Finished reading a couple books in the last few days. One was J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. It wasn’t too bad. I’m not very interested in art criticism, really, so the text wasn’t all terribly interesting, but it had about 200 colour and black and white plates of Tolkien’s drawings, paintings and sketches, and all of those were most interesting. He really was a good visual artist as well as being talented with the written word. I’d strongly recommend anyone interested in Tolkien to at least find it at their library to see the pictures. There are quite a few very beautiful and interesting pictures that I don’t believe one can see anywhere else.
The other book was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I finally broke down and read it, and while Mark Twain’s remark that any library is a good library even if all it has is a lack of Jane Austen’s books is still funny, I don’t think it’s accurate. It’s an interesting novel and she does a nice job of drawing the characters in a very believable way. They are not all carbon copies of one another, nor are they flat and two-dimensional. And Mr Bennet is quite funny. Forget Mr Darcy, Elizabeth and the others, he was my favourite character by a clear margin. Even though it is a novel about relationships and falling in love, it’s too well written to simply class it as “chick-lit”. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’d recommend it.