Review: 3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien

Review: 3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien by Gary Raymond
Released by Ivy Books on 1 January 2012
Genres: Non-Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781908005830
Source: Received

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A visual biography of the worlds most revered fantasy writer As Peter Jacksons cinematic hobbits set forth, 3-Minute JRR Tolkien celebrates the enduring influence of the worlds most revered fantasy writer. It offers a readable, absorbing structure, dividing J.R.R. Tolkiens life and cultural contribution into 60 neat portions, every one digestible in a mere three minutes: 20 mini-sections each on Life, Work and Influence. From a childhood inventing new languages in the sylvan landscape of the Severn valley, through a First World War that saw him witness the horrors of the Somme, to academic success founded on a passion for Old English tales, we trace Tolkiens life and look at the way in which it informs his creation of imaginary worlds so intricately mapped that modern readers, writers and artists continue to explore them in a quest for their myths, monsters and meaning.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to review this book, but I decided to do it anyway, because I enjoyed it. This book tells you about J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer who gave us the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, and a lot of other great works. 3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien tells you about his past, about how he wrote the famous books and about his influences to the fantasy books we read now. It also tells you a bit about the fans of the world of Middle Earth, about the movies made by Peter Jackson (and the cartoons made in the 70s).

Like I said, I enjoyed reading it; the pieces of text were short (so short you could have a page finished within three minutes, hence the title). But I did notice some tiny mistakes. I am not sure if these were translation mistakes (I read it in Dutch) or just mistakes in the original book, but in one part, Beorn (who we meet in the Hobbit) is called a werewolf, and later on he’s a shapeshifter (though the correct term is skin changer). And later on in the book, Éowyn, who is the badass lady who kills the Witch-king of Angmar during the battle for Minas Tirith (Return of the King), is called Théoden’s daughter, though she is his niece (Éowyn and her brother Éomer were brought up by Théoden ‘as if they were his own children’ (so I kinda get the confusion there but still), but the latter had only one son, Théodred, who died in Two Towers).

Of course, I am not really bothered by these tiny mistakes, but still they are a bit dumb in my opinion, I mean if you want to write a biography about someone, you’d really make sure to get all the facts right, and get it checked (and perhaps double checked), or is that just me?

Beside that, the book tells you a lot about J.R.R. Tolkien’s life, about his wife, his three sons and daughter; his friends, his life as a teacher; it tells you so much in those small pieces of text. If you want to know more about the writer of the Lord of the Rings, I suggest you pick up this book, because it’s also accompanied by some amazing pictures!