2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards: My Nominations

Joce at Write Through the Night is hosting her 2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards. You can read more about it here. I followed the awards last year and found a lot of great new bloggers, so I wanted to participate again this year and start out by nominating some bloggers.

Here is an excerpt from her post explaining how this round of nominations works:

Round 1: Nominations

  • When: April 1st-April 30th

  • What:  During the month of April, you have the opportunity to nominate bloggers for each category.  To do this, you can make your own post (preferred) or simply comment below with your nominations.  If you’re commenting, PLEASE KEEP IT ALL IN ONE POST.  For those of you writing your own posts, comment the link below or make sure there’s a pingback.

  • Why: This is your opportunity to make sure all of your favorite bloggers are recognized! The blogosphere is huge so it’s important that you contribute to make sure everyone has a chance.

My Nominations

(Obviously, I’d love to nominate ALL the awesome bloggers I follow, but there are hundreds of you, so this is just a selection of some bloggers I think are great.)  Also, I skipped some categories because, for instance, I don’t read romance blogs, so if you want to participate in this with your own nominees, you should head over to Joce’s blog to get the full list of categories.

THE BLOGGER
  • Best Pre-Teen/Teen Book Blogger (13-19): I really wanted to nominate someone for this category, but I really have no idea how old many of the bloggers I follow are, so….
  • Best Adult Book Blogger (20+): Ashley from Nose Graze
  • Best Book Blogger from an Underrepresented/Minority Group: Nandini at Unputdownable Books
BEST GENRE BLOGS
THE BEST OF BOOK BLOGGING
THE OTHER STUFF
MOST IMPORTANTLY

Briana

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5 Favorite Quotes From Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Guest Post by Rachel)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Introduction

The Hobbit is an iconic book, one we all know and love. While Tolkien wrote many, many books, The Hobbit is what started such a fantastic series and fandom known as The Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit laid the base foundation for The Lord of the Rings and is just as an important story as the rest of the tale that celebrates hobbits everywhere.

This book has great storytelling, loveable characters, and wonderful life lessons and messages. Here are my top 5 favorite quotes.

1. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

This is one of my favorites. It’s simple, it’s the first line in the book, it lays the foundation for The Lord of the Rings, and it’s well-known by everyone. This quote is a nice introduction to not only Bilbo, but also to hobbits in general. Hobbits, in my opinion, have the best kind of life.

2. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

This is the perfect introduction to Gandalf the Grey. His personality really shines through this saying and it’s a funny line. Honestly, it got me thinking. Gandalf is right. What are we actually saying when we tell someone, “Good morning?”

3. “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

I read this quote as, “Never give up.” There are times when you’re going nuts looking for your car keys, and it turns out they’ve been hanging up by the door right where they’re supposed to be. However, there are times in our lives when we’re looking for less tangible things. We’re trying to figure out what the right career is for ourselves or we’re simply trying to find out who we are. The answer is never easy, but if you keep pushing forward, you’ll find it – even if it’s not what you expected.

4. “The road goes ever on and on.”

We can all channel our inner Bilbo with this one. We’re all on our own individual journeys in life. What are the right choices to make? Where do we see ourselves 5 years from now? The road goes ever on and on, indeed.

5. “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

I find this quote to be the most inspirational and so true to life. The media and news has been toxic for quite some time, but there are good people in the world. There are good news reports that, for whatever reasons, get buried underneath all the bad. There’s still hope, even if it’s hard to see sometimes.

*      *     *

Tolkien was a fantastic writer with a wild imagination. He really made a way for himself in the fantasy writing world and has easily taught us a lot about life through fantastical scenarios. I won’t be running into an Orc anytime soon or be making friends with any Elves, but I can heed what I’ve learned and apply it to my life.

What are some of your favorite quotes from The Hobbit? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author

“I’m a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all things writing and gaming. I keep myself busy running two blogs among other things in the creative world. I’m currently working on a couple mystery books to be published in the near future. Feel free to connect with me on my Blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.”

Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen Review (Guest Post by Samantha)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Book Blurb

For the first time ever, the epic, in-depth story of the creation of one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever imagined—an illustrious compendium that reveals the breathtaking craftsmanship, artistry, and technology behind the magical Middle-earth of the blockbuster film franchises, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.

