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Monday, March 31, 2008

Reading By Candlelight and Other Inconveniences

Candlelight...

I really don't know how people did it in the old days. Read by candlelight, that is. Tonight an hour-long power outage right at dusk had us pulling out the decorative candles for a much more practical use. But the thing about candles. They flicker. That makes reading a bit of a challenge, and a strain on the eyes. I did tough it out reading Speaker for the Dead by candlelight for almost an hour.

I was already reading when the power went off, and I might have stopped to do something else (the flickering made it really really hard to read) but here's my list of potential alternate activities:

  1. Watch TV
  2. Wash dishes
  3. Blog
  4. Write on the computer
  5. Balance checkbook (on the computer)
  6. Listen to iPod (not charged at the moment)
Hmm... I'm seeing a pattern... my shameless addiction to activities that require electricity catches up with me at last.

Okay granted I could have gotten real creative and played hide and seek with Rusty and Husband, but our condo only has so many places to hide.

And Hobbits....

If you remember me posting a long long time ago about what audiobook to listen to while on the road, you may recall I finally settled on Fellowship of the Ring. I finally finished all 20 hours (it only took two major roadtrips and three weeks back and forth to work of listening). I don't want to give a humongous long summary of the book, but if you haven't read the books or seen the movie, click here or here for a summary.

I have a love for LOTR that is hard to put exactly into words, but it started when my dad started reading The Hobbit to me when I was very young. I've read the books many times, so that map of Middle Earth feels as familiar to me as a map of Minnesota. The story has the feel of a bedtime story you ask your mom to tell you every night even though you know it by heart.

This time around, however, was a different experience for me, as I don't listen to many audiobooks. The narrator did a very decent job with all of the voices, and I could easily tell which character was which (no small feat with nine characters in the fellowship alone). The thing that was really different for me was experiencing all of the songs that Tolkien incorporated into the book in audio form instead of written.

I'm not going to lie, I have a tendency to skip over the songs in the book the way a Sunday schooler skips over the Zephaniah begat Hezekiah begat Turkiziah begat Philoziah's of the Bible. If not completely irrelevant to the plot, the songs are at least ancillary. But listening to them brought a whole new dimension to the book that I had never really appreciated before.

I haven't read the book since the movies came out, so I had some delightful reunions with characters and scenes I hadn't encountered in a long time. It was nice stay at Tom Bombadill's house, and perfectly lovely to eat dinner with Farmer Maggot (a truly delightful fellow despite his fierce-looking dogs). Merry and Pippin, the rascals, really conspired with Sam to follow Frodo on his adventure, and didn't just run into him while stealing vegetables (as the movie shows).

So, let me ask you: have you ever reread a favorite book after a movie is made out of it? Had you forgotten certain scenes or mixed them up with the movie?

7 comments:

Chris said...

I've always read the songs in Tolkien's books, but have never really appreciated them as much as I should...they're just sort of there. I bet that would make for a cool listening experience. I've been meaning to reread the books ever since the movies came out and I still haven't done it! I put them on challenge lists last year and did it again this year, yet there's always something else I'd rather read. And I know I'll fall in love with the books all over again once I do read them...I just have to make myself pick them up.

I've read by candlelight once and it drove me mad! I need steady light or my eyes go whacko. It is quite comical how technologically addicted we are these days, huh? lol...

Debi said...

It would be pretty cool to "hear" the songs. But as I'm reading these for the first time right now, I am reading the songs...and enjoying them immensely actually. I've always loved poetry, and these songs are just so beautiful.

Andi said...

Wow, I hadn't thought of listening to it. Silly me! I bet my library has it on CD, and I've gotta try to get my hands on it.

LOTR is probably the best example of movie/book I get scenes mixed up from. Oh, and Harry Potter. I've seen/read both enough times that it all mushes together.

Simran said...

i absolutely love LOTR!!
And I'd highly recommend the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis as a great read. The author's imagination and creativity never cease to amaze me. Although most might think that they are for children.,I think most adults would also enjoy reading them. In fact, Disney is coming up with the latest Narnia movie-Prince Caspian, this May 16th. It promises to be awesome by the looks of the trailor. I think its very well-timed also, especially for the kids who'd be on summer break. So dont miss it!

Kim L said...

chris-since LOTR books are so long, it does take some effort to get into them again. But definitely worth a read, or a listen.

debi-I'm so glad you enjoyed the books! And the songs. They do to the backstory of the book, for sure. It made Middle Earth feel like a real place!

andi-you really should! It is a good audiobook. Just make sure to get the unabridged version.

simran-I do love CS Lewis as well and I'm really looking forward to the new movie! I thought the first one was pretty decent.

DesLily said...

Just guessing here but most likely the reason people say the books are better than the movies is because they have to leave out a lot of "little things" (sometimes big things!) I actually reread the first Harry Potter book after the movie to check just that and I was surprised at things I even missed while reading that I saw in the movie! So it can work both ways!

oh no.. flickering candles?.. not!
same with reading in cars or trains..too many shadows coming and going!!

Kim L said...

deslily-that's very true. Its a rare movie that even manages to live up to the book it inspired. And Harry Potter is a great example of movies that I mix up with the books.