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.

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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

Review: Tolkien in Translation edited by Thomas Honegger (Guest Post by Jenna)

Tolkien Reading Event 2017

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction. 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.


tolkien in translation 2

tolkien translation 1

Once upon a time, I wanted to write a paper about translating Tolkien for an undergraduate course. Numerous challenges accompany the task of translating literature. Tolkien crafted his stories on a foundation of language. His careful use of the English language and his creation of Middle-earth’s own languages further complicates the process of translating his works. As he wrote of The Lord of the Rings, “Hardly a word in its 600,000 or more has been unconsidered” (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 160). Though my paper never materialized, the beginning of my research led me to Tolkien in Translation¸ a volume of works that “reflects on some of these challenges and how different translators overcame them” (back description). This book is the fourth volume in the Cormarë series from Walking Tree Publishers. The series currently consists of 35 books collecting scholarly papers and studies about Tolkien and his writing.

Tolkien in Translation contains six papers, one that posits a translation theory for Tolkien’s work and five that each focus on a particular language of translation. Allan Turner’s “A Theoretical Model for Tolkien Translation Criticism” gives the collection context by providing a translation model that complements the articles to follow. Turner adapts George Steiner’s hermeneutical theory of translation. The fundamental idea of this theory, particularly as applied to Tolkien, is that to produce an accurate and faithful translation, the translator requires a deep acquaintance with the source text. This idea connects the six papers. Whether the authors of the papers explore their own translation or critique others’, they each appreciate that a translator of Tolkien must understand not only the text which they are translating, but also Tolkien’s other writings and comments about his Middle-Earth universe.

“In the Middle-Earth books, the interconnections are so frequent and complex, and the pitfalls for the translator who does not know the larger structure so numerous and well hidden, that ‘ordinary competence and conscientiousness are simply not enough” (Nils Ivar Agøy, 42)

Even if you’re not specifically interested in translation, you may learn something new about Tolkien’s language choices from this text. For example, the works about the Norwegian and French translations both comment on English’s Germanic background. Tolkien often selected words with a specific English history. This background means that English has many words of a particular history that Norwegian and French cannot necessarily trace or replicate. In addition, each work references Tolkien’s own comments on translations. Readers unfamiliar with Tolkien’s opinions on translation can still gain a sense of how he would have liked to see his work treated.

Discussing translation necessitates a discussion of Tolkien’s stylistics. When I first considered the difficulties of translating Tolkien, I thought only about the meaning he built into his names and his constructed languages. Never mind the choices he made when using the English language! As a native English speaker, I rarely stopped to consider what kind of impression his use of English made on me, the reader. This is just the sort of thing to which a translator must pay careful attention. Sandra Bayona’s exploration of socio-linguistic features in the Spanish translation of The Lord of the Rings exemplifies this idea. For example, the phrase ‘I reckon’ (frequently used by Sam) is translated seven different ways in Spanish (82-3). ‘I reckon’ loses its significance as a marker distinguishing Sam’s discourse. Bayona’s close reading of the text identifies a number of speech elements that convey meaning easily lost in translation.

If pressed to choose the paper in the collection that least interested me, I would choose Arden R. Smith’s “The Treatment of Names in Esperanto Translations of Tolkien’s Work”. This paper is the only one that focuses on name translation. The paper consists of numerous list and charts detailing one translator’s poor and inconsistent choices when translating names into Esperanto. I can appreciate the challenge of an Esperanto translation. Esperanto was a language constructed to be simplified and easy to learn, in order to facilitate universal communication. Tolkien certainly wasn’t going for language simplicity in his works. However, I found the Esperanto translation errors less interesting than, say, the Spanish missteps, because Esperanto is not a living language with the history and connotations of the other languages explored.

Some final comments on the three papers I haven’t yet mentioned: The second work in the book is a reflection, as Nils Ivar Agøy explores some of the decisions he made in translating The Silmarillion into Norwegian. This is the shortest work in the collection, and the only one that focuses on The Silmarillion. Vincent Ferre, Daniel Lauzon, and David Riggs’ paper provides an explanation of how the awkward choices and delays in the French translations may have contributed to France’s cool reception of Tolkien. Mark T. Hooker’s “Nine Russian Translation of The Lord of the Rings” provided me with the most ‘did you know’ moments in the book. I.E. Did you know that The Lord of the Rings first circulated in 1960s Russia as an underground condensed translation by a woman named Zinaid Anatol’evna Bobyr’, because official translations were banned until the 1980s? (120). Each of these articles sheds illumination on an aspect of Tolkien’s work that may have gone unconsidered had it not needed to be translated into a particular language and culture.