Review

This is the most recent Middle-Earth book released by Weta Workshop. If you aren’t familiar with Weta Workshop, they are the very talented people who created the props, design and special effects of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. They are based in New Zealand and also worked on a lot of other big movies.

Prior to releasing Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Weta Workshop released 7 books about the production of The Hobbit trilogy (2 books for each movie and one special book about Smaug). But those aren’t the subject of this post.

On December 5th 2017, Middle Earth: From Script to Screen was published. On that same day, a box was delivered to my front door. A BIG and HEAVY box! Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to look at the beauty inside. The book is pretty expensive ($75 US), so I had asked for it as a Christmas present. Therefore, I waited 20 days to get it. But it was absolutely worth it!

First, the book is beautiful. The cover is embossed and there is a yellow ribbon bookmark so you never lose your place. The inside of the book is just as beautiful as the outside. The design is stunning, and it is filled with pictures from the movies and behind the scenes as well as artwork.

The content is also very interesting! For people who have read The Hobbit Chronicles books, you know those are entirely written through quotes. All the information provided in those books come from the actors, special effects specialists, etc. It isn’t the case in this book. Most of it is original text, although there are quotes included from time to time. These occasional quotes give us insight on the development process of the movies and the actor’s experience.

I personally think the book is filled with interesting details. It is divided in chapters, each chapter focusing on a region of Middle-Earth, and the events that took place there. Through the pages, we learn why some scenes from the book weren’t included, why some characters in the movies differ from those in the books, etc. I find it fascinating to learn about all the steps that went into making these movies. Whether it be the props or the sets, the amount of work that was put into making each of the movies is mind-blowing.

I know a lot of Tolkien fans would rather forget about The Hobbit movie trilogy. But whether you are a fan of these movies or not, I believe we can all admire the work that went into it. And reading this work helps understand some of the choices that were made.

I absolutely recommend this book to every LOTR fans. It’s a beautiful volume to add to your Middle-Earth collection!

“I Sit Beside the Fire and Think”– Home, Hearth, Hobbits (Guest Post by Tom Hillman)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


I sit beside the fire and think

of all that I have seen,

of meadow-flowers and butterflies

in summers that have been….  (excerpt from FotR)

Ever since the first time I read ‘I sit beside the fire and think’ as a young boy, it’s been my favorite. It has always spoken to me of home, just as I think it does to Bilbo, but it speaks in a more complex and poignant way than most other hobbit songs.

Of these, Pippin’s ‘Sing hey! for the bath at close of day’ (FR 1.v.101) is probably the most purely hobbit-like. In a simple meter — iambic tetrameter, which seems characteristic of hobbit poetry* — it embraces the beauty and pleasures of water in its various forms, but emphasizes the special joy and even nobility of the hot bath ‘that washes the weary mud away’.  Few things could conjure a more comforting image of home than Water Hot which so thoroughly redeems our weariness that we end up playfully splashing water with our feet, or even, as in Pippin’s case, creating a fountain.

Similarly in Three Is Company the hobbits sing a song — ‘Upon the hearth the fire is red’ — which begins and ends by evoking hearth and home, roof and bed (FR 1.iii.77-78). Yet Bilbo wrote the words to this song, and his experiences gave him a deeper perspective. ‘[N]ot yet weary are our feet’ tells us that we are not ready for home and bed. Adventure and discovery await us before then. We never know where we may find ‘the hidden paths that run / Towards the Moon or to the Sun’. All that we may meet on our journey, however, will in the end fade before the lights of hearth and lamp that summon us home to bed and board.

Immediately after the end of this song, however, the approach of a Black Rider impresses the dangers of the journey upon them. After their last near encounter earlier in the day the hobbits had seen Bilbo’s warning about the perils of stepping out the front door take on new meaning, as it must when Ringwraiths show up down the lane. Adventures are too often ‘not a kind of holiday … like Bilbo’s’ (FR 1.ii.62), nor, as events at Crickhollow will show, do front doors keep all perils out (FR 1.xi.176-77).

