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Thread: Strategies for reading Tolkien

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So I wanted to ask how, how do you guys read Tolkien? It seams like a simple question but it isn't. I don't mean how do you get through the occasional density in text I mean how can you read a whole sere is of books together. One strategy I used to use was reading one Tolkien book and one other book that was very different. I don't do this anymore because it made me forget what was happening, especially if both books are part of a series. So how do you read a bunch of Tolkien really fast withought getting bored?

Good Morning Planet Tolkien peeps.  To answer your question Curufinwe, I can only speak for myself here, but I am not certain that you can get through the whole Middle-Earth series really fast.  It took me around nine months and I am a very dedicated reader. 

I started with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit.  I moved on to the Silmarillion.  I loved the Silmarillion so much that I wanted to read everything I could find regarding it.  So I first read the books pertaining to that book, such as Morgoth's Ring and War of the Jewels.  I then, by suggestion of some of the good people here moved on to the Book of Lost Tales 1 and 2, followed by the Peoples of Middle Earth.  I read everything else after that.

The problem with trying to read these books really fast, is that they can be very complicated.  You will find the footnotes and appendices hold as much valuable material as the book's main text.  I personally don't find the material boring at all...just very complicated at times. 

I am guessing by your name, that you are a fan of the First Age of Middle Earth,  So I would suggest starting with Morfoth's Ring.  My thought is for you to focus on the material that you find the most interesting and don't worry too much about how long it takes you to get through it.  This is just my humble opinion and I hope that it helps you.

I'd have to agree with Aylee. And IMO reading through Tolkien super fast really ruins the experience and defeats the purpose. You're too focused on what's going to happen and how to get there instead of what's currently happening and how it's effecting the rest of the world which will ultimately affect what's going to happen...which is what Tolkien is all about. Soak it in, let it sit. It's not a race, you will not win an award for the fastest speed read of HOME nor will you be chastised if you take 10 years to do so.

Don't read it fast, just read it. If you're anything like me, if you love what you're reading, then next thing you know it's already over. Time flies...

Most of the heavier on information books I read slowly the first few times to allow the information to sink in.  Now I can read through them fairly fast. But there is no real order to read them in, a lot of them fall part way into others and so reading chronological isn't really a possibility.  

Agreed peoples....  I remember the first time I read the Sil I thought it seemed a little rushed through, second time I enjoyed it much more as I became more familiar with the character names.  I find that its the quantity of characters and places which may do some readers in.  HOME I have read through twice and now use as a resource going back to The Sil from time to time.  Its like an old friend.

Thanks guys. I want to jump in on these discussions but feel unqualified. I started reading tolkien and after reading most of the books I figured I would read as much tolkien as quick as possible. That soon got kinda boring becouse I was like, when am I gonna use this info and what am I going to do with it. Then I found this and felt under qualified and wanted to read right quick once again. But I think you guys are right and that I should take my time and do my best so that I don't lose my interest in Tolkien, as I was dangerously close to stopping.

Nobody is under qualified with Tolkien my friend. There's so much that's open for interpretation rarely is there a right or wrong answer. Please don't be afraid to ask questions, as most of us LOVE answering them! Take your time reading it, if something seems to confusing and you feel that urge to give up, let us know. We are all more than happy to just talk about Tolkien, whether just discussing how awesome balrogs are or whether or not they could fly!

Also it took me FOREVER to read the Sil my first time through. I refused to let it defeat me. Every single time I was unsure or forgot who, what, when, where, or why something was I'd check the appendix or flip through the family trees. Every single time. I had sticky notes in strategic points so I could just quickly flip and find the F or Y sections or Elvish family sections. Totally worth it though.

Agreed.  I am the newbie here and am so glad that I had the wealth of information, knowledge, and opinions of the esteemed peeps here while reading through the Middle Earth series.  Some things are complicated and if I was confused on something, I knew I could come here and find the answer.  I have never felt cut down because I am not as knowledgeable as most of the others on this site.  I have never had them tell me that my question was a waste of time. 

Thanks. Thanks for notifying me how awsome this site is.

stick with it Curufinwe.

Yes, it's been almost a year since the last post, and yes, I'm reviving it.  >:-D

What I do is read them very slowly the first one or two times, and soak up all the info.  Then I've got it all down and I read them again to just read it.  For fun.  Working on the Silmarillion.  I usually read books fast just to get through them, but on the LoTR (by LoTR, I mean all of the Middle-earth-based books Tolkien wrote) I'm going to read them slower.  Still working on the Sil!  Wish me luck!

Anyway, Curu, I liked this thread, even though not many replied.  Your pace in reading a book tells much about you, plus you know how much info you gleaned from it.  Well, I'm going to hop over to the Eru thread now.  Don't be surprised if I post on it within the next few days!

looking back at this, having read The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien cover to cover, my only advice for myself is to just read as slow as it takes to really understand the book. Nirwen, please do post on that thread, I'll check it out and probably post on it again, since I really liked it.