2022 “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge: February Check-in

OVERVIEW

This year, Pages Unbound is hosting a challenge to support and promote book bloggers through sharing posts, commenting on posts, and otherwise recognizing book bloggers. If you would like more information on how it works or how to join in, read the introduction post here.

smaller star divider

THIS MONTH’S CHALLENGE

Again, you can do the tasks in any order you like, but January’s “official” task was to Find 10 New-to-You Bloggers (Not Necessarily New in General) and Give Them a Shout Out. You could do this by writing a blog post about them, sharing a Twitter thread, or doing anything else to show your support.

The 10 bloggers I gave a shout out to were:

  1. Frappes and Fiction: A teen book blogger with thoughtful takes on a variety of topics.
  2. Celeste @ A Literary Escape: An avid book blogger who reads multiple genres, but I am especially interested in her fantasy reviews.
  3. Rosie Amber: I discovered her through this challenge, and I love that she also is super excited about supporting and promoting other bloggers.
  4. Luke Shelton: Lots of interesting posts about Tolkien here.
  5. Alex @ Spells and Spaceships: I think I started following Alex last year, so he’s new-to-me but not super new! Check out his blog for some great writing on SFF.
  6. Lit Lemon Books: I found her after reading the list of recommended bloggers from John @ Tales from Absurdia, and I was intrigued by the idea that she’s trying to read for free in 2022 by mainly using her library.
  7. The Scarlet Bookkeeper: An Australian book blogger who LOVES YA and writes long reviews.
  8. Felicia @ Stuck in Fiction: Her blog features book tours, book reviews, author interviews, and more.
  9. Aamna @ The Ink Slinger: A teen book blogger who features a variety of genres, whose blog I found from Celeste’s recommendation post. And I laughed at the tagline saying not to plagiarize her because being plagiarized by another blogger is seriously the worst!
  10. Amy’s Bookish Life: A UK blogger with a pretty aesthetic who also likes to talk middle grade!

If you wrote a post, shared a Twitter thread, or did anything else this month you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments. And since we’re supporting bloggers, be sure to check out some of the links that other people have left!

Happy blogging!

Briana

10 New-to-Me Bloggers I Recommend: #BookBloggerSupport22

:

This post is to complete the first monthly challenge in the Support Book Bloggers 2022 Challenge I am hosting. February’s prompt is: Find 10 Book Bloggers That Are New-to-You and Give Them a Shout Out.

If you would like to participate in this challenge, click here for details. I will also have a check-in post at the end of the month, where everything can link to the posts they completed in February.

As always, if I did not include you in this list, it’s not because I don’t like you, just that I ran out of room!

smaller star divider
  1. Frappes and Fiction: A teen book blogger with thoughtful takes on a variety of topics.
  2. Celeste @ A Literary Escape: An avid book blogger who reads multiple genres, but I am especially interested in her fantasy reviews.
  3. Rosie Amber: I discovered her through this challenge, and I love that she also is super excited about supporting and promoting other bloggers.
  4. Luke Shelton: Lots of interesting posts about Tolkien here.
  5. Alex @ Spells and Spaceships: I think I started following Alex last year, so he’s new-to-me but not super new! Check out his blog for some great writing on SFF.
  6. Lit Lemon Books: I found her after reading the list of recommended bloggers from John @ Tales from Absurdia, and I was intrigued by the idea that she’s trying to read for free in 2022 by mainly using her library.
  7. The Scarlet Bookkeeper: An Australian book blogger who LOVES YA and writes long reviews.
  8. Felicia @ Stuck in Fiction: Her blog features book tours, book reviews, author interviews, and more.
  9. Aamna @ The Ink Slinger: A teen book blogger who features a variety of genres, whose blog I found from Celeste’s recommendation post. And I laughed at the tagline saying not to plagiarize her because being plagiarized by another blogger is seriously the worst!
  10. Amy’s Bookish Life: A UK blogger with a pretty aesthetic who also likes to talk middle grade!
Briana

2022 “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge: January Check-in

Overview

This year, Pages Unbound is hosting a challenge to support and promote book bloggers through sharing posts, commenting on posts, and otherwise recognizing book bloggers. If you would like more information on how it works or how to join in, read the introduction post here.