We may also discover a little noticed counterpoint to the hobbits’ song in the hymn** to Elbereth sung by the elves whose arrival drives off the Black Rider. The longing for their home ‘[i]n a far land beyond the Sea’, which lies at this song’s heart, balances the exile of the elves against the security the hobbits (wrongly) feel is their due in their own Shire (FR 1.iii.83). Though the elves know where to find those ‘hidden paths’, they linger ‘in this far land beneath the trees.’ Their ‘chance meeting’ with Frodo, who regards his own journey as a flight into ‘exile’ for himself and his companions, brings face to face those whose age-long exile is nearly over with one who senses that his home will soon be forever lost to him, if indeed it has not already been lost.

If we take a further step back towards that home, we come to the first song that Frodo sings, Bilbo’s ‘The road goes ever on and on’, which he recalls, not from conscious memory, but from some deeper place beyond all names. Yet, as many have remarked, Frodo’s version differs in a single word from the one Bilbo recited as he left Bag End seventeen years earlier. Bilbo sets off on the road, ‘pursuing it with eager feet’  (FR 1.i.35), but Frodo’s feet are ‘weary’ from the start (FR 1.iii.73). Recall ‘the weary mud’ in Pippin’s bath song, to be washed off at journey’s end. Recall the ‘not yet weary’ feet of Bilbo’s walking song. These songs better suit the ‘eager’ feet of Bilbo, who embraces both journey and journey’s end: ‘I want to see the wild country again before I die, and the Mountains’ (FR 1.i.33). That Frodo has a different attitude towards his journey is part of the tragic situation in which he finds himself, for which the Ring is largely, though perhaps not solely, to blame. Like Merry, who ‘loved the thought of [mountains] marching on the edge of stories brought from far away’, Frodo may have ‘longed to shut out [their] immensity in a quiet room by a fire’ (RK 5.iii.x.791). If  so, that was not to be.

Bilbo’s embrace of journey and journey’s end alike is also visible in ‘I sit beside the fire and think’, yet this poem is also firmly tied to the idea of hearth and home by the repetition of the initial line to begin the third and fifth quatrains and the variation of it in the first line of the last. It is the song of someone whose days of adventure are over, but for whom memory and reflection on the time he spent journeying enrich the life he now lives by hearth and home. Nor need we think of this poem as applying only to Bilbo in his years in Rivendell, where he introduces us to the poem. We can also easily imagine it across the decades he spent in the Shire after his return, dawdling with his book, walking the countryside with Frodo and talking of adventure, ‘learning’ young Sam Gamgee his letters and telling him tales of the Elves. The walking song he composed the words to, the evolution and distillation of ‘The road goes ever on’ from the poem we first see at the end of The Hobbit, and his meditations on the ‘dangerous business’ of stepping out of one’s home and into the road, all point to the close connection between ‘there’ and ‘back again’. So, too, does his exchange with Sam and Frodo at Rivendell:

 

‘Books ought to have good endings.[said Bilbo] How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?’

‘It will do well, if it ever comes to that,’ said Frodo.

‘Ah!’ said Sam. ‘And where will they live? That’s what I often wonder.’

(FR 2.iii.273-74)

And Bilbo’s last quatrain, especially its final words, is significant in that it comes after the bow to approaching death in ‘a spring that I shall never see’. For tales goes on despite death.  With ‘I listen for returning feet / and voices at the door’ Bilbo also accepts that his part in the tale has already ended and that others will carry it on and bring the word of their journeys back to him. In just this way he awaits the return of Sam and Frodo. In this way, too, Sam and Frodo, who both finally expect not to survive their quest, imagine that their part in the great tale in which they have found themselves will come to an end for them, but that others will have their own parts to play later on. It is no accident that the book itself ends with Sam at home in his chair by the fire.

At the last, that is what all the tales are about.

‘I sit beside the fire and think’ is not in iambic tetrameter, but in alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, which is more characteristic of Elvish poetry, and likely shows the influence of such poetry on Bilbo.

** If alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter distinguish Elvish poetry, one may rightly ask why the hymn to Elbereth is not in this meter, or in the single lines of heptameter which also occur (e.g., ‘Nimrodel’). The answer lies in the fact that the song is mediated through the understanding of the hobbits — as the text explicitly says at FR 1.iii.83:

 

It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing. Yet the sound blending with the melody seemed to shape itself in their thought into words which they only partly understood. This was the song as Frodo heard it…


*All citations reference the single volume fiftieth anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, Houghton Mifflin (2004).


