March Book Haul 2017

MarchBookHaul.jpg

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2017

This month there were some serendipitous finds within the realm of books and reading that help feed the addict’s voracious hunger.  The topics are wide in scope as they are intriguing, and have made for some thought-provoking reading when I’ve had the time.

#1: The Nuclear Axis: Secret Collaboration Between West Germany & South Africa by Zdenek Cervenka & Barbara Rogers

The title says it all. This book details the connection between West Germany and South Africa, which is actually more disturbing than at first blush.  The book also delineates which other countries were involved in this fiasco besides South Africa, and shows that Germany, who went on record never to create nuclear weapons post World War 2, became in fact a de-facto nuclear power.  Then again, it shouldn’t be shocking considering that Germany’s attempted world domination in three previous instances.

#2:  Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom For Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Knowing that Bruce Lee is the epitome of Individuality, reading about him has been something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.

This book has been an inspiring read.  Due to its format, the book can be read straight through, or just broken up into small pieces given that it’s not a book which builds on itself like most non-fiction books.  For me the latter method has worked better.

Usually just slice off a few pages on a daily basis as the aphorisms give one much to ponder about in unexpected ways.  Granted, some of the aphorisms are fairly straight forward, but there’s plenty of insights to be had if one remains open minded.

#3Culture As History: The Transformation Of American Society In The Twentieth Century by Historian Warren Susman

Wishing to learn more about the change culture American culture has gone through, this book felt like a natural pick considering it was mentioned in Susan Cain’s Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In Quiet, Cain mentions how in her book Culture As History historian Susman covers the transition between the culture of character to a culture of personality.  Seeing the results of this change in modern times, thought it prudent to go back in time and see where society began changing.  Predictably, there was serious social engineering and propaganda taking place to bring this about.   I am definitely looking forward to research this topic further down the line.

#4:  The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles  Steven Pressfield

This book barely became known to me a few weeks ago.  Being the book-addict that I am, initially, I told myself not to purchase this or any other book for that matter until catching up on some reading, but after about a week of pondering, I just couldn’t resist.  This merits a shout out to all bodacious bloggers that feed that addiction!  [If you got time and want to check out another fellow wordpress blogger on all things writing, click this link to check out Calliope Writing]

This book is like the Art Of War but doused with much inspiration and creativity.  If there’s even one cell of creativity within you, ruminate upon getting this book.

#5:  Speed: Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster – And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down by Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D.

This book covers society’s addiction to living at the vanguard at Warp 9.  This book brings about quite a few different concerns, especially considering that a sizeable portion of society follows the actions noted in this book to a tee, particularly the younger generations.  If you have young ones or know of anybody that might be plugged in to the matrix 24/7 so to speak, considering having them get this book.  There’s a review of it here.

#6:  UFOs for the 21st Century Mind by Richard Dolan

If you’ve ever wondered about where to start regarding the abstruse subjects of UFOs, START HERE.  Even if you have, this book still offers a lot of value given the severity of the subject.  Having read dozens of books on this subject, many books usually end up leaving the reader wanting more.  Additionally, there really isn’t anything as comprehensive and detailed as this.  The book is sourced to the hilt, is written in an easy to follow manner and considers a serious topic in a sobering and yet thought provoking way.  There’s a review that was written on this here.

#7J.R.R. Tolkien’s: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

Having binged on many Tolkien books in February, and having heard from John Taylor Gatto that reading many biographies allows individuals the foresight to see things they might have not seen, thought getting this book would be a prudent choice.  Haven’t delved into it, but hopefully am able to within the next month or so.

#8:  The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Along the same lines as the above, this book was purchased in order to brush up a bit on one of the Founding Fathers through the autobiographical lens.  It’s definitely fascinating getting an inner look at one of the people responsible for helping create America.  It helps put things into perspective in a way that history books lack.   Review will come up soon.

#9:  The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

This book was purchased with the intention to grow and learn as a writer.  Being an autodidact and seeking to teach myself more on this lengthy subject, this seemed like a prudent place to start.  BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.  The book, although small in size, offers much knowledge to glean from it.  If you’re a writer, you need to get this book for the tenets within it will undoubtedly help you grow.  That said, there is a newer version of this book available.  Found this out about a week after purchasing the first one, go figure!  Given that it isn’t in my hands yet, I can’t vouch for it, YET, but once it gets here it will be read and reviewed in due time.