I recommend Tolkien in Translation to those with an interest in how language shapes literature. Tolkien fans will find much to appreciate in this accessible collection. A companion volume, Translating Tolkien: Text and Film (Cormarë Vol. 6) [link: http://www.walking-tree.org/books/translating_tolkien.php%5D also looks promising, though I have not yet read it.

About the Author

Jenna enjoys reading Tolkien, middle grade, and speculative fiction, though she blogs about all kinds of books at Falling Letters. She will be moving to Vancouver in the fall to begin a master’s in library and information studies. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.

My Tolkien Collection (Guest Post by Emily @ Rose Read)

Tolkien Reading Event 2017

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction. 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.


Greetings, weblings! My name is Emily, and I blog over at Rose Read. Here’s a little about me: I am a grad student studying Library and Information Science, though I started out as a high school English teacher. I also work on MuggleNet.com, the #1 Harry Potter fan site, and I co-manage the Apparating Library Book Club for the Harry Potter Alliance. Other than books and blogging, I love musical theater, hiking, dark chocolate, Mumford & Sons, owls, and unicorns. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @enchntdrose or my blog at www.rosereadblog.wordpress.com! Thanks to Briana and Krysta for letting me do a guest post – let’s get started!

Today I’m going to share with you some of my most prized books in my entire personal library: my Lord of the Rings trilogy box set, which is a second edition from 1965. This set has sentimental value as well as being just really pretty. It was given to me after my childhood best friend’s grandmother passed away. My best friend and I would often spend time playing at her grandmother’s house, which was always great because she had the BEST cookies and a really cool old house to explore. One of our favorite places in the house was the basement. I remember it as a very dark, plush lounge, complete with a fancy old bar, fancy plush chairs, and a fancy, giant, old bookshelf. My friend wasn’t much of a reader, but I was always enamoured at the old bookshelf and would spend time just staring at it, afraid to touch any of the old volumes. After her grandmother died, my friend’s mom gave me this set of books from that very collection. The set still has its box and dust covers pretty much pristine. The top edges are tinted and there are pull-out maps in the back of each book. I love them more than a person probably should love inanimate objects. Behold:

Tolkien Books

Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings

Tolkien Map

Beautiful, no?

I’ve tried my best to find other Tolkien books to match these for the rest of my collection. I managed to find a Silmarillion copy that is from the same publisher, and it’s an American first edition, so it matches pretty well. Unfortunately, I do not have the dust cover, but it’s still pretty:

Tolkien Books

Then I have a first American edition copy of the Book of Lost Tales, which matches the others, too! This one does have the dust cover!

Book of Lost Tales

I sadly do not have an old Hobbit copy, but I do like the edition I have. Also pictured is A Tolkien Miscellany with short stories (that has AWESOME cover art of Smaug) and 3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien because I am a sucker for pretty illustrated “quick guides” like these.

Tolkien Quick Guides

Tolkien Quick Guides 2

And that’s the extent of my Tolkien book collection. I know it’s probably not as large as the collections of Tolkien fans reading this post, but it is very special to me. I tried to build it around my prized trilogy set, which will forever remind me of the giant old bookshelf and the kindness of my friend’s grandmother. I tried reading different editions once, and it just felt wrong. I love the mustiness of these books and the memories they hold of the dark, plush basement – somehow the smell turns to Gandalf’s pipe-weed, and the dark basement into a candle-lit Hobbit hole, and it’s all part of the magic.

Do you have special copies of any Tolkien books? I know I can’t read any other copies than these!

Whimsical Fairies: Tolkien’s Disowned Poem is My Favorite (Guest Post by Lyse @ Belle Reads)

Tolkien Reading Event 2017

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction. 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.


Early in Tolkien’s career, he published a whimsical fairy poem. It was quite popular at the time, although he eventually came to distance himself from it, as one does with early writing. In the time before his graceful warrior elves were introduced, he portrayed happy little creatures, the elves of fairy tales. He titled the short piece with words that conjure very different images in his well-known books: “Goblin Feet.”  Here is the first stanza:

I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundery beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O! I hear the tiny horns
Of enchanted leprechauns
And the padded feet of many gnomes a-coming!
O! the lights! O! the gleams! O! the little twinkly sounds!
O! the rustle of their noiseless little robes!
O! the echo of their feet – of their happy little feet!
O! the swinging lamps in the starlit globes.

 

Tolkien seems to have written the poem for his fiancee, Edith Bratt. And while he may have come to regret it, this poem has always been my favorite of his verses. I do like The Lord of the Rings, of course, and I’ve read Roverandom and portions of The Silmarillion. But “Goblin Feet” is my earliest memory of Tolkien’s writing.