This Month’s Challenge

Again, you can do the tasks in any order you like, but January’s “official” task was to Find 10 Book Bloggers You’ve Enjoyed Reading in the Past and Give Them a Shout Out. You could do this by writing a blog post about them, sharing a Twitter thread, or doing anything else to show your support.

The 10 bloggers I gave a shout out to were:

  1. Amber @ The Literary Phoenix
  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters
  3. Kal @ Reader Voracious
  4. Katie @ Doing Dewey
  5. Marie & Nyx @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
  6. May @ Forever and Everly
  7. Michael @ My Comic Relief
  8. The Orangutan Librarian
  9. Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den
  10. Yesha @ Books, Teacup and Reviews

___________________________

If you wrote a post, shared a Twitter thread, or did anything else this month you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments. And since we’re supporting bloggers, be sure to check out some of the links that other people have left!

Happy blogging!

Briana

2022 Book Blog Discussion Challenge Sign-up Post #LetsDiscuss2022

I don’t usually sign up for challenges simply because I . . . tend to forget that I signed up for them in the first place. But I’m going rogue this year, first by hosting the Support Book Book Bloggers Challenge here, and by finally signing up for the Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight that I’ve been eying for several years but never joined. (I think Krysta joined once?)

The goal is to write discussion posts, and, hey, Krysta and I do that a lot anyway! So I should actually be successful at this challenge. If I remember I signed up for it and actually link up my discussion posts.

I am aiming for the Chatty Kathy level, which is 21-30 discussion posts. My theory is I can do at least 2 per month, putting me around 24.

If you want to sign up or read more details, click here.

Briana

Wanted: Guest Posts for Our Annual Tolkien Reading Event (March 2022)

During March 2022, Pages Unbound will be running our eighth 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.

Official Tolkien Society Theme: LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP

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: to be announced by the Tolkien Society
  • any aspect of The Silmarillion
  • the art of Middle-Earth
  • a tour of your Tolkien collection (books or merchandise)
  • Tolkien’s villains
  • 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 Monday, March 21, and so would like to receive guest posts by March 14.  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!)

Poems: Excerpts of poems are fine, but please do not include entire poems still under copyright.

Twitter Hashtag: #TolkienReadingEvent22

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

*LOTR clip art by Nesca at CuteGraphicSupply.

CLICK TO FILL OUT GOOGLE FORM

https://forms.gle/7eUTFMGrmWDUd2mA9

10 Book Bloggers I’ve Loved Following the Past Few Years

This post is to complete the first monthly challenge in the Support Book Bloggers 2022 Challenge I am hosting. January’s prompt is: Find 10 Book Bloggers You’ve Enjoyed in the Past and Give Them a Shout Out.

If you would like to participate in this challenge, click here for details. I will also have a check-in post at the end of the month, where everything can link to the posts they completed in January.

As always, if I did not include you in this list, it’s not because I don’t like you, just that I ran out of room!

smaller star divider

Amber @ The Literary Phoenix

Amber’s blog is absolutely gorgeous, and I love reading her discussions and the thoughts in her reviews. I love long reviews, and that’s definitely something I get here! Check out: 2021 Goals and Looking Forward to 2022.

Jenna @ Falling Letters

Jenna is an extremely friendly blogger, and her blog is a great place to get middle grade recommendations! (And other books. I just love a good middle grade blogger.) Check out: The Appeal of Morrigan Crow and Nevermoor.

Kal @ Reader Voracious

In addition to her blog and reviews, Kal has a lot of useful guides and resources for bloggers. She’s also a big champion of supporting book bloggers. Check out: Why Book Blogs Are Relevant & Valuable Marketing Tools.

Katie @ Doing Dewey

Katie reviews a wide variety of nonfiction that I always want to add to my TBR and occasionally actually get around to reading. Even if I don’t though, I feel as if I’ve at least learned something by reading her blog posts! And there are some fiction reviews, as well! Check out: Biology Nonfiction in Review: Gut.

Marie & Nyx @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

Marie & Nyx are such supportive members of the book blogging community and write engaging, detailed posts. Check out: Blogging vs. Social Media: Why Having a Book Blog Still Matters.

May @ Forever and Everly

May has such a lively writing voice, and her blog is crisp and clean. I love seeing what she’s going to publish next, which her blog has a nice variety, including recs for diverse books. Check out: My Book Review Writing Process + A Few Tips.

