Book Review: The Children of Hurin

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They don't write them like this anymore. The Children of Húrin is a work completed by J.R.R. Tolkien's son, Christopher. The story reads like a Greek tragedy or legend, as if it was being told around a fire.

The story follows the life of Túrin, son of Húrin, covering his entire life, and focusing brief passages on his key adventures and misadventures. The book does not give you an in depth "play by play" of everything that occurs and it will summarize years passing in a paragraph or two.

What you get are broad strokes about the feats performed by a single man and the tragedy of his life. Rather than a book written for us, this almost reads like a book written for the denizens of Middle Earth, shared with its inhabitants about a tragic hero from the first age.

The readability this book rates high compared to some of the other incomplete works of Tolkien. This is by no means as easy as the Hobbit or LOTR, but it is much more digestible than any of the Unfinished Tales. The stories will be easy to follow, but the locations and names of many of the characters will leave you confused. The book assumes that you are familiar with the locations of places in the world, (again, perhaps it is written for the people of Middle Earth) and doesn't give you much reference.

Christopher Tolkien does an excellent job providing detailed annotations and notes on his father's work along with background information about how he pieced partial manuscripts together.

Overall, this is a great story for anyone who is a fan of Tolkien. If you have read The Hobbit and LOTR and you are looking for a story to make the jump before getting into the difficult ocean of the Unfinished Tales, this is a great bridge book that will give you a good story and also give you the background information about how the world was created.

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2017 Motorcycle Show

Megan and I went to the motorcycle show at the Stephens Convention center this past week. It has been a few years since we last attended. 

Last one...promise 😏🏍❤️ #rninetracer #bmw #motorad #theultimateridingmachine

A photo posted by Megan Supert (@nutmeggily01) on

#yamahaspirit

A photo posted by Matthew Supert (@sup909) on

A photo posted by Matthew Supert (@sup909) on

This was also the first year I have bought something at the show. The illusive Transitions lens for my Shoei helmet apparently has actually made it to sales and they had it at the show for a decent $150. I ended up biting the bullet on that one to buy it. 

As I noted in my post a few weeks ago, I need some new boots this year and I also wanted to pickup a Sena 10c camera. They had both at the show for great prices, but I couldn't really justify spending $600. I'll just have to wait and see if I can get those for a better deal somewhere else. 

Overall a fun show and a great time. 



February 2016: Reading List

The year is off to a fine start, so let's check in on what I am reading so far. I had a couple of books roll over from the end of the year into January and February. I finished up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both were wonderful books and if you haven't read them you really should. You can read my reviews of them at the links above, but they are probably entrenched enough in popular culture that you would know going in whether they would be for you or not.

I decided to start reading Young Miles, which is the second omnibus of the Vorkorsigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the first omnibus book, Cordelia's Honor, a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I am surprised that it has taken me this long to get back around to reading more of this series. The writing in this book is superbly done so far, but for some reason it isn't quite capturing my attention. It is odd as there are parts where I have a genuine smile on my face while reading. Perhaps I am just not in the right mindset at the moment for this book. I will continue through the book though as it is a fairly easy read.  

I also went to the library this weekend and picked up the audiobook of Ancillary Justice. This is another sci-fi book and typically I don't read two of the same genre at the same time, but I have heard just too many good things about this book. First impressions after the first couple of chapters is that this books is really well done. I am enjoying the mixed narrative perspective in this book a lot since our main character is an artificial intelligence that can inhabit more than a single body at once. The narrator for this audio book is quite good as well, being able to reflect the proper tone for different characters. I have listened to the Sword and Laser podcast talk about this book when they read it as a group about a year ago and so far it is holding up to impress so far. 



Working to Improve My Handwriting

So, tied into my recent notebook acquisition I am now working to improve my handwriting. My cursive handwriting I have always felt was "OK", but my script has been terrible. Following the line with the Midori modification video, I found another video from the "Stuff and Things" Youtube channel in which the host talks about his efforts to improve his handwriting. That video brought me over to a great website called iampeth.com. It is an interesting repository of old handwriting and calligraphy styles. From there I began to drill down and found the Ames Guide to Self Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship. I am using some of the worksheets and style phrasing in that book to practice. 

Megan is also practicing her handwriting using the guides in that book. 

I'm Part of the Midori Notebook Club Now

This past Christmas just about everyone in my family received Midori Traveler's notebooks as gifts. The idea started out with me from my motorcycle trip this past summer to the smokey mountains. I had wished during that travel that I had a notebook to write a daily journal of the trip while i was on the ride. My idea originally began with the concept of utilizing a Moleskine notebook. As I continued my research though I found out about the Midori Traveler's notebook. 

Long story short, I ended up buying everyone notebooks since a lot of my family has either been traveling a lot this past year, or will be traveling this coming year. I found myself though coming out of the holidays with no book for myself, despite the idea sort of originally being for me. Megan bought me a notebook for Valentine's day and went a step further by making some custom paper booklets for the notebook. You can see one of them with some pantone paper pictured above. 

I also decided to modify the notebook by adding some addition spine strings to it following this video from the "Stuff and Things" youtube channel.