Here’s a quick (and very late) wrap up of the books I read in May. It was a very good reading month and, although I said I was just planning to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, I did manage to read a couple of extra books in between those.
The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Last Tycoon was first published a year after Fitzgerald’s death. My copy includes the author’s notes to express the way he intended the book to be finished should anything happen. It is the story of a Hollywood mogul called Monroe Stahr, a widower whose work has now become his lover. One night, a water mains bursts after an earthquake and two young women are swept away in the deluge. He manages to save them and finds that one of these women, Kathleen Moore, looks exactly like his late wife.
The story focuses on the love triangle between Monroe Stahr, Kathlee Moore (possibly the only person in Hollywood not looking for stardom) and Cecilia Brady (the daughter of Stahr’s business partner). This book is a critique of Hollywood and the fascination with stardom, power and celebrities.
Fitzgerald was writing this book just before he died so as you read through the book you eventually come to the last words he ever wrote. I think this affected me more than the actual story.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…”. Perhaps the most well-known opening line in literary history. This book was written by Tolkien for his children and it definitely reads as a children’s book, albeit one with a deep plot and many deeper meanings. This book provides us with introductions to some of the most loved (and those we love to hate!) literary characters: Gandalf, Gollum, Bilbo Baggins, Legolas…
The Hobbit recalls the story of a tiny hero against the cruel dragon, Smaug the Magnificent.
It’s quite hard for me to review this book because, in my eyes, it’s perfect and there’s not enough words that could do it justice. It’s perhaps the most adventurous and exciting story out there, a timeless classic that deserves that title. I like that you can read a lot further into the story if you want to, or you can simply enjoy it at face-value as a very well-written and inspiring fantasy novel. Tolkien’s imagination is endless and I feel grateful that this was shared with the world.
Le Petit-Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
This well known and loved tale tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own planet to travel the world, trying to understand the peculiarities of adult behaviour through a series of encounters with weird and wonderful characters.
I read this book in French so the fact that I was able to do that definitely aided my enjoyment of the read.
The book reminds us that we were all once children and perhaps we should all find some of that magic again. It is a critique of the adult world but I think it goes slightly deeper than just saying that children have imagination and adults do not. It’s about the loss of innoncence that we lose as we grow, it’s about using your imagination, but it’s also a critique of what adults deem as important. It is a true literary treasure and I can see myself re-reading it many times.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
In ancient times, the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-Smiths and Sauron forged his own One Ring filling it with his power so he could rule all the others. But this ring was taken from him during a battle and eventually ended up in the hands of Bilbo Baggins (as told in The Hobbit). At the start of The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo entrusts the care of this ring t his nephew Frodo Baggins. Once again, a Baggins’ life in the sleepy Shire is turned upside down and it becomes Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring and foil Sauron’s plan.
I will start off by saying that this a long and difficult book to read. The storyline is complex with many different characters all with similar sounding names. There’s quite a lot of fantasy terminology to get used to in here as well. Despite that, the journey of reading this book is what makes it so beautiful. When reading it you need to get rid of all notion of the end-goal or getting to some massive action-filled chapter, you just need to allow the book to carry you along on the Fellowship’s quest.
I love that the world and stories Tolkien created have so many layers to it, whether that be political, religious, linguistics or just plain fantasy. There are so many different ways to read the text.
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers follows on from the Fellowship of the Ring and narrates the story of the now disbanded Fellowship.
I enjoyed the fact that this book was divided into two parts: the first telling the story of Gandalf, Merry, Pippin, Legolas and Gimli, and the second telling the adventure of Frodo and Sam. I loved the book just as much as I loved The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. I did find it quite difficult to remember which character was which (new characters come and go very quickly in The Lord of the Rings) though I did find it helpful to watch the films alongisde the books as this enabled me to put a face to the name.
What did you read in the month of May?
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx