viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

The Hobbit

As you probably know, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." Once Tolkien had written this sentence on a blank examination paper he was marking, he decided that he had to find out what sort of hole he lived in, why he lived in a hole, etc. The result was a tale that was later published in 1937 with immediate success. It tells the story of how Bilbo Baggins, a respectable hobbit, had an adventure and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. This is quite unusual, since respectable hobbits never have adventures or do anything unexpected. And a big adventure it is: he'll have to deal with trolls, goblins, the Gollum and even a fearsome dragon; he'll also find a certain ring with amazing powers. Fortunately he'll have the invaluable help of Gandalf the wizard and a group of dwarves with funny names.

JRR Tolkien

What do hobbits look like? They are a little people, about half our height, and have no beards. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colors (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick brown hair; have good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it).

The Hobbit is an utterly enjoyable story with lots of action and humour. It's like a fairy tale for smart children: the heroes are not quite perfect - their motivations not quite heroic; they are affected by cold weather, lack of food and difficulties; the outcome is a lesson in geopolitics. Bilbo gradually develops self-confidence, courage and good judgement; at the end he'll be a stronger, better person.

The Hobbit is soon to be added to our library. Meanwhile you might want to see Peter Jackson's first part of  a trilogy of films, which opens worldwide today: I hope they're as good as the book!

jueves, 6 de diciembre de 2012

Winter Poems

We haven't published any poems in a while so, on occasion of the first big snowfall, here go these about winter and its connotations.



By Frederick Seidel

Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.

The Darker Sooner

By Catherine Wing

Then came the darker sooner,
came the later lower.
We were no longer a sweeter-here
happily-ever-after. We were after ever.
We were farther and further.
More was the word we used for harder.
Lost was our standard-bearer.
Our gods were fallen faster,
and fallen larger.
The day was duller, duller
was disaster. Our charge was error.
Instead of leader we had louder,
instead of lover, never. And over this river
broke the winter’s black weather.

Lines for Winter

By Mark Strand

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.