About the Author

You can find Tom blogging at his website Alas, Not Me.

Wanted: Guest Posts for Tolkien Reading Event (March 2018)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

During March 2018, Pages Unbound will be running our fifth Tolkien Reading Event.  Every year on March 25, the Tolkien Society celebrates Tolkien Reading Day, and we like to expand on the event by hosting several days’ worth of Tolkien-related content.  We have had some wonderful guest posts in the past and would like to invite you to submit a guest post this year.

Theme: [We will update this spot with the 2018 theme once it is announced by the Tolkien Society.]

Post Options

The Tolkien Reading Event is open to a wide variety of posts.  In previous events, we have featured everything from book reviews to quizzes to serious literary criticism.   Pitch us an idea for any type of post you would like!  You can also review books and movies that have been featured before; we love new perspectives! See a full list of past posts here.

If you need ideas, we are particularly open to posts about:

  • the official theme
  • any aspect of The Silmarillion
  • the art of Middle-Earth
  • a tour of your Tolkien collection (books or merchandise)
  • Tolkien’s villains
  • your personal journey reading Tolkien
  • reviews of books about (not by) Tolkien
  • reflections on Tolkien’s “minor” works (Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooton Major, Roverandom)

Details

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the Google form below.  We will begin the event on Sunday, March 25, and so would like to receive guest posts by March 17.  We will contact everyone with final details around that time (such as what day your guest post will be scheduled).  Please feel free to spread the word to fellow Tolkien fans!

Title: Please tell us what you would like the title of the post to be when you send us the draft! Otherwise you will be subject to our whims. 😉

Post Length: There is no required post length; however long you feel you need to address the topic is fine.

Photos/Graphics: Feel free to include photos or graphics if you would like, but only include images you own the rights to post.  (Basically, no copyright infringement, please!)

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GUEST POSTING, PLEASE FILL OUT THE GOOGLE FORM BELOW.

*LOTR clip art by Nesca at CuteGraphicSupply.

What Type of Bookish Witch Would You Be? (A Halloween Personality Quiz)

Bookish Witch Personality Quiz
Celebrate Halloween with us at Pages Unbound by taking this bookish personality quiz! Find out what type of witchy story you should star in!

Quiz Instructions
Instructions

To take the quiz, choose the best answer to each question. Write down the letter of the answer you pick for each question, or simply keep a running tally of how many of each letter you pick. After the last question, count the letters and see which you chose most often. Check the answers to see what type of witchy tale you would star in if you lived in a book and share your results with us in the comments!

Disclaimer: This quiz is just for fun, and Pages Unbound makes no claim to know much about your personality at all.

You may also be interested in our witch reading list, our full guide to Halloween entertainment, or our spooky story personality quiz.
Quiz Questions

The Quiz

1. What color is your favorite magic potion?
a.) lime green
b.) blood red
c.) shining silver
d.) royal purple

2. Which is the best flavor ice cream?
a.) cookies and cream
b.) I don’t like ice cream.
c.) chocolate
d.) mint chocolate chip

3. Which are you most likely to do?
a.) a have dance-off
b.) turn someone into a frog
c.) spend long hours practicing a skill
d.) keep a journal

4. What would be your witch’s symbol?
a.) a shooting star
b.) a skull
c.) growing flowers
d.) a head with two faces

5. What animal would be your familiar?
a.) ferret
b.) crow
c.) dog
d.) cat

6. Which is the best skill to have?
2.) turn anything to food
b.) invisibility
c.) healing
d.) divination

7. What object would you use to scry?
a.) a puddle
b.) the skulls of your enemies
c.) a bowl
d.) a mirror

8. How would you describe the best witches?
a.) imaginative
b.) clever
c.) thoughtful
d.) careful

9. Which scent do you like best?
a.) lavender
b.) spice
c.) citrus
d.) apple

10. What is your favorite Hogwarts House?
a.) Ravenclaw
b.) Slytherin
c.) Hufflepuff
d.) Gryffindor

Continue reading

Creating a Discussion Post Strategy (Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge)

Fall 2017 Mini Bloggiesta


In short, Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing. Our awesome mascot Pedro (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) is ready to break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a pinata or two! It’s nothing short of an awesome fiesta!

