So, over the last month or so a number of new Tolkien books have arrived, the greater part of them due to my having taken in the change jar (which formerly held five pounds of Tupilo honey) and exchanged its contents for an amazon.com voucher. So several newish books that had been parked in my check-out cart at amazon are now here waiting for me to find places for them all on the Tolkien shelves.
THE HOBBIT AND HISTORY, ed. Janice Liedl and Nancy R. Reagin [Wiley, 2014]
subtitled on cover "The Unoffical Movie Tie-In to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies", a subtitle that does not appear on the title page or elsewhere. Its links, such as they are, are more with the second movie (and, to a lesser degree, the first) than the third -- naturally enough, since none of these authors could have seen the third and final HOBBIT film at the time they wrote their essys.
Part of the Wiley Pop Culture and History Series, along with Star Trek and History, Star Wars and History, Harry Potter and History, and Twilight and History, all of them edited either by Reagin or by Reagin and Liedl.
--disappointing, though one essay did have a brilliant suggestion re. Tolkien and the Madlener picture.
J. R. R. TOLKIEN, ROBERT E. HOWARD[,] AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN FANTASY by Deke Parsons [MacFarland 2015]
--claims that Tolkien, Howard, and Superman (who for some reason didn't make it into the title) are the main inspirations for modern fantasy. If by 'modern fantasy' you mean D&D, then I'd say Parsons is on more or less solid ground, but as a sourcing for modern fantasy in general it's either too narrow (excluding figures like Dunsany) or too wide (failing to recognize Tolkien's pre-eminant position). Have no idea why he threw Superman into the mix. No doubt all will become clear when I have a chance to actually read this.
TOLKIEN AND THE MODERNISTS: LITERARY RESPONSES TO THE DARK NEW DAYS OF THE 20TH CENTURY by Theresa Freda Nicolay [MacFarland, 2014].
--One of several recent books to acknowledge that Tolkien was in fact a twentieth century author.
A potentially good topic; won't know until the reading whether Nicolay makes a good case.
THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF MIDDLE-EARTH: LEARNING FROM THE LORD OF THE RINGS by Abigail E. Ruane and Patrick James [Univ. of Mich. Pr, 2012]
--I've recently been seeking out and reading a series of oddball books on Tolkien: new approaches to Tolkien from unusual perspectives. This one has more charts and diagrams than I expected but at the very least won't be the same-old same-old.
THE UNOFFICIAL MIDDLE-EARTH MONSTER'S GUIDE by 'The Mordor Collective' 
--this is parody by the same folks who published THE UNOFFICIAL HOBBIT HANDBOOK a few years back; looks to me that if you liked that, you'll probably like this as well (and vica versa).
THE BODY IN TOLKIEN'S LEGENDARIUM: ESSAYS ON MIDDLE-EARTH CORPOREALITY, ed. Christopher Vaccaro [MacFarland, 2013]
--a rather unusual thematic choice for a book on Tolkien, with an unusual grouping of contributors, some of whom I know from Kalamazoo or recognize their names from TOLKIEN STUDIES, a few of them new to me. The lead essay is by Verlyn Flieger (always a good way to lead a collection of essays on Tolkien, given the opportunity).
THE LOSS AND THE SILENCE: ASPECTS OF MODERNISM IN THE WORKS OF C. S. LEWIS, J. R. R. TOLKIEN[,] & CHARLES WILLIAMS by Margaret Hiley [Walking Tree Press, 2011]
--in the abstract, this one sounds to me like Charles Moorman's AUGUSTINIAN CITY revisited; shd make for an interesting contrast to the other recent book on Tolkien and modernism by T. F. Nicolay.
THE HOBBIT PARTY: THE VISION OF FREEDOM THAT TOLKIEN GOT, AND THE WEST FORGOT by Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards [Ignatius, 2014]
--Of all these, this is the next one I intend to read. I gather it tries to align Tolkien with Belloc's Distributists and to place JRRT within today's political scene and suggest what position he'd take on current issues, which seems to me a forlorn undertaking. In any case, it's been the subject of heated discussion on Joseph Pearce's website, which I plan to hold off reading until I've read for myself the material they're arguing over.
THE WOBBIT by The Harvard Lampoon . The folks behind the infamous BORED OF THE RINGS  return for an uninspired second try at parodying Tolkien. Only two goodish bits: one an appearance by JRRT, CSL, GRR, and Rowling in an ultimately vain attempt to regain control over their creations and the other a parody of the closing poem; more on these later. All I can say about this book as a whole is that if you enjoyed BORED OF THE RINGS, don't spoil those memories by reading this dreck. And if you didn't like BORED OF THE RINGS, you're not likely to like this wan imitation either.
Finally, there's one new e-publication to note: J. R. R. TOLKIEN's LOST ENGLISH MYTHOLOGY by Simon J. Cooke , the e-equivalent of a T-K Graphics pamphlet or the occasional Tolkien Society booklets. Think we'll probably be seeing more like this in the future.
Also, I shd probably note three magazines as well: the inaugural article from THE JOURNAL OF TOLKIEN RESEARCH (already noted in a post of its own a few days ago), the arrival of the latest issue of VII, and the current EMPIRE magazine (January 2015 issue). I'd been surprised when the December issue did not feature the release of the third and final HOBBIT movie as its cover story, as had been the case with the previous installments in the movie trilogy. Well, they've more than made up for it with this new issue, which is guest-edited by Peter Jackson himself. Lots of behind-the-scenes information about the making of the movies; definitely intend to get round to some of this once I have time to do more than skim it.
It'd be nice to say that this recent influx of books meant I now had all the new books that've come out in the last year or two, but it wdn't be the truth. There are at least twenty more I know about that I don't have, and no doubt more I haven't heard about yet. Still, there shd be some interesting reading among them -- though it'll take me time to work my way through them.
current reading: AS CHIMNEY SWEEPERS COME TO DUST by Alan Bradley (an attempt to re-start his 'Flavia de Luce' series), THE SUMMER TREE (Book One in THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY) by Guy Gavriel Kay (re-reading for Book Group)
current dvd: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, extended edition, with commentary, plus extras.
fifty years ago next week
1 day ago