Re: [mythsoc] Movie-goers rate the book
- I used to get a chuckle out of the kids who chose "Flatland" by Abbott or "Night" by
Wiesel. I'd tell them that sometimes the shortest books were the most intense. Some
of them would tell me later that I was right.
On Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 2:21 PM, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:Bill West wrote:C.S. Lewis had something to say about that, and I quote:
>In all fairness, it's a trend no matter the type of book, the kids (or their >parents) just wanted the shortest books on the list.
A lady whom I knew discovered that the pretty little probationer who filled her hot-water bottle in the hospital had read _Screwtape_. She also discovered why.
"You see," said the girl, "we were warned that at interviews, after the real, technical questions are over, matrons and people sometimes ask about your general interests. The best thing is to say you've read something. So they gave us a list of about ten books that usually go down pretty well and said we ought to read at least one of them."
"And you chose _Screwtape_?"
"Well, of course; it was the shortest."
- Funny. I guess yet again it's demonstration that I can't trust my own instincts when trying to gauge the reactions of others (a real shortcoming sometimes as an author), but for me, the hardest part of reading a book has always been the initial investment of energy to really "get into" it. It's an investment, it really is. You don't have to invest as much energy to half invent the characters and settings for a movie as you do with a book. Of course, that creative control of imagination is also the great strength of literature as an art form. But there's no denying the investment required, especially when compared with all the other things vying for our attention all the time.Still, the length of a book has never been a deciding factor for me. A 700 page book that sucked me in is as "easy" to read as a 200 page one.LOTR was quite literally the FIRST book I read. It taught me to read- teachers thought I had a learning disability before my mother started reading me those books, and she was going too slow, you know. So I figured it out. I hadn't been properly motivated.As a result it's laughable to me that someone should be so scared of the investment of "difficulty" of LOTR, since I read the trilogy in 3rd & 4th grade. (Of course when I came back and read them in college I got more out of it, but I certainly followed it as a child.)There's no arguing that one of the strengths of Tolkien is also what makes it surprising his work has gained such popularity - he is not at all afraid to spend four pages describing a patch of hills or a piece of historical minutiae, which is something they tell you to NEVER do as a fiction author.
So much for listening to what "they" say, if you feel the inclination to wander off the path.Speaking of, thanks for the opportunity to ramble. ;)
"Nothing on the face of this earth—and I do mean nothing—is half so dangerous as a children’s story that happens to be real, and you and I are wandering blindfolded through a myth devised by a maniac."
— Master Li Kao (T’ang Dynasty)
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- Mike Foster wrote:
>As you may recall, when I taught JRRT course, more than once I wrote on aI haven't read all the comments yet, but "Because you might get tested on it" would be a good general-purpose argument for reading Tolkien.
>paper: “That happened in the movie you obviously saw, not in the book that you
>were supposed to read.
>And Bombadil, Glorfindel, and Goldberry were always on the quizzes and
- Having read through all the comments, I find they mostly fall into four categories:
1) People who liked the movies but thought the book was better;
2) People who have mixed feelings about the book and prefer The Hobbit;
3) People who liked the book so much they can't imagine anyone not liking it (using implicit phrasing like, "If you haven't read it, you're denying yourself a treat");
4) People who hated it so much they, equally implicitly, can't imagine anyone liking it. "Slow" and "boring" are their words of criticism.
Only one of the last group attempts to explain how the book became so popular if it's so bad. This person suggests it hit the hippie moral ethos (having been around for decades, plural, before that without being much noticed: not true on either account). I'd like to see him try to explain, say, Theoden and Eowyn on that basis.
What most interests me is that the bashers recommend, in its place, works that _I_ found slow and boring. "I bet many Tolkien fans haven't read most of these," says one, and he's right, I haven't, because the ones I have read were so bloody bad.
JRRT himself had something to say about this:
"Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer."