Reading Round-Up: December 2017

It’s the first day of 2018, which means that I’ve finished another year in my reading log. There will be a longer round-up post coming to look at 2017 as a whole, but in the mean time, here’s what I read in December:

  1. The Battle for Middle Earth: Tolkien’s Divine Design in The Lord of the Rings (Fleming Rutledge)
  2. Star Wars: I, Jedi (Michael A. Stackpole)
  3. Selected Poems, 1988-2013 (Seamus Heaney)
  4. Horoscopes for the Dead (Billy Collins)
  5. Celebrations (Maya Angelou)
  6. Selected Poems (Gwendolyn Brooks)
  7. All My Friends are Dead (Avery Monsen and Jory John)
  8. The Fellowship of the Ring (J. R. R. Tolkien)
  9. The Two Towers (J. R. R. Tolkien)

I always start The Lord of the Rings in December, even if my reading of The Return of the King occasionally pushes into January, as it has this year. I’m never quite sure whether I ought to count LotR as one book or three; typically that’s decided by how much of it I’ve finished by the time the end of the year rolls around! So this year, at least, I’ll count it as three books, and note that I managed to finish two of them before the new year, at least.

I quite enjoyed delving into some poetry this month. I had encountered the odd single poem by each of the poets I read this month, but nothing in concentration (excepting Maya Angelou; I’ve read some of her prose works). I have to admit that I found Maya Angelou’s poetry rather less than scintillating — but the other three! Each very different, and each very powerful in their own way. They are so different that I would hesitate to compare or try to rank them; I liked Seamus Heaney the best; and I liked Billy Collins the best; and I liked Gwendolyn Brooks the best. Each was a pleasure.

I, Jedi was a re-read for me, although it has to be at least ten years and probably closer to fifteen since I last came to it. It has a bit of a strange structure in that the first half or so of the book is set within another Star Wars trilogy (The Jedi Academy series), which was written by a different author. I, Jedi retells some of the events of that trilogy from a different perspective, but because it was written afterwards it assumes that you’re familiar with the events in the Jedi Academy series. I am — but the effect was still to give me a bit of narrative whiplash. The second half of the book, when the main character leaves the academy (and the events of the series) is much better.

All of My Friends are Dead was a stocking stuffer: it was morbidly amusing and only took about five minutes to finish. And that is all!

3 thoughts on “Reading Round-Up: December 2017

  1. Seamus Heaney is wonderful, isn’t he? I can recommend his retelling of Beowulf, also…and it’s an interesting contrast if you read Tolkien’s Beowulf right afterwards (or before)…I’d read Heaney’s some time ago and re-read it when I’d done the Tolkien version. You might find them fun if you don’t know them.


    • Oh, he’s delightful! And I think I may have read his Beowulf — at least bits of it — many years ago before I had any idea who he was. It would be fun to do a consecutive of his and Tolkien’s translations, though — or perhaps a reading side-by-side!


  2. Pingback: Reading Round-Up: 2017 | In this Ordinary Time

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