Tolkien Blog Party 2020 – Tag!

It’s that time of year again—the annual Tolkien Blog Party hosted by Rachel at The Edge of the Precipice blog! I checked and the last time I participated was in 2017. 😮 I’m super excited to join in again this year with some Tolkien-themed posts, starting with this questionaire:

1. What Tolkien character do you think you’re the most like?
Probably Faramir. I can relate to his love of books and music but also having to do things in life he really doesn’t care for. I’m also very loyal, perhaps at times to a fault.

2. What Tolkien character do you wish you were more like?
I would like to be more like Bilbo! He’s got his life sorted out…well, at least till Gandalf showed up. And then after his adventures he comes back rich and settles down reasonably well. If that isn’t life goals, I don’t know what is.

3. What would your dream home in Middle-earth be like?
I would love to live in a tree house in Lothlorien as described in the books. It sounds so stress-free and peaceful! Also I don’t know why they made it blue and gloomy in the movie. It’s described in the book as all golden:

‘There lie the woods of Lothlórien!’ said Legolas. ‘That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. Not till the spring comes and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey. So still our songs in Mirkwood say.’

The Fellowship of the Ring

4. You get to make a movie of the story of Beren and Luthien!  Who do you cast as the leads?
I have to admit, I have yet to read the book, and I tend to picture them as Aragorn and Arwen. 😉 But I would love to see Mia Wasikowska in a Tolkien film, so maybe I would cast her as Luthien. Unsure about Beren…

5. Have you ever marathoned the LOTR or Hobbit movies?
Not that I can remember, although that would be fun! I have watched them across several days though.

6. Do you have a favorite song or track from the movie soundtracks by Howard Shore?

I love the soundtracks so, so much, and it’s hard to pick one! The ring theme, however, is probably my top favorite. It’s so gorgeous and heartbreaking and mysterious all at once.

7. Which of Tolkien’s characters would you like to be best friends with?
I think Samwise is the obvious choice here!

8. Who of the people in your real life would you want in your company if you had to take the ring to Mordor?
Oh boy. 😆 Well, I love my family but I sure don’t want them to get hurt, so I would have to leave them behind. Of my friends… I guess I’d choose whoever can stand eating lembas for months! (Bonus points if they can speak Elvish.)

9. Have you read any of Tolkien’s non-Middle-earth works?

I read his Father Christmas letters years ago and found them delightful. I’ve also read his poem The Fall of Arthur which was really good!

10. Is there a book by Tolkien you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Pretty much all the remaining Middle Earth books. So far, I’ve just read LOTR, The Hobbit, and The Children of Hurin. I have The Fall of Gondolin on my shelf, though, waiting to be read!

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Lincoln in the Bardo (2017)

February, 1862. As music plays downstairs for the Lincolns’ party, “Willie” Lincoln lies in bed in the White House, slowly succumbing to a sudden fever. His father, tormented by the loss of his young son, begins to visit Willie’s body after it is laid to rest in the churchyard. What Lincoln doesn’t realize is that a crowd of departed souls is watching him—from a waiting place known as the Bardo—and moved by the love that is shown to the boy who has left the living world outside the iron gates. Thrown into action by the chance of returning to society, if through the grief-stricken Lincoln, the host of the ghostly figures attempts to bring about his intervention in their present circumstances, while reminiscing about the lives they left behind.

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Interior Designs from Classic Literature – Victorian, Edwardian, Steampunk

Having recently moved to my own place, I now have a new excuse opportunity to indulge my interest in all things home décor-related! Admittedly, most of my tastes have come from costume dramas because those were the films I was obsessed with in my formative years, though I also have a penchant for Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism (who doesn’t, though? 😂). Sticking with the former category, I wanted to share three movies with interior design I absolutely love. These are all films based on classic literature.

Steampunk: Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Have I mentioned this is my favorite film of all time? It’s dated, and a terrible adaptation on many levels, but I adore the aesthetic, the actors, and the music. This movie is a whole mood. I can’t get over the set design for the Nautilus submarine: it combines the elegance of Victorian-industrial with bold, mid-century color-contrast between the ocean blue and the red upholstery. So cool.


Late Victorian: Sherlock Holmes (1984–1994)

The Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett is, by far, the most accurate adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Though they were working on a TV budget, the series features some wonderful sets that match very closely the illustrations by Sidney Paget. They managed to make the late Victorian era look fairly “livable”; this series feels more like going back in time than watching a costume drama. I really like the tea set they used here, Mason’s Mandalay Blue, which instead of reflecting the austere nature of Holmes reflects the warm hospitality of Mrs. Hudson, as it should. 🙂


Edwardian: Howards End (2018)

This spring I watched E.M. Forster’s Howards End starring Matthew Macfadyen and Hayley Atwell. I didn’t like the second half of the story, but the sets and costumes were serious eye candy. Never have I wanted orange walls so badly!!

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Man’s Search for Meaning, Revisited

First reading: May 2014 review

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is part memoir, part manifesto tackling the existential question of human life and why it matters. The message resonates with Frankl’s Yes to Life, but this longer work expands on his points with heartrending examples from his experiences in concentration camps. Though the main focus is valuing one’s own life, the book also challenges us to value other people’s lives, including those of our enemies.

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Quotes from Yes to Life by Viktor Frankl

Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes on my last post and other platforms. It’s truly encouraging. 💛

Resurfacing for a moment, I have some quotes to share from the newly published Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything. It’s the first English translation of some lectures by Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, most known for his book Man’s Search for Meaning.

Later I’d like to film a video with my comments, but for now, here are some things he said that—at the risk of waxing dramatic—I’m turning over in my very soul. Some are things that resonate with me immediately, others are profound question marks that nag and challenge. For context: Frankl was writing this in the mid-1940s, while trying to return to “normal” life in the aftermath of unimaginable pain and loss of his loved ones.

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