This fall’s mini Bloggiesta is officially Sept. 21-24, and I’m hosting a mini-challenge this time! Read on to challenge yourself to create a discussion post strategy.


Creating a Discussion Post Strategy

Introduction

Discussion posts are becoming increasingly popular on blogs, with both readers and bloggers.  Are you making the most out of this interest?  If you want to start writing discussion posts, or just start featuring more of them, complete this mini challenge to get your discussion post strategy going!

Creating Your Discussion Post Strategy

1. Plan How Often You Want to Post Discussions

The first step of your discussion post strategy is determining how often you want to feature discussion posts on your blog. This will determine how many ideas you’re going to need and how quickly you need to write them. It’s also helpful to know this so you can plan ahead for any type of research you’ll need to do in order to write the posts.

Do you want to do discussions once a month? Every other week? Once a week? Come up with your frequency goal and also decide which days you are going to post. For example, do you want to post a discussion every Wednesday? Write this information down on the calendar/planner where you keep your blog schedule. (Or start a blogging calendar if you don’t already have one!)

2. Consider What You Like to See in Discussion Posts

Before you think about what types of discussion you want to write, it is helpful to determine what types of discussions you like reading. Types of discussions may include:

  • Discussions about personal experiences
  • Discussions about your blogging topic (ex. discussions about books or reading)
  • Discussions about blogging itself

You should also think about format:

  • Do you like long-form discussions?
  • Use of headers and subheaders?
  • Lists?

Here are some thoughts I have on how you can make a discussion post memorable.

3. Brainstorm Ideas

Next you need to begin to decide what it is you’re going to discuss. This is a simple brainstorming stage, so don’t get too stressed out. Jot down any ideas that come to you, and don’t worry too much about whether they’re “good” ideas. You just want thoughts down on paper. Don’t worry too much about organization or neatness either; just let the ideas flow.

I wrote a list a while ago featuring 30 discussion post prompts for book bloggers that can get you started. If you’re not a book blogger, you can try adapting some of the prompts for your own niche. (For example, instead of writing about a favorite book from your childhood, maybe you can write about a favorite family recipe if you are a book blogger, or a favorite childhood vacation if you are a travel blogger.)

I also wrote a post about fostering creativity and brainstorming in general, which you may find helpful as you start making your list of potential discussion topics.

4. Make a Concrete Discussion Schedule

Once you have some ideas for potential discussion posts, pick 3-5 of them that you think you definitely want to write and put them into your blogging calendar. Think about what order you want them in. Consider:

  • Do you want to separate ideas that are kind of similar by a couple weeks?
  • Do you want to do a discussion series and purposely place certain topics close to each other on the schedule?
  • Is there a specific event you want to time the discussion for? (Ex. a discussion about banned books around Banned Books Week)

*Note that being aware of events can also help you brainstorm posts. Maybe you want to write about libraries during library week, or about Shakespeare around his birthday, or about something Halloween-themed in October.

5. Draft One of the Posts

Since this is just a mini challenge for Bloggiesta, you don’t need to start writing the discussion posts right now. But you get virtual bonus points for drafting one and getting it scheduled on your blog!

6. Plan for Photos and Graphics

If you don’t yet feature many discussion posts on your blog, think about what graphics you want to include.  Do you want to make just one graphic that says something like “Discussion” that you can use on all future posts to save time?  Or do you want to create a specific graphic for each one?  Will you ever need specialized graphics like infographics, flow charts, etc.?  Are you going to take your own photography or use free resources online? Make notes of any graphic needs for each post from step 4.

7. Create a Promotion Plan

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!  Write some notes on how you’re going to promote your discussions once you write and schedule them. For example:

  • What social media will you promote on?  How often?
  • Will you have a graphic to use on social media?
  • Is there a “discussion post link-up” hosted anywhere in your blogging niche you can participate in?
  • Do you belong to any Goodreads groups, Facebook groups, or other forums you can share the links?
  • Do you want to do a post informing your readers that you will be doing more discussion posts and telling them what days to check your blog for them?

Briana