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Re: [mythsoc] Re:Golden Compass/Northern Lights Award

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  • John D Rateliff
    ... Hi Paul. Welcome to the list. Like you, I ve only read a few of the award-winning books (six in all), though I ve read other books by several of the
    Message 1 of 20 , Jun 24, 2007
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      On Jun 24, 2007, at 5:28 AM, Paul Meeter wrote:
      > Embarrassing to say, I've read only 2 of all those Carnegie books
      > besides _
      > Compass_, namely The Last Battle and Watership Down. Surely
      > Watership Down
      > is more meritorious than The Golden Compass in my opinion.

      Hi Paul. Welcome to the list.
      Like you, I've only read a few of the award-winning books (six in
      all), though I've read other books by several of the authors. Of them
      all, there's only one I think's a better book than GOLDEN COMPASS,
      and that's WATERSHIP DOWN, which isn't a children's book at all--in
      fact, I rank Adams' book the best fantasy of the 1970s, just as I
      rank Pullman's the best of the 1980s. So given the works they had to
      choose from, I think they made the right choice. If it had a wide-
      open field of all the children's books published in England in that
      period, I'd personally have opted for THE HOBBIT (no surprise there).
      Here's hoping the Newbery folks don't decide to walk down the
      same path.


      On Jun 22, 2007, at 8:33 PM, Merlin DeTardo wrote:
      > So who here has read the 1937 winner, _The Family from One End Street_
      > by Eve Garnett? How does it compare to _The Hobbit_?
      >
      > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_from_One_End_Street

      Christina Scull has: I remember that she discusses the book in a
      presentation I attended years ago, but I can't tell you where or if
      her piece was published. From what I've read about it I gather that
      THE FAMILY FROM ONE END STREET was groundbreaking in its day for its
      attempt to present the lives of ordinary people in neither muckraking
      nor sentimental fashion, but I also gather it has not aged well.


      On Jun 23, 2007, at 9:03 AM, David Lenander wrote:
      > Nobody's really commented on what they think of the selection of
      > _Northern Lights_ as the best of the Carnegie list, and I went to
      > look at the list, once again. I could think of a number of titles,
      > off-hand, that I'd rank above the Pullman book

      See above; from the limited number of books I've read that were
      eligible (my reading was much more from the Newbery winners), GOLDEN
      COMPASS has only one peer: WATERSHIP DOWN. That Pullman utterly
      failed to deliver on the promise of this first book doesn't, to my
      mind, detract from his achievement, anymore than THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
      diminishes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, or Book V of THE FAERIE QUEENE
      diminishes Books III & IV.

      --JDR
      current reading: THE ENTS AND THE ENT-WIVES by Lee Whitehead [2005]
    • John D Rateliff
      ... Sorry: obviously, that should have read best of the 1990s . --JDR
      Message 2 of 20 , Jun 24, 2007
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        > just as I rank Pullman's the best of the 1980s.

        Sorry: obviously, that should have read "best of the 1990s".
        --JDR
      • Cathy Akers-Jordan
        Same here, Paul, but I see lots of books I want to add to Mount-To-Be-Read. Cathy ... besides _ ... Watership Down
        Message 3 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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          Same here, Paul, but I see lots of books I want to add to
          Mount-To-Be-Read.

          Cathy

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Meeter" <pdmeeter@...> wrote:
          >
          > Embarrassing to say, I've read only 2 of all those Carnegie books
          besides _
          > Compass_, namely The Last Battle and Watership Down. Surely
          Watership Down
          > is more meritorious than The Golden Compass in my opinion.
          >
          > --
          > Paul Meeter
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • William Cloud Hicklin
          I can t help but suspect that Pullman s open contempt for Tolkien and Lewis, as well as his militant atheism, garnered him quite a few votes from the Literati.
          Message 4 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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            I can't help but suspect that Pullman's open
            contempt for Tolkien and Lewis, as well as his
            militant atheism, garnered him quite a few votes
            from the Literati.
          • William Cloud Hicklin
            ... doesn t, to my ... THE TOMBS OF ATUAN ... FAERIE QUEENE ... I can t concur. GC isn t a book in its own right, like Wizard of Earthsea, but merely Volume
            Message 5 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
              <sacnoth@...> wrote:

              >That Pullman utterly
              > failed to deliver on the promise of this first book
              doesn't, to my
              > mind, detract from his achievement, anymore than
              THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
              > diminishes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, or Book V of THE
              FAERIE QUEENE
              > diminishes Books III & IV.


