadcast on National Public Radio.
The Hobbit - 4.25 hours
The Fellowship of the Ring - 3.5 hours
The Two Towers - 3.5 hours
The Return of the King - 3.5 hours
The Modern Scholar: Tolkien and the West: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Europe
The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are quite possibly the most widely read pieces of literature written in the 20th Century. But as Professor Michael Drout illuminates in this engaging course of lectures, Tolkien's writings are built upon a centuries-old literary tradition that developed in Europe and is quite uniquely Western in its outlook and style. Drout explores how that tradition still resonates with us to this day, even if many Modernist critics would argue otherwise. He begins the course with the allegory of a tower - a device which Tolkien himself crafted in one of the most famous academic works of all time - as a way to illuminate how Tolkien's works continue and build upon a tradition that goes back as far as Beowulf itself. Drout's lectures take us on a literary journey that explores Tolkien's most celebrated writings: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. As he brings these works life, he explains Tolkien's technique and themes, which he shows reverberate all the way back though the western literary tradition. In the end Drout shows us how J.R.R. Tolkien crafted literary worlds that the reader cares desperately about and wishes to save.
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings
A stirring group biography of the Inklings, the Oxford writing club featuring J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis C.S.
Lewis is the twentieth century's most widely read Christian writer and J.R.R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. For three decades, they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis's Oxford rooms and a nearby pub. They read aloud from works in progress, argued about anything that caught their fancy, and gave one another invaluable companionship, inspiration, and criticism.
In The Fellowship, Philip and Carol Zaleski offer the first complete rendering of the Inklings' lives and works. Lewis maps the medieval mind, accepts Christ while riding in the sidecar of his brother's motorcycle, becomes a world-famous evangelist and moral satirist, and creates new forms of religiously attuned fiction while wrestling with personal crises. Tolkien transmutes an invented mythology into a breathtaking story in The Lord of the Rings, while conducting groundbreaking Old English scholarship and elucidating the Catholic teachings at the heart of his vision. This extraordinary group biography also focuses on Charles Williams, strange acolyte of Romantic love, and Owen Barfield, an esoteric philosopher who became, for a time, Saul Bellow's guru. Romantics who scorned rebellion, fantasists who prized sanity, Christians with cosmic reach, the Inklings sought to revitalize literature and faith in the twentieth century's darkest years--and did so.
In case you missed Doug's offer on his blog, he has extra hardcover copies of Tales Before Tolkien that he edited, and he is offering them for $13 postpaid (to USA, inquire for international shipping costs) for the month of January.
Here is the table of contents:
Introduction “The Elves” by Ludwig Tieck “The Golden Key” by George Macdonald “Puss-Cat Mew” by E. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen “The Griffin and the Minor Canon” by Frank R. Stockton “The Demon Pope” by Richard Garnett “The Story of Sigurd” retold by Andrew Lang “The Folk of the Mountain Door” by William Morris “Black Heart and White Heart: A Zulu Idyll” by H. Rider Haggard “The Dragon Tamers” by E. Nesbit “The Far Islands” by John Buchan “The Drawn Arrow” by Clemence Housman “The Enchanted Buffalo” by L. Frank Baum “Chu-bu and Sheemish” by Lord Dunsany “The Baumoff Explosive” by William Hope Hodgson “The Regent of the North” by Kenneth Morris “The Coming of the Terror” by Arthur Machen “The Elf Trap” by Francis Stevens “The Thin Queen of Elfhame” by James Branch Cabell “The Woman of the Wood” by A. Merritt “Golithos the Ogre” by E. A. Wyke-Smith “The Story of Alwina” by Austin Tappan Wright “A Christmas Play” by David Lindsay Author Notes and Recommended Reading
Having ordered an inscribed one myself, my next goal is to get all of the contributors to sign it as well.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first publication of The Lord of the Rings, The Tolkien Society is offering The Ring Goes Ever On: Proceedings of the Tolkien 2005 Conference for the discount price of £10 (plus shipping). At a whopping 835 pages in two oversized volumes, this publication contains nearly 100 articles from the likes of Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, John Garth and Dimitra Fimi. This low price is quite a deal for this much scholarship. I asked the Society for how long the discount price will be available - it sounds like it could go back up again in as little as a few months from now.
Recently I moved to a new house which has some built in bookshelves in my office space (some pictured right, please excuse the debris which still has not found appropriate homes scattered around the books). As I do not yet have the budget to design and build a personal library to perfection, I (and assumably most of you) have to make due with the space we have. One of the things I struggled with here and in my previous house was how to shelve my book collection so that it is well protected, but also useful and accessible. Specifically, my major concern is the lighting in the room - natural sunlight as well as the lighting built into the house itself. Ultraviolet light (UV) is damaging to many types of artwork and ink colors - this is what causes your dustjackets to have faded spines where the color is washed out compared to other parts of the dust jacket that have not been exposed to the same harsh lighting. So minimizing your collections exposure to UV light is critical.
My previous house I had some inexpensive built-in shelves with glass doors that were UV protected, to minimize damage from the natural light in the room. The only space in the house that the books could fit also had a large skylight, and as I was living in California, bright sunny days were the norm for 95% of the year and the books had a lot of sunlight hitting them most of the day. You can see some of the collection below.
The new book room has a nice large window, but it is well shaded by the roofline and plants outdoors, and has a high quality shade that I keep closed except when I am in the room and the sunlight is not entering the room. So from a sunlight perspective, the books are doing rather well. The construction of the room, however, has four very prominent light fixtures in the ceiling pointing down at the shelves - you can see the brightness in the first photo above. Without dimming the room to unusability, I wanted to get the best quality light for my day job (I work from home in this room as well).
Standard incandescent light bulbs produce a lot of UV light. Also, they produce a lot of Infrared light (IR) as well - in other words, heat - this is why you don't want to touch a lit incandescent light bulb - they can even start fires in enclosed spaces. Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) produce a lot less heat, but still produce damaging UV. I also personally don't like them because they are nowhere near full spectrum (the light they emit has large gaps in color frequencies) and they take so long to warm up - a room lit with CFL bulbs can take 10-15 minutes to reach full brightness. Recently, LED bulbs have been introduced and come down in price enough that they are a viable alternative.
Take a look at the spectrum chart at right to see the different light frequency outputs of the various bulb types. (Image borrowed from an excellent Scientific American article on new light bulb types A better kind of lightbulb?) You will see the incandescent spectrum puring out a tremendous amount of red and infrared frequencies (the chart used does not show the full UV spectrum, by the way). See also the CFL line with all the peaks and valleys. The LED bulb curve comes fairly close to the human visual spectrum, with a small bump down in the blue region due to the way the LEDs work.
Given this level of research, I was fairly certain that I wanted to use LED lights but needed to know more about their damaging UV output. There are claims that they have no UV output at all (not completely true), but surely someone else had done some research in this area as well? Sure enough, I was able to track down research done by the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Getty Conservations Institute for museum lighting recommendations - Guidelines for Selecting Solid State Lighting for Museums (pdf). The tremendous amount of work put into that research paper was exactly what I was interested in, and confirmed that there are reasonable LED light fixtures available in 2011 when the paper was published, and certainly more choices today.
I was able to find an LED bulb type that was perfect for my space and lighting needs, and not expensive either - about $5 per bulb. As an aside, that price seems high for a light bulb, but given that these are rated to last 25,000 hours (about 10 years for the number of hours per day) and they use about 80% less electricity, they will pay for themselves in less than two years over a cheap incandescent bulb and save a lot more for as long as they don't stop working. The bulb itself claimed that it had no UV output and was suitable for artwork display purposes, and the manufacturer was easily contacted and provided the test data sheets from when they had the bulb certified (UL, Energy Star, RoHS). The spectrum tends towards the warm (2700K, meaning closer to red than blue) and has an excellent Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 93+. CRI measures how accurate colors will look under this bulb relative to a "perfect" light source, and anything above 90 is considered excellent. Here is the spectrum for the bulb I selected:
The bulbs are now installed, the books are looking lovely, and I am again confident that my dustjackets will still look new in the years to come!
In conclusion, for your own collection - Avoid sunlight at all costs. Do whatever you have to do to eliminate direct sun exposure, and even minimize ambient/reflected sunlight getting to your books. Seriously consider good quality LED light bulbs in the rooms with your book collection. LED bulbs have come way down in price, are dimmable, have almost no heat and last for many many years of regular usage. Just make sure you find a good quality brand that has minimal UV output claimed, and enjoy your well lit collection! Note that it is still a good idea to keep the lights off whenever possible, as any exposure to light may have detrimental effects, even if truly minimal.
Lulu.com is having a one-day flash sale with 30% off books and calendars from their print-on-demand catalog. I used the opportunity to finally pick up a full set of the issues 1-50 of Vinyar Tengwar from The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship. There are a lot of important articles in this journal, including many primary pieces from Tolkien himself - see The Vinyar Tengwar homepage for a list of contents for all the issues.
There are also many other gems on Lulu hidden amongst the more common vanity items. I found The Spanish Tolkien Society's journal Nolmë back issues available, Oliver Loo's A Tolkien English Glossary, and Quettar (published from 1980 to 1995 as the Bulletin of the Linguistic Fellowship of the Tolkien Society) in my brief browsing around this morning.
Today only, save 30% on print books and calendars when you use code NOVFLASH30 at checkout. This offer expires November 10 at 11:59 PM. Don't forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive. The fine print: This offer cannot be combined with other discounts and is not valid for eBooks or publishing services. Discounts cannot be applied to previous purchases.
I thought those of you not using Twitter (or just happened to miss these) would enjoy some additional images of the Lord of the Rings map annoted by Tolkien and Baynes that have been shared over there. I will update this with additional pics as I come across them (or share in the comments). I wish I could get over there to see this (or better, afford to buy it!)
UPDATE: Two very nice tweets from Blackwell's with additonal detail and transcriptions:
Omentielva is the familiar name for the International Conference on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Invented Languages. The proceedings of each Omentielva conference is published in volumes titled Arda Philology.
Arda Philology 5, the Proceedings of Omentielva Lempea, was published in September 2015. This volume from the fifth conference contains five papers and three haiku in Quenya:
J. ‘Mach’ Wust: The Sindarin Tengwar Modes
Måns Björkman: “On the Points of Her Toes”: Some Notes on the Development of “Nieninque”
Valeria Barouch: Lifehouses, Houselights and Other Encounters
Roman Rausch: Explanation of the Word hobbit
Helge K. Fauskanger: Note on the Cross-compatibility of Quenya Vocabulary from Different Stages
Marianne Larose, Sascha Mücke, Roman Rausch: Haiku
Omentielva Otsea, The Seventh International Conference on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Invented Languages will be held on 10 – 13 August 2017 in California. Go to the Omentielva website for more information and to order a copy of the latest (and some back issues of) Arda Philology.
By request I am republishing this article from The Tolkien Society below - this is an interesting little piece of the creation of the history of Middle-earth, in Tolkien's own handwriting.
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are auctioning a letter which explains the creation of Estella Brandybuck née Bolger, the wife of Meriadoc Brandybuck, on the 22nd October 2015.
When The Return of the King was published in 1955, Tolkien created Appendix C which did not contain a wife for Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry). In the Note on the Text by Douglas Anderson in recent published copies of The Lord of the Rings, Douglas wrote "Soon after this he sent a small number of further revisions to Ballantine for the appendices, including the now well-known addition of ‘Estella Bolger’ as wife of Meriadoc in the family trees in Appendix C."
Additional information on Estella Bolger is given in note one of The Family Trees chapter of The Peoples of Middle-earth (edited by Christopher Tolkien) "On one of his copies of the First Edition he added to the genealogy of the Tooks… ‘Estella’ as the sister of Fredegar and her birth-date 1385; and to the Brandybuck genealogy he added to Meriadoc ‘= Estella Bolger 1385’, noting beside this that he told a correspondent in 1965 that ‘I believe he married a sister of Fredegar Bolger of the Bolgers of Budgeford’."
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are auctioning the letter mentioned in The Peoples of Middle-earth on the 22nd October 2015 in their 20th Century Books and Works on Paper sale in London.
