Ohhhhhhhh this Middle-Earth fangirl was THRILLED to be nominated for this book tag! Nandini at Unputdownable Books created it back in September as part of her Tolkien Reading Month. (Thank you, Nandini!) So it’s taken me a little while to get around to it… But better late than never, right? 🙂
Like with any book tag, let’s establish the “ground rules” – or, rather, points to keep in mind – before we get too far.
Points of Note for the Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag
- If you choose to do this tag, please pingback to Nandini’s original post and mine so we can read your answers.
- Feel free to use Nandini’s banner (see above) in your post.
- Be as creative as you like while interpreting the prompts.
- Tag at least 3 people you think would enjoy doing this tag.
- While Gollum isn’t an official member of the Fellowship, Nandini included him to have a round number of prompts. 😉
My Responses for the Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag
Gandalf – A Book That Taught You Something
I discovered the idea of synchronicity through Allan G. Hunter’s The Path of Synchronicity, which I read when I was in a depression a few years ago. Synchronicity is the act of living in the “flow” of life, where things connected to your passions and your true self seem to happen by coincidence. It sounds very conceptual, but the book features exercises to help you apply those concepts in practical ways.
To keep the rest of it short: Reading about and practicing synchronicity helped me climb out of my depression and, in general, changed my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for Dr. Hunter, who I also know personally. He was my college advisor and one of my favorite English Literature and Writing professors – and a man I consider to be a real-life Gandalf.
Frodo – A Book That Left a Mark on You
I have to mention two books: Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. They’re both haunting and heartrending in their depictions of a post-apocalyptic world and how their characters must, among other things, fight for survival. Station Eleven’s premise is presented so realistically that when I was reading the last half of the book on a flight home from Iceland and realized I was using a mode of transportation that had become obsolete in the story, it… stunned me, for lack of a better word. As for The Road, I’ll only say it’s one of the bleakest, most tender, and most terrifying books I’ve ever read – and yet I consumed it in 3 days. If you’ve read that book as well, you probably know what I mean by all of this. And if you haven’t… of course I recommend it, but be prepared to travel to some dark places.
Legolas – A Book You Finished in One Sitting
I’m not a fast reader, so I don’t think I’ve ever finished a book in one sitting. But I did finish Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in two sittings. It’s relatively short (under 200 pages), and the adventure storyline with the primary theme of being the master of your own destiny resonated deeply with me.
Gimli – A Book Featuring an Unlikely Friendship
What friendship is more unlikely than one between a ghost and a girl who’s still alive? Karina Sumner-Smith’s Radiant introduces us to Xhea, a homeless teenager with a painful past and the ability to see and communicate with ghosts, and Shai, a ghost who’s being hunted through the Lower City’s streets – and whose physical body hasn’t actually died. How do they learn to trust each other? And what happens once they’re both being pursued – and when Shai’s presence triggers a dark, lethal magic that Xhea never knew she had? You’ll have to read Radiant to find out!
Merry – A Book That Pleasantly Surprised You
I don’t read many YA contemporaries, since I prefer fantasy and speculative fiction. So when a friend recommended Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl for a “market research” project I was doing for a story I was working on, I was… well, skeptical. But I really enjoyed Fangirl in the end! I related to Cath because of her passion for writing and her first-year-of-college struggles. That was a tough year for me, too; and though my experience was different from Cath’s, I appreciated how Rowell explored this rite of passage with humor, honesty, and compassion. And the fan fiction angle! I can’t imagine how much work Rowell must have done to create the fictional fantasy series that Cath adored so much, then how to use Cath’s imagination to create her own stories within that world.
Pippin – A Book That Made You Laugh
Hahahaha, Andy Weir’s The Martian! It’s a fascinating story of survival on Mars that’s HYSTERICAL at times. The first lines alone sent me into giggle fits; and after that, I lost track of how many times the story made me laugh out loud. Most of this was thanks to the snarky personality of protagonist Mark Watney, but moments of levity from other characters and scenes (including the Project Elrond meeting – oddly appropriate for this post, right?) kept the mirth coming on a consistent basis.
Boromir – A Book or Series That You Think Ended Too Soon
When I reached the end of Elizabeth May’s The Falconer (not the whole series, just the first book), I turned the next page and then said, “HUH?? What do you mean the book ends HERE?!” It’s the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, during what feels like the middle of the climax. So I came away from The Falconer feeling like I’d been on a rollercoaster, rushing to the top of the final peak – and then stopping so abruptly that it gave me whiplash.
Sam – A Book with Memorable Supporting Characters Who Stole the Show
The Harry Potter series, anyone? Of course we follow Harry most closely, watching him grow up, learn about his magical abilities, and create a “found family” of friends, allies, and mentors. But J.K. Rowling fills each book to the brim with some of the colorful, memorable characters I’ve ever “met.” Hermoine Granger, Ron Weasley, Professor Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Severus Snape, the Dursleys, Hagrid, the Weasley twins Fred and George – I could go on and on about this cast! Suffice to say that the characters are the greatest strength of this series. Some will make you laugh, some will endear themselves to you like a best friend, and some will surprise you with a revelation or two before the end.
Aragorn – A Good Book with a Bad / Average Cover
Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief is one of those books that’s had many cover changes since it was first published. I remember finding it in my local library’s online catalog with the cover of the 2005 edition from Greenwillow Books (see left image). But when I picked it up from the library, the copy they had available was the original 1996 edition from Greenwillow (see center image).
I mean, it’s not horrible for cover art. But it’s… not attractive or eye-catching, either. And now that I’ve read The Thief, I’m not sure which character is represented there. Maybe the King of Sounis? Or his scholar / magus? Whoever it is, it’s not the protagonist Eugenides. Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and eventually bought my own copy, which is the 2017 Greenwillow edition (see right image). I love how that version features bits of scenes and symbols that are crucial to the story – without giving much away, of course!
Gollum – A Book That Had Great Potential But Disappointed You in the End
I think I’m in the minority about Susan Dennard’s Witchlands novels. Admittedly I was excited for the first book Truthwitch. The magic system sounded intriguing, and the much-hyped focus on a friendship between girls made it seem like a refreshing change from other YA fantasies. And then I read it… (*sigh*) IMO, the world-building is messy and underdeveloped, the writing is choppy, and the girls’ friendship is quickly sidelined as they spend most of the novel apart – and each are forced to fight against or ally with young men who will probably become their love interests in future books.
So… yeah. I’m surprised I finished Truthwitch, and I have no plans to continue this series.
Nominations for the Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag
I’ve been really busy since launching my freelance business Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services a couple weeks ago. So to keep things easy, I’m leaving this book tag open to anyone and everyone who wants to take part. Just make sure you ping back to my post and Nandini’s original when yours goes live! 😉
Have you read any of these books? Which books did you think of as you read each “character prompt,” and why?