The second week of November looked and felt more like the first week of January. My commute Tuesday morning (the day after Veterans’ Day) involved icy drizzle and in at least one hair-raising incident on an icy untreated bridge (Thanks, Kansas City, Missouri, for being consistent in your street maintenance over the last 25 years). At least the traction control works in my new van. By lunch time, the drizzle had converted to snow blown by a bitter cold north wind (see photo above taken right before I ventured across the circle drive for a cup of soup at the Mixx).
Last week I attended the monthly Hobbit Happy Hour of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City. We returned to City Barrell where our two teams were victorious in LotR trivia back in September. During one of my conversations with friends and new acquaintances, I learned that circulation of print editions was down at the Plaza Branch of KCPL. I am as much to blame as anyone else since I’ve almost completely switched to audiobooks and ebooks over the last decade. Anything I read in print is because it’s out of print and/or only available as a printed edition.
This nugget, coupled with the recent opening of voting in the GoodReads Choice Awards, specifically the History / Biography category, spurred me to request nine print books to be held and checked out at the Plaza Branch, convenient for me since I happen to work in the same building. On the same day winter encroached on fall, I forgot my Tolkien tote bag and had to stuff five of the eight books above into my laptop backpack, leaving me with three to carry to the parking garage before heading into the west and home. While the books above appear to be in no particular order, I have them grouped together in a personally significant manner. Oh, and two of them are not like the other six. I’ve done my bit to help increase the circulation stats for KCPL’s Plaza Branch and spurred myself in a last ditch effort to reach my annual reading goal.
For my personal Tolkien library, I recently purchased two out-of-print editions, Master of Middle-earth (which I reviewed last month) and A Tolkien Compass (which I’ve almost completed and will review this weekend). Two other print editions I’ve purchased recently include Interrupted Music by Verlyn Flieger and Sauron Defeated, which I thought I wouldn’t need but learned from reading Master that it includes the Notion Club Papers and the poem Imram, which I very much want to read.
Reading these essays and other Tolkien studies publications from the early and mid 1970s has increased my TBR quite a bit in the last couple of months. I blame the Prancing Pony Podcast’s Instragram feed for setting me forth on this quest (which at times appears futile) for out-of-print works containing essays about Tolkien’s Legendarium.
I’ve added most of the above titles from the footnotes, end notes and bibliographical lists contained in the publications I’ve most recently read (Master, Tolkien Compass and Interrupted Music). Here is an example of an essay I would love to read but may not be able to because the South Atlantic Quarterly web site doesn’t go back father than this century (despite the fact they’ve been publishing the journal since 1902):
Regardless of whether I return from my foray into the academic publications rabbit hole or not, my tangible stack of books for immediate perusal is primed and ready for a warm cup of tea and a blustery autumn day.