Michael @ My Comic Relief

If you’re interested in comics, this blog is for you! But, if like me, you haven’t read that many comics, you can also find content on the MCU, superheroes, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and more. It’s all impressively insightful and well-researching. It’s content I don’t see anywhere else on the web. Check out: Why Black Widow Is the Best Marvel Movie of All Time.

The Orangutan Librarian

The Orangutan Librarian writes long, in-depth posts but also balances them out with wit and a sense of humor. I love reading everything from her discussion posts to her reviews. She also does mini reviews, for those looking for quick overviews of books. Check out: A Bookworm’s WORST NIGHTMARES!

Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den

Sammie has such an engaging, humorous voice that she makes me want to pick up practically every book she reviews. I also like the variety on her blog, including middle grade, YA, and adult, as well as lists and discussions. Check out: 5 Star Reads of 2021.

Yesha @ Books, Teacup and Reviews

Yesha’s blog has a great variety of content from middle grade to adult books and discussion posts. She’s also a really supportive member of the book blogging community and is so prolific with retweets and comments! Check out: 10 Bookish Pet Peeves.

Briana

2022 “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge

Introduction and “Rules”

To help support and promote book bloggers further in 2022, I am hosting a (very casual) “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge. The idea is simple: we will work together to read blog posts, share them, comment on them, and boost book bloggers in other ways.

There are no real “rules” here. It would be lovely if you wrote an introduction post on your blog saying you intend to participate in the challenge. You can also use the intro post on your own blog to check off tasks as you complete them. And each month I will publish a post here on Pages Unbound, so everyone can check in with how they’re doing on the challenge and, if applicable, share links to any posts they have made.

I have included 12 ideas, so you have one task to focus per month in 2022, but there is no obligation to do the tasks in order. Choose whichever option works best for you in any given month.

Of course, you can also participate in this challenge if you are not a blogger but have another platform. Just replace “write a blog post” with “make a video” or “create an Instagram post” or whatever works for you.

Happy blogging, everyone!

Social Media Hashtag: #BookBloggerSupport22

smaller star divider

1. Find 10 Book Bloggers You’ve Enjoyed Reading in the Past and Give Them a Shout Out

The shout out can be as a blog post on your blog, a list on Twitter, or any other ways you want to show them support.

  1. _______________
  2. _______________
  3. _______________
  4. _______________
  5. _______________
  6. _______________
  7. _______________
  8. _______________
  9. _______________
  10. _______________

2. Find 10 New-to-you Book Bloggers to Follow

Follow 10 new book blogs. They don’t need to be new blogs, just new-to-you. Optional: write a post, create a Twitter thread, etc. sharing their URLs with others.

  1. _______________
  2. _______________
  3. _______________
  4. _______________
  5. _______________
  6. _______________
  7. _______________
  8. _______________
  9. _______________
  10. _______________

3. Leave Comments on 10 Book Blogs

  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____

4. Write a Post Supporting Book Bloggers

Ideas include:

  • A round-up of blog links you enjoyed reading in the past week or month
  • A post about why you enjoy reading book blogs in general
  • A post about how other people can support book blogs
  • A list of bloggers with affiliate links or ko-fi accounts that people can support

5. Share 10 Blog Posts to Social Media

  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____

6. Respond to 5 Comments Other People Have Left on a Blog

Instead of leaving a comment replying to the blog posts, try starting a discussion by replying to a comment someone else has left on another blog.

  1. ____
  2. ____
  3. ____
  4. ____
  5. ____

7. Write a Post about Books You’ve Read Because of Other Bloggers

Your list can be specific (I read X book because Y blogger recommended it), or it can be more general (I read these books because they seem popular with bloggers in general).

8. Follow 5 New Book Bloggers (Less Than 1 Year Old)

Optional: write a post, Twitter thread, etc. sharing their URLs with others.

  1. _______________
  2. _______________
  3. _______________
  4. _______________
  5. _______________

9. Write a Guest Post for a Blog or Feature a Guest Post on Your Blog

Guests posts seem to have declined in popularity on book blogs in the past couple years, but they can be a fun way to increase your reach and introduce readers to new bloggers.

10. Read 10 Blog Posts and “Like” Them

This is the simplest way to support book blogs — read them! — but sometimes we get busy, and this falls by the wayside. So take the time to read 10 posts and leave a “like” is possible. Bonus: comment on them, as well.