His writing, not of him. I was born knowing about Tolkien. My older sisters were a little obsessed with LOTR. They had movie calendars and all the soundtracks and beautifully matched trilogies. So I knew about Tolkien. But I wasn’t allowed to see the movies (my parents were quite concerned about the violence) and too young to read the books. I tried to join the obsession though. I memorized the track listings from hearing the soundtrack too many times. And I kept all the loose sheets from my sister’s page-a-day calendar. Even now, broody Aragorn graces my wall, reminding me of 2003, which is, now that I think about it, a really long time ago.

Aragorn Poster

So I knew about Tolkien. And when I discovered “Goblin Feet” in my Favorite Poems: Old and New, I was astonished. This was Tolkien just for me. This was Tolkien of the scary orcs and too-old-for-me bloodshed writing about dancing and fairies and everything that warmed my small girl heart. This was Tolkien in a length and lilt that I could memorize and impress adults with. This was Tolkien I could dance and skip and imagine to.

I’m sad–not surprised, but sad–that Tolkien eventually disowned this poem. “Goblin Feet” is the perfect amount of whimsy and earnest awe for small children. And for adults. We could all use more whimsy in our lives. Even today, 10+ years later, this poem reminds me of the little girl who was so yearningly serious and daringly whimsical. She might have been idealized and suppressed over time, hidden by “maturing” and “responsibility,” but I hope she never stops looking for fairies.

About the Author

Lyse was born into a family of Tolkien enthusiasts and proudly displays LOTR art on her mantelpiece. When she’s not doing adulty things, she reads YA & blogs about whatever enters her mind. Follow her blog at https://lyseofllyr.blog/ or follow her on Twitter for hardcore fangirling.

The Book That’s Not Supposed to Exist (Guest Post by Joanna Maciejewska)

Tolkien Reading Event 2017

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction. 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.


The Last Ringbearer

Whenever I watch Aragorn’s coronation scene in The Return of the King, with Eowyn standing in the crowd beside Faramir, I can’t resist thinking: “Poor Eowyn. A victim of the Elven conspiracy!” What an odd thought, you say? Not so much if you have read the book that changed my perception of the coronation scene.

I’m not a devoted Tolkien fan. Yes, I read it when I was young, but before him there were countless other books, including another pioneer writer, Robert E. Howard, and a Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski (if you’ve heard of the Witcher video games, he’s the writer who wrote the books the games were based on), so The Lord of the Rings was just (I can almost hear you gasping!) another fantasy book, and I never fell in love with it. I could probably redeem myself by admitting I loved The Silmarilion much more, but that would likely be countered by the fact I enjoyed the Hobbit movies.

Anyway, I digress. My experience of the Aragorn’s coronation comes from the The Last Ringbearer by Kiryll Yeskov, as opposed to Tolkien.

The Last Ringbearer was fun. Even though it kept the major events that readers know from The Lord of the Rings intact, it depicted the war between Orcs and other races from an entirely different angle. The story focused on the quest to separate the Elven world from the magicless Middle Earth—a mission given to two soldiers from the destroyed Mordor army by a Nazgul, but the more interesting bits were in the background. For example, the poor Orcs were attacked for their attempts of bringing industrial progress and science to the Middle Earth, and their bad and cruel image was nothing more than Elven propaganda aiming to discredit their enemies.

I won’t recount the whole story, as it’s available on Wikipedia (or you might decide you want to read it yourself), but as you might have guessed, in The Last Ringbearer, it’s Eowyn who is Aragorn’s loved one, but he is stuck with Arwen due to Elven plots. In this reimagining of Middle Earth’s history, it’s not the happily ever after one could expect.

What’s even more interesting than the story in the book is… the book’s story.

Even though it’s been published in Russia, and then translated into several languages (including Polish which made it available for me), it’s considered copyright infringement by the Tolkien Estate, so has never been commercially translated or published in English.

I learned about the book’s rough path long after I’d read The Last Ringbearer, and it made me regret I hadn’t paid closer attention to reading this book (which I got from the library), and that I didn’t reread the original work along with it, to discover more interesting tidbits of the alternative story of Middle Earth. All I have left is the memory of the Elven conspiracy that always returns when I see poor Eowyn standing beside Faramir.

But now, after all those years, since my English is much better than when I was young, I might reach for the non-commercial translation available on the net, and once more explore all the details that had escaped me during my first read-through.

What about you? Would you read The Last Ringbearer if it was published in English? Maybe you stumbled upon its non-commercial English translation available online? What did you think of it? Or maybe you agree with Tolkien Estate’s stand on the derivative works and would rather not see this book around?

About the Author

I grew up in Poland, spent over 8 years in Ireland, and I’ve recently moved to Arizona. I have several short stories published in Polish magazines (“Nowa Fantastyka”, “Science-Fiction Fantasy i Horror”, “Magazyn Fantastyczny”, “Esensja”) and anthologies (Fabryka Słów, Replika, Solaris).

Visit Joanna at http://melfka.com.