Letters From Father Christmas – A Quick Note to Santa

letters from father christmas

Dear Santa,

I know you’re exceptionally busy tonight, so I’ll get straight to it: thank you very much for sending this book to me at the end of the year! I have to say it was perfect timing! I couldn’t have wished for a better Christmas read.

These are the kind of stories children and adults alike will cherish. They’re wonderfully imaginative, establish colourful characters in a short space and even develop into a fully-fledged narrative by the end of the collection. Somehow, despite the children growing up, there was even time to wrap everything up with a big, festive bow! I reckon you planned that, you big old softie 😉

What I really appreciated was how this was such a beautiful reflection of the Tolkien family. They were close and intimate- really a delightful reflection of the family and a credit to them. Though these had little clues to the outside world and hints at history, this never ventured beyond the personal.

Throughout, I found many of the stories surprisingly moving and thought might just about burst with the cuteness levels. To top it all off, the illustrations and images of the actual letters added a level of sweetness. I really can’t describe how charming they were- but I’m sure you know how talented the Great Polar Bear is already- please send my compliments to him.

As a massive Tolkien fan, I always like the genius writing, but more than that, I was happy to see the inclusion of languages like Arktish and Elvish.

So, thank you again for writing to the Tolkien children all those years ago. Anyway I’ll let you get on- have fun squeezing down all those chimneys.

All my love and merry Christmas,

Orangutan Librarian

PS Please find enclosed, 5/5 bananas:

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

And some milk and cookies:

orangutan santa cookies and milk version 20002

 

So have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments! And of course, have a lovely Christmas!

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Quote Challenges – Favourite First Lines: Day 11

Hello all! Yup, I’m still here with the quote challenge, talking about my favourite first lines. Here are the rules:

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to the amazing Marina @Books of Magic for tagging me to do this! I absolutely adore her *magical* blog, because it truly is a fantastical place for all bookworms! Her reviews are always so thorough. Plus she has *the best* taste in books- if I do say so myself 😉 I couldn’t resist ending on this book in honour of that!

the hobbit opening line

I might need a minute to compose myself- because I can’t read this first line without feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m also resisting the (impossibly strong) urge to pick this book up again and reread it for the millionth time. Naturally, this is on this list because it’s one of my favourites and reading this for the first time was the moment when I fell in love with fantasy (incidentally, the last line is just as good- but it took a while for me to find out cos as I’ve mentioned on this blog before *shock, horror* the last few pages were missing!! I’ve never been more desperate to get to a bookshop in my life!!)

I tag:

Susan, CJR Brit and Norrie

So have you read this book? And now that we’ve come to the end of this quote-journey, what are your favourite first lines? Share the love in the comments!

“What would the world be like without Captain James Hook?” Villains I Can’t Live Without

I wasn’t actually planning on making this post… Somehow though, I couldn’t let my thoughts rest after talking about why villains are the greatest and I started mulling over which crooks are the very best at being bad guys…

AKA what villains could I not live without? Well, I’m here to tell you which baddies are some of my faves:

hook.gif

Captain Hook– there’s a very obvious reason why I named Hook in the title of this post- he’s probably one of the best villains of all time! (not just because I love the movie Hook) As a man who grew into a tyrant, he is the perfect foil for someone who doesn’t want to grow up at all. There is no better symbol of what a person can become if they let their worst impulses get the better of them. Indeed, what would the world be like without Captain James Hook?!

richard iii

Richard III– I’m mostly trying to avoid putting anti-heroes on this list, because then I really could go on forever. Still, out of all Shakespeare’s villains, this is the one I find most compelling. I especially wanted to mention him, because I was reading the most incredibly thoughtful post a couple of days ago from Cameron @Here Be Wyverns (seriously recommend checking it out), where he described how you can’t make someone less villainous with a backstory and, well, I thought that’s it exactly. Characters like Richard III are a great example of this- they’re the sort where you see where they’re coming from and yet it’s impossible to excuse their actions. Plus I had to include dear old Richard; he’d have got the hump if I didn’t 😉

Joffrey_Season_4_Episode_2_TLATR

Joffrey Baratheon– GRRM has created some of my all-time favourite villains- yet I don’t think there’s any that I loathed more than Joffrey! (and that’s saying, especially since Ramsay Bolton was in the running!) One of the reasons he’s my pick is not only because he’s one of the first big bads in the story, he also somehow managed to get a lot of the action rolling by being such a vicious idiot. Also, as Drew pointed out in my why I love villains list, he’s a very notable villain- this one’s for you Drew 😉 I don’t think I can formulate the words “I love Joffrey as a villain” though- he’s not even remotely lovable.

eastofeden

Cathy Ames– aside from how much I love her introduction, she’s one of the most spiteful, vicious characters in literature. I love to loathe her.

 

 

 

armadale

Lydia Gwilt– it’s fairly simple why Armadale is one of my favourite classics: it has one of my favourite villains. I adore this femme fatale- she’s not one to be underestimated.

 

 

mrs danvers

Mrs Danvers– MRS DANVERS IS EVIL. That is all. (Seriously, I’ve hated this woman since I was 10)

 

 

thewitchesThe Grand High Witch– I always get the heebie jeebies whenever I think about the Witches- those long nails, bald heads and basically the fact that she’s pure evil made me terrified of her- arghh- like I said I don’t like to think of her!

 

doomspellDragwena– it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I read this trilogy, I will always be terrified of the witch characters in Doomspell. With extra sets of teeth and a snake wrapped around her neck, there’s something endlessly ominous about her.

 

 

MissPeregrineCover (1).jpgHollowgast– that name is pretty genius, embodying a period of time and sense of dread, and subsequently demonstrating some of the inventiveness that made this series so powerful for me. I don’t always find myself fearing generic monsters in books, however, there’s something so unsettling about the creatures in Peculiar Children.

i see you sauron

Sauron– a lot of people would perhaps argue that Sauron is more of a force of evil and so not the best villain. However, not only is he creepilicious as a dark force overshadowing Middle Earth, having read the Silmarillion now, I can see how fully fleshed out he is, well, minus the actual body 😉

dolores umbridgeDolores Umbridge– more sinister than Voldemort, more unsettling than the Dementors, Umbridge definitely takes the biscuit for being my most hated Rowling villain. There are no words to describe how much I loathe this woman.

 

smaug 4Smaug!!! I was desperately trying not to include two Tolkien villains- but I can’t help it! I pretty much love all of Tolkien’s baddies, nonetheless, Smaug takes all the gold medals for being my favourite fictional dragon.

 

And finally some “you know who” villains ie ones that would be spoilery to name:

illuminae

gone-girl-PB

shades children

So what do you think with my list? Agree or disagree with any of them? And who are some of your favourite villains? Let me know in the comments!

When You Need More Tolkien in Your Life You Read the Simarillion

simarillionWell hello! So I have to admit I’m being a bit lousy with comments and such at the moment (I blame the heat and Wimbledon and *insert a ton of other lame excuses here*). But don’t worry- I will get on top of it! Eventually… But until then, I wanted to share more Tolkien love!

And since I’m confessing things, it took me *years* to read this book. When I first started it, I was definitely too young- my memory of reading this was divided between the vivid parts that gave me nightmares and the not so exciting bits that sent me to sleep (aka the reason I DNF’d it over ten years ago).

Now when I picked it up recently, I was surprised to find it completely absorbing and really enjoyable. Unnntil I got to the bit where my bookmark had been resting for all that time I wasn’t reading it and I realised my eleven year old self was not as misguided as I thought. In fact, I was tempted to DNF it at *exactly* the same point. Unfortunately, I have to say it went off the boil in a couple of the middle chapters. However, not so long after that it picked up tremendously with the story of Beren and Luthien- and boy was I glad I had the maturity to not give up on it this time round!

I think it’s safe to say I ended up getting a lot out of it in the end. What I loved most about this book was that it was very much in the style of the Old Testament- that religiosity rang strangely true for me and gave the whole story a compelling sense of awe.

I also really appreciated how the thread of the song motif was woven into the entire plot and how it all tied together at the end. The tremendous scope of the story was truly terrific and I would recommend it for that alone.

And if you are a fan of Lord of the Rings and want to know more about Sauron and Middle Earth, then this is definitely the book for you!

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahalf-a-hand-drawn-banana

So are you a Lord of the Rings fan? Have you read this? Let me know in the comments below!