All posts tagged hobbit

2012 Fantasy Challenge

Published November 23, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

It has come to my attention recently that there are roughly eleventy billion fantasy books out there that I have not read. To combat this, I’ve decided to create a reading challenge, because I always do better when I hold myself accountable. So, who wants to join me?

the fantasy reading challenge will run from January 1st, 2012 – December 31st, 2012. Sign up begins today and lasts until February 1st, 2012.

If science fiction is more to your tastes, I will also be doing a sci-fi challenge. Details will be posted tomorrow.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Sign up with the link below. If you don’t have a blog, you can link your Goodreads  account.

2. Grab the image on the left for your site.

3. Choose your level.

4. Leave a comment letting me know what level you’ve chosen.

Challenge Levels:

Hobbit: 5 books

Elf: 10 books

Vampire Slayer: 15 books

Wizard: 30 books

Brothers Grimm: 50 books

Dragonrider: 75 books

Curse Breaker: 100 books

Titan: 130+ books

More info: the books you choose can be in any sub-genre of fantasy, and can be adult, YA, or MG. Comics and graphic novels also count.

If you need suggestions, click here.

Alternate Challenges:

1. Read only high/epic fantasy

2. Read only urban fantasy

3. Read only historical fantasy

4. If you normally read adult, read only YA/ MG; or vice versa

5. Include at least 5 debut authors

6. Read only books based of myths/legends/ fairytales

I’m going to try for the Brother’s Grimm level; 50 books. I might shoot for Dragonrider.

What level are you going for? Do you have any great fantasy suggestions?


Storytelling Through Music

Published August 3, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Older than the written word–older than civilization even, storytelling has always played a central role in society.  Tales were meant to provide entertainment. They were told to recount and immortalize historic events. They were cautionary tales, lessons. Stories were family histories passed down orally from one generation to the next.

One of the ways this was done was through verse; or song.

Some of the oldest, greatest tales, myths, and legends are written in verse– the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Edda, parts of the Arabian nights, the Vedas, the Kojiki, the old testament, and some of the traditional Irish epics. Even Tolkien used song in the Hobbit and LOTR as back story. Just as in our world, the people of Middle Earth told the tales of the great heroes through verse.

Think of Orpheus, arguably one of the most famous musicians. Pindar called him the Father of Song, and he wasn’t far off. Gifted by the gods, he was a man who, armed with only his lyre, was able to charm beasts, defeat the Sirens, and brave the Underworld to win back Eurydice. In a way, he was the ultimate hero. He used music to fight his battles. What a concept! Now, if everyone did that, the world would be a much better place.

Throughout history, people have used song to convey their messages. 

Troubadours would travel the countryside, telling their tales and singing their songs to kings and noblemen. These songs were silly, they were tragic, they were entertaining.

Slaves in the American South would create and sing songs while they toiled away in the hot fields. These songs would give them hope that they would one day rise above the oppression; they were a distraction from the horrors of their everyday lives.

During the Depression, folksingers used song to fight back against the government, to raise awareness, and again, to give hope. Woody Guthrie, perhaps one of the most prolific songwriters of our time, rambled and sang his way across the country. Like Orpheus before him, he battled discrimination with song. Armed with nothing more than his guitar, he stood up against a corrupt government, and gave a voice to the unheard.

Songs are a powerful way to get your message across. They are our fears, our desires, our hopes, our dreams, our losses, our celebrations, our sorrows, our joys, our memories, our experiences. They are, each and every one of them, a story.

What are some of your favorite songs that tell a story? Here are some great examples:

I chose them, not necessarily for the songs themselves, but for the execution. Each of these songs not only tell a story, but have interesting, unique, and oftentimes silly ways of going about it. As you will notice, they are mostly folk. My work may be rubbing off on me.

Rocky Raccoon

I think the way Paul gets every verse to rhyme, like a poem, is brilliant.

Alice’s Restaurant

Sure it’s long. Sure it’s meandering, but if Arlo is anything, he is a master storyteller.

Walt Whitman’s Niece

I love the atmosphere Woody conveys with this song. Hearing it, you feel as though you are sitting in the bar with him, talking over drinks, while he struggles to recall the details.

Albi the Racist Dragon

What a hilarious way to tell a story–with the contradictory said-isms and the magical, upbeat descriptions interwoven into an otherwise depressing tale.

In the Pines–Nirvana cover

This is a traditional song arranged originally by Leadbelly, but I love the raw intensity of Kurt Cobain’s cover.

Failure of Wit

Published July 22, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

So, the heatwave has come to the Northeast (well yesterday, but I was too hot and lazy to post). While its not nearly as hot as the Midwest, its still hot. I’m used to it because growing up in Boston, upper 90 degree weather was not unusual in July and August, but apparently in the mountains it is. The east coast is hotter. And wetter. Anyways, the reason I feel so melty, droopy, sweaty, cranky, headachey, and tired is because I live on the 4th and top floor of an old brick building over a Chinese restaurant with no air conditioning. I take about 5 cold showers a day.

Now, on a slightly more important note, The Hobbit has begun filming (it has been for a few months, but still)! My nerdy self is kind of excited that Martin Freeman will be playing young Bilbo. It leads me to wonder if he will pack his towel.

I was going to write a witty, insightful post, but it is just too damn hot to think straight. So I’ll save it for next week. Enjoy the weekend, drink lots of water, and now I’m going to go jump in the pool and pretend I’m a fish. Because fishes are cool.