              I can't concur. GC isn't a book in its own right,
              like Wizard of Earthsea, but merely Volume 1, like
              Fellowship. It can't to my mind be judged
              independent of the other volumes, and like David, I
              find the third in particular to be a trainwreck: Act
              III of Faust as imagined by William Burroughs.
            • Mike Foster
              During my term teaching in Canterbury at Canterbury Christ Church University College in spring 2004, NORTHERN LIGHTS was one of the three assigned novels on
              Message 6 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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                During my term teaching in Canterbury at Canterbury Christ Church
                University College in spring 2004, NORTHERN LIGHTS was one of the three
                assigned novels on the syllabus in the Fiction & Drama course for
                underclass English majors. While it certainly started out very well, it
                was, as noted below, incomplete and thus unfulfilling. A few of the
                students had read the others and their verdict was similar to WCH's.

                THE BORROWERS, which I first read as a child, would have earned my
                sentimental vote; all of the series' volumes were well-wrought. I
                re-read as an adult years ago and they held up quite well.

                Far Westfarthing smial here in west-central Illinois has discussed
                adding GC/NL to our agenda for reading before the film appears.

                Cheers,
                Mike

                -----Original Message-----
                From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                Of William Cloud Hicklin
                Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 10:17 AM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [mythsoc] Re:Golden Compass/Northern Lights Award

                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com> .com, John
                D Rateliff
                <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                >That Pullman utterly
                > failed to deliver on the promise of this first book
                doesn't, to my
                > mind, detract from his achievement, anymore than
                THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
                > diminishes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, or Book V of THE
                FAERIE QUEENE
                > diminishes Books III & IV.

                I can't concur. GC isn't a book in its own right,
                like Wizard of Earthsea, but merely Volume 1, like
                Fellowship. It can't to my mind be judged
                independent of the other volumes, and like David, I
                find the third in particular to be a trainwreck: Act
                III of Faust as imagined by William Burroughs.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Walkermonk@aol.com
                I missed this, since I tend to skip Mr. Rateliff s posts. Just want to state for the record that The Tombs of Atuan is a fantastic book, absolutely worthy of
                Message 7 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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                  I missed this, since I tend to skip Mr. Rateliff's posts. Just want to state
                  for the record that "The Tombs of Atuan" is a fantastic book, absolutely
                  worthy of following "A Wizard of Earthsea" and an excellent compliment to it. Far
                  from diminishing from Wizard, it adds immeasurably to the development of Ged
                  and shows more of the Earthsea world and its inhabitants.

                  Just had to show Atuan some love -- now back to the debate about Pullman,
                  whom I care nothing for and think very little of his writing, and certainly not
                  enough to argue about him when others are doing such heavy lifting for me, so
                  to speak.

                  Grace Walker Monk


                  In a message dated 6/25/2007 10:18:53 AM Central Daylight Time,
                  solicitr@... writes:

                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
                  <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                  >That Pullman utterly
                  > failed to deliver on the promise of this first book
                  doesn't, to my
                  > mind, detract from his achievement, anymore than
                  THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
                  > diminishes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, or Book V of THE
                  FAERIE QUEENE
                  > diminishes Books III & IV.





                  ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • David Bratman
                  I read about the first half of the first Pullman volume, and found it an extremely poor book for several reasons - the polemics were so heavy-handed that they
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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                    I read about the first half of the first Pullman volume, and found it an
                    extremely poor book for several reasons - the polemics were so heavy-handed
                    that they irritated me even where I agreed with Pullman's philosophy, and
                    the book isn't written in the "fairy tale" style (as Narnia is, for
                    instance) that can excuse dogmatics; the structure and politics of the
                    secondary world were grossly oversimple, a fatal objection when it's
                    supposed to be the high politics of an alternate reality of our modern
                    world; and the daemons were as irritating as the Ewoks and E.T., and that's
                    about as irritating as is possible short of Jar Jar Binks. On top of which
                    the plot wasn't very interesting or engrossing.

                    And that, I was assured, is the good part!

                    If that's the great fantasy of the 90s, then the field truly has become a
                    scorched desert.

                    Comparing it to the magnificent and profound _Watership Down_ reminds me of
                    the Monty Python sketch about how 9 out of 10 British women can't tell the
                    difference between Whizzo butter and a dead crab.

                    About the subsequent volumes I can't speak, except to note that by all
                    accounts they are one story and so complaints I've read about the rampant
                    illogic of volume three do reflect back on volume one, the same way that if
                    Frodo had just dropped the Ring in the volcano and gone home, no harm no
                    hurt no foul, it would have been a blemish on the whole LOTR and not merely
                    volume three.

                    Contrary, as Grace Monk says, to Earthsea. I'll leave volumes 4+ out of
                    this, but the original trilogy is a true trilogy, three separate stories,
                    and if _Farthest Shore_ is a little damp at times it's still a magnificent
                    adventure, and _The Tombs of Atuan_ is every bit as good as _Wizard_, maybe
                    better as it has a more unified plot: it's only flawed if you expect it to
                    be told from Ged's viewpoint; whereas I found identifying him to be a major
                    joy of a first spoiler-free reading.

                    However, I doubt that Pullman's award went to a lousy book because the
                    judges were atheists who wanted to give one in the eye to Tolkien and
                    Lewis. That kind of tendentious misreading of people's motives is the kind
                    of thing I'd expect to find in a Pullman novel. It makes much more sense
                    to assume that, like John Rateliff - no Tolkien-hater he - they actually
                    thought it was a good book.
                  • John D Rateliff
                    ... Yes, it s a sentimental favorite of mine as well; read and re-read them over and over in days gone by (except for POOR STAINLESS, which I could have done
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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                      On Jun 25, 2007, at 8:28 AM, Mike Foster wrote:
                      > THE BORROWERS, which I first read as a child, would have earned my
                      > sentimental vote; all of the series' volumes were well-wrought. I
                      > re-read as an adult years ago and they held up quite well.

                      Yes, it's a sentimental favorite of mine as well; read and re-read
                      them over and over in days gone by (except for POOR STAINLESS, which
                      I could have done without). Though I think ARE ALL THE GIANTS DEAD?
                      is actually a better book than any of them, excepting possibly the
                      original THE BORROWERS, I didn't discover that until years later.


                      On Jun 25, 2007, at 9:43 AM, David Bratman wrote:
                      > _The Tombs of Atuan_ is every bit as good as _Wizard_, maybe
                      > better as it has a more unified plot: it's only flawed if you
                      > expect it to
                      > be told from Ged's viewpoint; whereas I found identifying him to be
                      > a major
                      > joy of a first spoiler-free reading.

                      Afraid that can't explain my reaction, since I read TOMBS first, with
                      no preconceptions whatsoever about who should be in it. It was the
                      first fantasy I read after discovering Tolkien, handed to me by
                      someone who said "If you liked Tolkien, you'll like this". I hated it
                      so much I didn't read any more LeGuin again for five years, when I
                      discovered THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, discovered just how good a
                      writer she was, and went back to give Earthsea another try. The first
                      book is magnificent; the second does not improve for me on a second,
                      third, or even fourth reading (love the setting, hate the story,
                      uninterested in the characters); the third is, as LeGuin says, an
                      ambitious failure but the good parts are very good, so I'm fine with
                      that. I'm glad the middle book has its admirers, though, and that
                      they get something out of it that I can't. My favorite Earthsea is
                      actually "The Rule of Names", not just for obvious reasons but
                      because it didn't feature any of the main characters: I wish she'd
                      changed her cast entirely with each new book rather than revisiting
                      the same characters time and time again.

                      On Jun 24, 2007, at 4:31 PM, John D Rateliff wrote:
                      >> just as I rank Pullman's the best of the 1980s.
                      > Sorry: obviously, that should have read "best of the 1990s".

                      --for the 1980s I would pick THE BRIDGE OF BIRDS for that honor.

                      --JDR
                    • David Bratman
                      ... Oh dear. That kind of salesmanship was the bane of my existence throughout my teens, so I sympathize. The problem is that other books may be good, but
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jun 25, 2007
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                        At 11:07 AM 6/25/2007 -0700, John D Rateliff wrote:

                        >Afraid that can't explain my reaction, since I read TOMBS first, with
                        >no preconceptions whatsoever about who should be in it. It was the
                        >first fantasy I read after discovering Tolkien, handed to me by
                        >someone who said "If you liked Tolkien, you'll like this".

                        Oh dear. That kind of salesmanship was the bane of my existence throughout
                        my teens, so I sympathize. The problem is that other books may be good,
                        but while you're anxiously waiting for _The Silmarillion_ to be published,
                        nothing by anybody else will scratch that Tolkien itch.

                        A few books I read in those days were good enough on their own terms, and
                        sufficiently individual and distinctive as LOTR was, to overcome this
                        burden: the Earthsea books and _Watership Down_ among them. Others, like
                        the Conan stories, had nothing in common with Tolkien except for having
                        heroism in a vaguely barbaric setting, and I couldn't figure out why people
                        were recommending them to me at all.


                        >--for the 1980s I would pick THE BRIDGE OF BIRDS for that honor.

                        A delightful, colorful book. But not what I would call a great fantasy by
                        any standard. The book from that decade, indeed even the very same year,
                        that I keep returning to is _Fire and Hemlock_, which I still consider
                        Diana Wynne Jones's best.
                      • Cathy Akers-Jordan
                        ... I had the same problem as a teen/college student, John. After reading LotR at 15, I quickly learned to avoid any books that friends or cover blurbs
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jun 26, 2007
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                          > It was the first fantasy I read after discovering Tolkien, handed to
                          > me by someone who said "If you liked Tolkien, you'll like this".

                          I had the same problem as a teen/college student, John. After reading
                          LotR at 15, I quickly learned to avoid any books that friends or cover
                          blurbs compared to Tolkien because 1. *nothing* could compare, 2. it
                          was usually nothing like LotR, and 3. I usually hated it (like
                          Sharnara and Thomas Covenant, which I've mentioned before).

                          For years I didn't read sword-and-sorcery fantasy because nothing
                          could compare to an epic like LotR and I hated the books my friends
                          thought were wonderful. I liked Piers Anothy in high school but
                          outgrew him long before my friends did. I read things like Watership
                          Down, Ray Bradbury, and lots mysteries (still love those!) -- until I
                          discovered Harry Potter. :)

                          Now I see I have lots of catching up to do!

                          So many books, so little time,

                          Cathy
                        • alexeik@aol.com
                          ... From: John D Rateliff To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 2:07 pm Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re:Golden Compass/Northern
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jun 26, 2007
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                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 2:07 pm
                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re:Golden Compass/Northern Lights Award






                            On Jun 24, 2007, at 4:31 PM, John D Rateliff wrote:
                            >> just as I rank Pullman's the best of the 1980s.
                            > Sorry: obviously, that should have read "best of the 1990s".

                            --for the 1980s I would pick THE BRIDGE OF BIRDS for that honor.

                            --JDR
                            <<

                            I might have said _Little, Big_.
                            Alexei





                            ________________________________________________________________________
                            AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free from AOL at AOL.com.


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • lynnmaudlin
                            So why did The Golden Compass/Northern Lights win, instead of the whole His Dark Materials book? *confused* Reading the variety of responses and reactions
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jun 26, 2007
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                              So why did "The Golden Compass/Northern Lights" win, instead of the
                              whole "His Dark Materials" book? *confused*

                              Reading the variety of responses and reactions to this and LeGuin and
                              others, I can only think "Your Mileage May Vary--" we are individuals
                              and respond as such. This is a good thing, imho.

                              -- Lynn --

                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > I can't concur. GC isn't a book in its own right,
                              > like Wizard of Earthsea, but merely Volume 1, like
                              > Fellowship. It can't to my mind be judged
                              > independent of the other volumes, and like David, I
                              > find the third in particular to be a trainwreck: Act
                              > III of Faust as imagined by William Burroughs.
                              >
                            • WendellWag@aol.com
                              In a message dated 6/26/2007 10:32:42 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, lynnmaudlin@yahoo.com writes: So why did The Golden Compass/Northern Lights win, instead
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jun 26, 2007
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                                In a message dated 6/26/2007 10:32:42 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                lynnmaudlin@... writes:

                                So why did "The Golden Compass/Northern Lights" win, instead of the
                                whole "His Dark Materials" book? *confused*