Ideas include:

  1. Creating a round-up of interesting links from other blogs
  2. Writing a discussion post inspired by someone else’s and linking back
  3. Linking to other bloggers’ reviews at the end of your reviews
  4. Linking to another blogger’s post in a discussion post to support a point
  5. Including quotes from other bloggers and linking back to them in one of your posts

12. Share 10 More Blog Posts to Social Media

Repetitive? Maybe. But bloggers love when other people share their posts, and they get more traffic!

  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
  • ____
smaller star divider

Mini Challenges

Other small things you can do to boost bloggers this year:

  • Comment on a book tour post. (Why: So publishers can see bloggers have an audience and these marketing posts are reaching people.)
  • Comment on an author interview. (Why: These posts tend to get few comments, so commenting shows authors and publishers that people are reading them — and blogs in general.)
  • Tag a publisher on social media when you retweet a 5 star review from a blogger. (Why: These posts often get little recognition from publishers.)
  • Vote for book bloggers in any end-of-the year awards where “book influencers” are nominated. (Why: Usually these categories are dominated by bookstagrammers and booktubers.)
  • Share your secrets to blogging “success.” (Why: We’re all in this together! If you have a great way to get traffic or comments, let others know so we can succeed as a community.)
smaller star divider

Monthly Check-ins

Briana

Tolkien Reading Day – A Shelf Tour by Between Pages (Guest Post by Rucha)

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme selected by the Tolkien Society is Hope and Courage. 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 full schedule of events by clicking here.


Tolkien Collection Shelf Tour Guest Post

Hi, I am Rucha and I blog at Between Pages. Although I have always been an avid reader, my blogging journey began only about six months ago, largely thanks to the lockdown. In the past six months, I have blogged a couple of times about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings – each time feeling a little intimidated by the sheer scope of his works.

I am somewhat of a late comer to the world of Tolkien and Middle Earth having read the books only about 6 years ago. That was a different world, when I would spend about 2 hours travelling to and back from work, and it was a perfect time to finally pick up The Lord of the Rings. I fell in love almost instantly – and hopelessly – with Middle-earth, and till date if anyone asks me a fantasy world where I’d like to live, my answer’s always been Middle-earth. 🙂

So naturally the first on my Tolkien Shelf Tour are my very first beloved copies of the trilogy that I’d bought second hand. I nearly sold them off as my book collection started growing, and also since I recently acquired a more coveted LoTR box set, however, fortunately, I changed my mind and decided these are far too precious to let go off. I really love their worn-out spines and beautiful yellowing pages and I think someday I’d like to hand these down to my children and grandchildren.

The new collection I own is the 60th anniversary edition by Harper Collins. I bought it recently, largely out of vanity I should admit. These are hard backs with a slip case and the dust jackets feature Tolkien’s own original (and unused) designs.

I especially love the fold-outs in these books. Each of the three books have maps, and The Fellowship has a bonus foldout of the runes from the Book of Mazarbul.

This box set also comes with a Readers Companion, which is a perfect resource especially for those who wish to delve deeper into the marvelous world of Middle-earth.

And finally, almost perfectly timed for Tolkien Reading Day, this is my diary, with a stunning gold foil illustration of Frodo, Sam and Gollum at the foot of Mount Doom dated 24 March 3019. It is a special edition Moleskin that truly commemorates the epic tale of The Fellowship. 

I especially loved the accompanying (fold-out) timeline of Frodo and Sam’s journey and a guide to the Cirth Alphabet.

As book lovers, we cannot help buying beautiful books the moment we see it; however, building my Tolkien collection over the years has taught me the importance of not only mindful book collection but also cherishing and preserving old books.

Once again, I’d like to thank the lovely folks at Pages Unbound for letting me guest blog and geek out about my love for The Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth and Tolkien. It truly forms a very important part of my life and more often than not I have found myself leaning on its themes of hope, friendship and comradery whenever I’ve needed to bring some perspective in my life.

smaller star divider

Hi! I’m Rucha, an avid reader who loves to find inspiration between the pages of the books she reads. I created my blog Between Pages mainly to share book reviews but it has now grown into a dedicated space to share my immense love of books and book inspired experiences.

Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien ed. by Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme selected by the Tolkien Society is Hope and Courage. 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 full schedule of events by clicking here.


