Let me explain: like many of you, I love books. I'm partial to fiction, but I will also read nonfiction and of course, professional reads. My problem is when I read I become so absorbed in the content that I read to the exclusion of all else. This is how it sometimes goes in our house: "Mom, what's for dinner?" Me: "Cereal!" Now some may think I'm a baaaaaad Mommy, but I prefer to think of it as modeling a lifelong appreciation of reading!
I have a pile of great reads for this summer: The Girl on the Train, Edge of Eternity, American Gods, and a recommendation from Laura of All Y'all Need titled Shotgun Lovesongs. I decided to start with The Hobbit. I can't believe I waited this long to read it. I moved on to the The Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers. I knew I was obsessed when, in one night, I had three dreams about Middle Earth INCLUDING seeing "Frodo Lives!" written on a wall. No joke! My thoughts are forever swirling around the characters and place names in the books and I am currently nursing a slight sunburn because rather than put down my book and move to the shade, I baked in the sun. I am now fully immersed in the final book of the trilogy, The Return of the King, and I don't want it to end.
J.R.R. Tolkien was brilliant. He was a philologist who wrote The Hobbit as an experiment with language, new ideas and concepts. I have absolutely loved reading his work, and while he firmly stated that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were not an allegory for Christianity, Tolkien's deep faith was clearly revealed in his writing.
That brings me to "the best things I learned this summer." Words. Lots and lots of new words. Some of them I had a loose definition of from context, for instance I knew a league was a measure of distance, but not what measure. The meanings of some of the other words, I had no idea. As I read when I come across an unknown word, I look it up and then write it down with the definition in my journal (now you understand why I bought the speech nerd shirt).
Here is a little sampling:
Turves: the plural of turf (never imagined there was a plural for turf)
Wains: a wagon or chariot
Eyot: a small island
Fey: supernatural, unreal, otherworldly
Hauberk: a long defensive shirt falling to the knees, usually made of mail
Quail: to lose heart or courage when in danger, to shrink in fear
Swordthain: a noble soldier appointed by a king
Wold: an upland region of moorland
Embrasure: a beveled opening in a wall, especially for a door or window
League: a measure of distance, usually about three miles (unless of course it's a Hobbit league which is shorter)
Furlong: one eighth of a mile
Gibbet: a gallows built to exhibit the body of one who has been executed
Blench: flinch, give way in fear
Dwimmerlaik: a name give to the Lord of the Nazgûl when Éowyn confronted him
Vambrace: armor worn on the forearm
Fell: merciless, terrifying; an animal's hide; a moorland hill (Tolkien used this word a lot)
Dromund: a large ship
Perian: Hafling, Hobbit
Ghyll: a deep ravine
I found this wonderful site, The Encyclopedia of Arda: An Interactive Guide to the Works of
J.R.R. Tolkien, that lists the rare and unusual words used in his works. If you haven't read these books yet, start...now. The movies truly do them no justice. In fact, since I am completely obsessed I began watching the movies with my son. After the first I had to walk away as I was becoming increasingly frustrated. My son, too, was frustrated, but with me, because I kept exclaiming, "That didn't happen! What? The Ents DID decide to become involved! They changed that! He didn't act like that!" Mack liked the movie better when I left!
Though I don't watch many YouTube videos, Nora thinks this is the perfect video to compliment my post. It's a little rough for me. Is this what people do for work?
Oh! I also learned this summer not to go for a run after two big cups of coffee, how to make ghee, and that I really would love to stay home all day and read. What did you learn over summer vacation?
Photo credits: Nora Doyle