                                Because, as I said in my post last night, the whole nomination procedure was
                                very arcane. They started with all the winners of the Carnegie Medal. _His
                                Dark Materials_ was never voted on as a single book for the Carnegie. Only
                                the part published as _The Golden Compass_ won a Carnegie. Then some
                                committee decided that the following ten books were the finalists and they were the
                                only books that the online voters could choose from:

                                David Almond _David Al
                                Melvin Burgess _Junk_
                                <WBR><WBR>Kevin Crossley-Holland
                                Jennifer Donnelly _A Jennifer Donnelly
                                Alan Garner _The Owl Service_
                                Eve Garnett Eve Garnett <WBR><WBR>_The Family
                                <WBR><WBR><WBR><WBR><WBR><WB
                                Philippa Pearce Philippa Pearce <WBR><WBR
                                Philip Pullman Philip Pullman <WBR><W
                                Robert WestallRobert Westall<WBR><W

                                The online voters chose _The Golden Compass_, possibly because it was the
                                only one that they had read (or even heard of).

                                Wendell Wagner




                                ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • WendellWag@aol.com
                                The book titles and authors got screwed up somehow, and I don t have time to figure out why. Look at the Wikipedia entry for the Carnegie Medal. There s a
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jun 26, 2007
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                                  The book titles and authors got screwed up somehow, and I don't have time to
                                  figure out why. Look at the Wikipedia entry for the Carnegie Medal.
                                  There's a list of the ten finalists there.

                                  Wendell Wagner



                                  ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Diane Joy Baker
                                  Oh, of course it did. If first volume is part of a series I can t separate what happens in the first book from what happens later in subsequent books, and
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jun 27, 2007
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                                    Oh, of course it did. If first volume is part of a series I can't separate what happens in the first book from what happens later in subsequent books, and since he's so millitant, it shows in the later work. So although I enjoyed some aspects of *Golden Compass* I would not be able to give it my vote.

                                    More things to add to my To Read pile, continually getting larger.

                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    From: William Cloud Hicklin
                                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 10:58 AM
                                    Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Golden Compass/Northern Lights Award


                                    I can't help but suspect that Pullman's open
                                    contempt for Tolkien and Lewis, as well as his
                                    militant atheism, garnered him quite a few votes
                                    from the Literati.





                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Diane Joy Baker
                                    I certainly enjoyed Atuan; still hold some images in my mind from that book after years of not reading it. That s a compliment. ... From: Walkermonk@aol.com
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jun 27, 2007
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                                      I certainly enjoyed Atuan; still hold some images in my mind from that book after years of not reading it. That's a compliment.

                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: Walkermonk@...
                                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 11:43 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re:Golden Compass/Northern Lights Award



                                      I missed this, since I tend to skip Mr. Rateliff's posts. Just want to state
                                      for the record that "The Tombs of Atuan" is a fantastic book, absolutely
                                      worthy of following "A Wizard of Earthsea" and an excellent compliment to it. Far
                                      from diminishing from Wizard, it adds immeasurably to the development of Ged
                                      and shows more of the Earthsea world and its inhabitants.

                                      Just had to show Atuan some love -- now back to the debate about Pullman,
                                      whom I care nothing for and think very little of his writing, and certainly not
                                      enough to argue about him when others are doing such heavy lifting for me, so
                                      to speak.

                                      Grace Walker Monk


                                      In a message dated 6/25/2007 10:18:53 AM Central Daylight Time,
                                      solicitr@... writes:

                                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff
                                      <sacnoth@...> wrote:

                                      >That Pullman utterly
                                      > failed to deliver on the promise of this first book
                                      doesn't, to my
                                      > mind, detract from his achievement, anymore than
                                      THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
                                      > diminishes A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, or Book V of THE
                                      FAERIE QUEENE
                                      > diminishes Books III & IV.

                                      ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • John D Rateliff
                                      Just a quick note to ask if anybody who d found errata in THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT could drop me a line off-list (sacnoth@earthlink.net) to let me know about
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Dec 2, 2007
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                                        Just a quick note to ask if anybody who'd found errata in THE HISTORY
                                        OF THE HOBBIT could drop me a line off-list (sacnoth@...)
                                        to let me know about them, so I can fix them for the trade paperback.
                                        Think I've found most of them by now, but you never know; better
                                        hearing again about one I've caught than missing one I didn't spot.
                                        TIme is a factor, though, so if you know of any please let me know
                                        right away.
                                        Thanks all.
                                        --John R.
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