If You Like, Then Read is a feature where we offer reading suggestions based on books you already like. This is the fourth week we are running it, and we post it once a month. If you have more suggestions, let us know in the comments! To read all our If You Like, Then Read posts, click here.
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by J. R. R. Tolkien
During the 1920s and 30s, Tolkien retold the story of Sigurd the dragon-slayer and the fall of the Niflungs in English alliterative verse. His version of these famous Norse tales remained unpublished until 2009, when his son Christopher released them along with commentary on Tolkien’s sources. The high tone and matter will appeal to those readers who enjoyed The Silmarillion while Sigurd’s connection to Túrin Turambar from The Children of Húrin may also interest fans of Middle-earth.
The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community by Diana Pavlac Glyer
The author challenges the standard assumption that the Inklings (a group of writers including Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Charles Williams) had little influence on each other’s works by citing the many ways in which writers interact with and receive input from others, even if they do not work in direct collaboration. Even readers not particularly interested in the Inklings will want to consider Glyer’s refutation of the myth of the isolated artist. If you want to see our If You Like post for C. S. Lewis, click here.
The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien
On the night of his return home from a long estrangement, Stephen Cade becomes implicated in the murder of his father, an Oxford historian and WWII colonel. The evidence seems to point conclusively to his guilt, but five other people were present at the time of the murder and all of them have their secrets. Concerned that Stephen will face an unwarranted hanging, the inspector who arrested him sets out to uncover the truth about the colonel’s past. Part mystery, part historical fiction, and part courtroom drama. Written by Toklien’s grandson.
Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy edited by Douglas A. Anderson
J. R. R. Tolkien receives primary credit for the enormous popularity of fantasy today, but before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings other authors sparked his imagination. This anthology includes 21 short stories and one play selected by Anderson to illustrate the range of writers whom Tolkien would have read. The collection includes “The Golden Key” by George MacDonald, “The Story of Sigurd” by Andrew Lang, “The Dragon Tamers” by E. Nesbit, “The Enchanted Buffalo” by L. Frank Baum, and “Golithos the Ogre” by E. A. Wyke-Smith among other works.
Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien
Between 1920 and 1942, Tolkien wrote his children numerous letters purporting to be from Father Christmas and chronicling his adventures with the North Polar Bear. They were published in 1976 and again in 2004 along with Tolkien’s original illustrations.