Perilous and Fair book photo

Information

Goodreads: Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: None
Source: Purchased
Published: 2015

Official Summary

Since the earliest scholarship on The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, critics have discussed how the works of J. R. R. Tolkien seem either to ignore women or to place them on unattainable pedestals. To remedy such claims that Tolkien’s fiction has nothing useful or modern to say about women, Perilous and Fair focuses critical attention on views that interpret women in Tolkien’s works and life as enacting essential, rather than merely supportive roles.

Perilous and Fair includes seven classic articles as well as seven new examinations of women in Tolkien’s works and life. These fourteen articles bring together perspectives not only on Tolkien’s most commonly discussed female characters—Éowyn, Galadriel, and Lúthien—but also on less studied figures such as Nienna, Yavanna, Shelob, and Arwen. Among others, the collection features such diverse critical approaches and methods as literary source study, historical context, feminist theory, biographical investigation, close-reading textual analysis, Jungian archetypes, and fanfiction reader-response.

Star Divider

Review

Overall, this collection is essential reading for anyone who loves Tolkien, and it will provide some eye-opening arguments for anyone who thinks Tolkien’s women are flat or his portrayals are sexist. The authors consistently offer evidence that while, of course, Tolkien would not have held the views of a 21st-century feminist, the women in his books are nuanced and powerful and generally subvert gender expectations rather than fulfill them. Tolkien was also a champion of women academics in his personal life, and we have no evidence to suggest he didn’t like or respect women.

Here are some brief thoughts on the individual essays:

“The History of Scholarship on Female Characters in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium: A Feminist Bibliographic Essay” by Robin Anne Reid

This essay lists feminist articles about Tolkien’s work, beginning in the 1970s (when there were only two) and continuing to 2013, right before Perilous and Fair was published. Reid summarizes the articles and gives readers an idea of what feminist Tolkien scholarship has looked like and where it might go, but I admit I’d probably find this bibliography much more useful if I were planning to do some research myself. For pure reading value, this is mildly interesting, but I think it can be skipped unless you actually want to go read some of the articles listed.

“The Missing Women: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lifelong Support for Women’s Higher Education” by John D. Rateliff

I understand what this essay is doing. The idea that Tolkien was mired in a nearly all-male world (and that he preferred it that way) in ingrained in many people’s understanding of Tolkien and his life. Rateliff even quotes parts of Humphrey Carpenter’s biography that argue explicitly this point- and this may be why so many people believe it, since Carpenter’s biography is generally considered the definitive one. However, it’s still a bit funny that, in order to correct this misconception and demonstrate that Tolkien knew women and was even a staunch supporter of them academically when others weren’t (coughLewiscough), Rateliff found it necessary to comb letters, archives, and people’s personal memories in order to make a list of every time Tolkien ever interacted with a woman.

“She-who-must-not-be-ignored: Gender and Genre in The Lord of the Rings and the Victorian Boys’ Book” by Sharin Schroeder

An interesting comparison between Tolkien’s work and the “boys’ book” genre that early critics dismissively accused The Lord of the Rings belonging to. It seems weird today that anyone would accuse LotR of being a children’s book and I don’t 100% see the need any longer for people to “defend” Tolkien’s work. However, Schroeder does go beyond that to explain how gender in LotR compares to that in popular Victorian boys’ books and touches briefly on some books Tolkien might have been familiar with or read in his own youth. It focuses heavily on She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard (as it’s one of the few books Tolkien explicitly mentioned in an interview), which frankly didn’t mean much to me as I’d never heard of the book before.

“The Feminine Principle in Tolkien” by Melanie A. Rawls

An excellent look at masculine and feminine characteristics and Tolkien and the important point that both men and women need to embody both characteristics. (This essay is quoted in a few of the other essays, so definitely an influential piece to pay attention to.)

“Tolkien’s Females and the Defining of Power” by Nancy Enright

Enright explores the power that Tolkien’s women have. She has an interestingly extensive discussion of Arwen, considering many readers write her off as barely even being in The Lord of the Rings.

“Power in Arda: Sources, Uses, and Misuses by Edith L. Crowe

Crowe argues that Tolkien’s works can fit in with some definitions of feminism and also points out the importance of female power and involvement in creation in The Silmarillion. She also makes the intriguing point about how important renunciation of power in Tolkien is and how not killing plays such as important role, rare in modern fantasies.