The auction gives some additional detail on how Tolkien created the character of Estella. The letter was dictated, typed and signed by Tolkien’s secretary of the time, Baillie Knapheis, and the typed text stated "Your question about who Merry married is an interesting one, but unfortunately the answer is not recorded."
While the letter was being typed Tolkien appears to have decided that the answer should be recorded i.e. Merry should be married and that a suitable candidate would be the sister of one of Merry’s best friends, Fredegar (Fatty) Bolger.
Tolkien came up with the name, Estella and also added her to the Bolger and Brandybuck family trees in The Lord of the Rings. Estella’s name was also underlined, indicating that she had been a guest at Bilbo’s party. Due to various publication problems, Estella has only recently appeared in all copies of the Appendix C of The Return of the King.
I must say that I have to now get a copy of the Chinese Lord of the Rings with the cover art pictured above by Jian Guo, it is just stunning! Of course, I will (again) be getting this edition of the Beyond Bree calendar as they are always well constructed, well edited, and full of beautiful art work year in and year out. These are published in small numbers, so get your pre-order in as soon as you can.
Take a journey through the Landscapes of Middle-earth with the
Beyond Bree Calendar for 2016
Beyond Bree celebrates its 35th anniversary with fantastic art from around the world.
Come delight to the works of your favorite artists such as Anke Eissmann, Tim Kirk, Octo Kwan, Ruth Lacon, Jef Murray, Gordon Palmer, Ted Nasmith, and Colin Williams. Thrill as we introduce new artists Joe Gilronan and Glenn Hernandez. And help us welcome our special guest artist Jian Guo, cover illustrator of Wen Jing Publishing's Chinese language edition of Lord of the Rings (pictured above) as we travel through the landscapes of JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth!
The colour and black & white calendar will measure 11 x 8 ½ inches, opening to 11 x 17 inches. Pricing: $20 plus shipping, USA $2.00, the rest of the World $5.00. Please inquire for larger orders. For PayPal orders please add $1.00. Send PayPal payments (in US dollars) to: firstname.lastname@example.org Send check or postal money order (in US dollars, drawn on a US bank) payable to: Nancy Martsch, PO Box 55372, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413, USA. You may send currency, at your own risk, in a sturdy envelope. For more information, please e-mail: email@example.com
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this weekend's Oxonmoot (sadly, I have never managed to be in the UK during a Tolkien related event - something I hope to fix some day soon!) I hope those of you have a great time, and share some experiences here if you can.
Here is the full press release from Shaun at the Tolkien Society:
The Tolkien Society’s annual Oxonmoot event is due to take place at St Antony’s College, Oxford this weekend with record attendance.This year will be The Tolkien Society's 42nd Oxonmoot – taking place from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September – and will include talks and panels, friendly discussion, quizzes, an art exhibition, a masquerade, and a party including a traditional ceilidh! The weekend concludes, as always, with Enyalie, a ceremony of remembrance at Tolkien’s grave in Wolvercote Cemetery on Sunday morning. This year's Oxonmoot takes place in the run up to the anniversary of the 60th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King was first published on the 20th October 1955 and has become one of the world's most popular books: The Lord of the Rings has been translated into over 50 languages and estimates put sales at over 150 million copies worldwide.
Founded in 1969 by Vera Chapman, The Tolkien Society is an educational charity and literary society with the aim of promoting the life and works with J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien himself supported the organisation and gave it his seal of approval by agreeing to become The Tolkien Society's President. On Tolkien's death the family recommended he stay as President, so, to this day, he remains The Tolkien Society's Honorary President in perpetuo. The Society has over a thousand members and hosts events up and down the country every week.
Shaun Gunner, Chairman of The Tolkien Society, said: "Oxonmoot always takes place in September to coincide with the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo, but this year we have a record number of attendees coming to St Antony’s College to enjoy the longest-running Tolkien event in the world." He added, "Oxonmoot has been going for over 40 years and provides an excellent opportunity for hundreds of fans from around the world to come together for a weekend of fun and fellowship in Oxford, a location so important to Tolkien."