Part of my interest in this fantasy writer and poet stems from the fact that my husband reads Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy about once a year; and my brother, who usually hates to read, nevertheless read 'The Hobbit' once upon a time and loved it. I have wanted to read his novels but hadn't gotten around to them when this book became available.
The prosaically titled (and, at times, prosaically written) volume, part of Thomas Nelson's "Christian Encounters" series, begins with a tale of a 3-year-old John Ronald Reuel Tolkien ("Ronald"), a tarantula bite and a quick-thinking nanny to the rescue. Giant spiders would figure into stories he wrote for his children, and longtime Tolkien fans will recall their presence in the Hobbit stories. But this was not a case of art imitating life. He later said he didn't recall the tarantula bite as part of the incident - he simply remembered the heat of the day and running in fear through the tall, dead grass.
In other ways, though, the difficulties of his life did inform his writing. While he was still a child, he endured the deaths of both parents and several resulting moves because of financial necessity and educational needs. His mother's family ostracized her because of her Catholic faith - a factor that contributed to her death, in her older son's opinion, and which may have strengthened his resolve to remain true to the faith.
Tolkien's faith played an important role in his writing, even though he at one time said he preferred not to write overtly Christian stories but "to let readers make their own choices." Still, his faith in God was communicated throughout his works of fiction.
Although his works portray the battle of good vs. evil, they also portray a world in which there is much beauty "and where there was true courage to do what is right even at great cost. ... Tolkien portrayed a fantasy world that could not only entertain us but could also challenge and inspire us."
The bio also covers Tolkien's friendship with and, later, break from fellow Oxford professor and fantasy/sci-fi writer C.S. Lewis (my favorite author); his service in World War I; his marriage; his children; his death; and so much more.
I wish it had been more artfully (rather than somewhat academically) written, but it still is a good read. I would recommend it as an introduction to Tolkien for someone who has never read a bio of the man. For greater detail, you'll have to check out some of the other biographies about him.
I received and reviewed this book as a part of Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze project. It allows me to get free books in exchange for giving my honest opinion, whether I like the books or not.
The book was inspirational and interesting. I love The Lords of the Rings it is one of my favorite reads, and I thought it would be interesting to read about the man behind the book. The book begins when he was young and speaks about his parents. It also describes about how his mother struggled and how they moved a great deal. He loved the country and disliked the living in the city. The author speaks about his loves, education, languages, his friendships, and his wife and family. He fought in World War I, and what he witnessed did influence his writing. Which explains some of the things he mentions in the Lord of the Rings. He also had many friends I was surprised that he and my other favorite author C. S. Lewis were such good friends. How his friend C. S. Lewis encouraged him to finish his books. Tolkien was a very fascinating man. He was also a perfectionist this was good, but also it was his downfall. The reader will also get to witness how his love for his children helped him to write more fantasy, because they were stories he would write for them. There are many other things that I wish I could mention, but then I would ruin the book for you. I can only say you will have to find out by yourself and read the book. I only hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Am sure many people have heard of Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, movie made famous by Peter Jackson. But before the movie came the book, by J.R.R Tolkien. Who is this author? How did he come out with â€˜middle earth and its inhabitants'?
Autobiography of J.R.R Tokien by Mark Horne tries to summaries his life and where the influence for middle earth came about.
It is also Tokien's Christian faith that made him one of the greatest writers of his generation. Tokien's life was not easy and he came out from the school of hard knocks. His writings only became famous when he was already/almost retired. Probably due to his young life, he was more private then the likes of C.S.Lewis.
I would recommend this book to budding writers and fans of LOTR. Perseverance and never give up attitude will get us some where.
In my opinion I give this book a rating 5 out of 5.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze bloggers program. I was not asked to write a positive review and thus, the book review is 100% my own opinion.
The rolling hills of The Shire, the smoke-filled gloom of Mordor, the epic tales of selfless heroism, a vast history of a fantasy world called Middle Earth, and a hobbit. All born in the mind of one man, influenced by life's unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs and a steadfast faith in God.
From his birth in South Africa till his death in England, Mark Horne takes us on a compelling journey through the life of beloved author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The tragedies and triumphs, the hardships and good times, the friends and loved ones, and his growing faith in the Catholic Church, all of which shaped, not only the course of Tolkien's life, but also greatly influenced his works of writing; most notably the well-known and popular "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings".
As I began reading this biography, which is part of the Christian Encounter Series, I found myself pulled into the pages within mere moments. Mark Horne has a beautiful way of enticing a reader with language that is concise, easily read and understood.
As a fond lover of Tolkien's writing, there was an excitement to learn more about this man and his life, however I also had a slight fear my view of him could be tainted by what I read. This book, however, caused my appreciation of Tolkien to deepen, to feel inspired to reach higher for seemingly unattainable goals, and to count my blessings everyday. I appreciated how Mark Horne continually reminds the reader of Tolkien's faith through-out his life's journey, but doesn't bombard the reader with it either. This helps make it a good read for anyone interested in Tolkien's life, whether Christian or not.
All said and done, I was absolutely delighted with this book and looked forward to every moment I was able to sit down and read it. If you are interested in knowing more about J.R.R Tolkien, then this book is a great start to getting acquainted with this renowned author.
I have never read any of the other books in the Christian Encounters series, so I do not know how this compares.
I did find the "Christian Encounter" aspect to be a little... restrained. Little mention was made of his faith, although I did enjoy reading how much he influenced C.S. Lewis in his.
The facts were a little dry, and I found the book skipped over a LOT. I suppose it was trying to be readable while still informative, however I found it a little simplistic. I am not sure if it is perhaps aimed at the Young Adult or older children market, but if so it was a little too academic.
I did learn quite a bit that I did not previously know, but I would have preferred more of an insight into his inspirations and influences, not just his basic history.