“The Fall and Repentance of Galadriel” by Romuald I. Lakowski

This is one of those essays that really highlights how much Tolkien revised his writing and how much was never fully resolved. There are different versions of Galadriel’s story, but the only things we can say for certain about her are in The Lord of the Rings because otherwise Tolkien was constantly revising his material concerning her. However, this is an insightful look at what we do know and what different information would mean for readers’ interpretations of her character and her power.

Cami D. Agan, “Lúthien Tinúviel and Bodily Desire in the Lay of Leithian”

This essay reads into silences in the text and asks, “How then might it affect the text to assume that Lúthien and Beren consummate their love in the forest?” (172). This is not my favorite approach to literary criticism (How would it affect the text to assume something happens that readers have no direct evidence actually happens?), but Agan still manages to make interesting arguments about Lúthien’s power and how it’s tied up with her body. Personally, I haven’t read Lúthien’s story recently, and I would like to be more familiar with it to have any stronger opinions on this essay.

“The Power of Pity and Tears: The Evolution of Nienna in the Legendarium” by Kristine Larsen

Nienna is another figure I’m not 100% familiar with, but this look at the value of pity and tears is convincing, and of course one can see the importance of pity in The Lord of the Rings, as well. Larsen also discusses whether pity is considered a particularly feminine trait and what that might mean.

If this topic interests you, you can check out one of our previous guest posts, “She Who Weeps:” The Value of Sorrow in Tolkien.

“At Home and Abroad: Éowyn’s Two-fold Figuring as War Bride in The Lord of the Rings” by Melissa A. Smith

I dislike assertions that Tolkien’s writing was “influenced” by his wartime experience (though, of course, one’s life experience must imbue one’s creative works in some way), but the argument that Eowyn can be read as a war bride is persuasive and explains things like how quickly she and Faramir develop a romantic relationship. Smith points out that Tolkien seems to acutely understand something of women’s psychology here, what it means to be left behind in war, what it means to fall in love with someone you recently met, etc.

“The Valkyrie Reflex in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Galadriel, Shelob, Éowyn, and Arwen” by Leslie A. Donovan

This piece stands out in the collection for bringing in Arwen and Shelob, along with Galadriel and Eowyn. I do think the lists of “and this is how Character X has valkyrie characteristics!” went on a bit long for my tastes. (Apparently luminous eyes are notable, and all these characters have descriptions of their eyes?) But the look at how Tolkien might have been influenced by depictions of valkyries is intriguing.

“Speech and Silence in The Lord of the Rings: Medieval Romance and the Transitions of Éowyn” by Phoebe C. Linton

A very good essay looking at Eowyn, as well as what her apparent silences in the book indicate. I think, however, it raises similar points as other essays in the book do, as Eowyn is an obvious subject for a look at “women in Tolkien,” and I probably would have enjoyed this more if I’d read it on its own or if I’d read it first rather than practically last. I can only read the same quotes about Eowyn and what they mean so many times, no matter how interesting I think they are.

“Hidden in Plain View: Strategizing Unconventionality in Shakespeare’s and Tolkien’s Portraits of Women” by Maureen Thum

I’m always on the fence about comparative essays. Thum makes insightful points about the subverting of gender expectations in Twelfth Night and The Lord of the Rings, but I think she could have written two entirely separate essays; the points about Shakespeare don’t really illuminate Tolkien. Additionally, her arguments about Eowyn and Galadriel are convincing but don’t strike me as overly different arguments from other essays in this collection. It’s a fine essay but certainly not my favorite in this book.

“Finding Ourselves in the (Un)Mapped Lands: Women’s Reparative Readings of The Lord of the Rings” by Una McCormack

A good look at Tolkien fan fiction and the way women authors have chosen to write themselves into the story of LotR where they feel they have been excluded. This is interesting from an academic viewpoint, but I can’t say it made me particularly curious about reading the fan fiction itself, as McCormack herself admits some of it can be Mary Sue-ish as authors work out how to insert female characters– as female knights, as original side characters, as lovers of existing female characters, etc.

Briana
5 stars

Would You Survive As a Member of the Fellowship of the Ring? (Quiz)

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Nature and Industry. 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!

smaller star divider

Instructions

*Click on the flow chart to make it bigger.

Would you survive if you joined the Fellowship of the Ring and went on the journey to toss the One Ring into Mount Doom? Take our short quiz to see if you have the skills to make it all the way to Mordor and back– or if you’ll suffer the fate of Boromir.

Let us know in the comments if you survived!

Other Lord of the Rings/Tolkien Quizzes