Why read a book similar to one just read?  Great question.  Because the 4th Edition of Elements of Style offered so much, I thought that if the new book followed through and offer even more information than the previous book, why not give it a gander?  Might end up gifting the other one out to a friend, but either way, the investment will be well placed.

#10:  The Book Of Virtues: A Treasure Of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett

A veritable treasure trove of insights on virtue from countless angles, this book homes in on many of the core tents that used to get taught in society but don’t get taught as much nowadays.  It seems like a great place to seek historical sources that showcase virtues within literature.

#11:  Sekret Machines: Gods: Volume 1 Of Gods Man & War by Tom DeLonge & Peter Levenda

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago and predictably, it is being censored by Amazon, as per usual.  If you want to read how to verify the censorship, read the next bracketed paragraph, and if not, just skip it for the synopsis.

[This can be verified simply.  Click on the link above, scroll down to the reviews, and then take a look at the two pictures to the right of customers who took pictures of the book.  The picture on the right under the name ZyPhReX, was the review done by me.  As you can see from the picture, I gave the book 3 stars.  Now, when you go back into the original book link, and click to check on all reviews that gave the book 3 stars, my review will NOT be showing whatsoever.  My contention is that not only is my review critical of this book in sobering fashion, but it also outlines alternative books to this topic, and that’s something the consortium hates to hear.  Regardless of the reason, the Book Review being censored is ludicrous since it follows all guidelines by Amazon, and the review is even shown under the picture.  And no, this isn’t the first time and its happened and doubt it will be the last.]

My original thoughts were that since Peter Levenda is a top-notch researcher, of whom many books I own, and seeing as DeLonge seems to have a genuine curiosity on the subject, the book might be a good read.  Boy was I wrong!

Although the book does feature intriguing information, the authors paint a picture that’s quite bleak of humanity, even using the parlance of “Cargo Cult” for humans and even go on to write about humanity as if wholly incapable, even there’s plethora of evidence showing otherwise.

Moreover, the authors take a very narrow point of views in explaining UFOs, which is quite detrimental.  Not that beings from another place visiting the Earth is out of the question, far from it, but to use a one dimensional approach to explain a multi-dimensional issue served to make this book a catastrophe.

As I noted in the review of this book:

“… one particular point that was quite disconcerting is the fact that the authors take a unilateral point of view of making it seem like UFOs can only be explained by the alien mythos.  While this is certainly one possibility, and one with some solid grounding, it is not the only one, and not by far.  Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Walter Bosley, and others have come up with an equally arguable case that argues for human ingenuity as one possible way to explain some UFOs.”

Lastly, a rather unexpected find was being able to get almost 20 National Geographic magazines, each for 10 cents at the library.  I am sharing this in hopes for people to realize that sometimes at local libraries there are incredible deals if you happen to venture there at the right time.

That said, did any of you purchase any intriguing books recently?  If so, what were they?  I am always genuinely curious as to what other individuals read and find intriguing. A significant portion of what I choose to read is because of what other people have made known to me, either directly or indirectly, and  this is my attempt to pay it forward.

Hope you are all well and have a great week.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

Philosophy Of Tolkien
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2017

Featured within the February Book Haul, The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D. is quite an insightful book, in which Kreeft searches for philosophical gems of wisdom embedded by J.R.R. Tolkien within his magnum opus, Lord of the Rings.

Sprinkled generously throughout the book are extrapolations regarding Tolkien’s philosophical view, which are employed in answering some of the most vital and profound philosophical questions.  The questions revolving around this regard: metaphysics (all-that is), philosophical theology (God), angelology (angels), cosmology (the cosmos), anthropology (man), epistemology (knowledge), philosophy of history, aesthetics (beauty), linguistics (philosophy of language), political philosophy and ethics.

Along with commentary about fifty of the greatest questions that have been ever asked regarding the topics above, the book features quite a few references to Lord Of The Rings as well as “three works of Tolkien’s that form the most authentic commendatory on it: his essay “On Fairy-Stories”, The Silmarillion, and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.”[1]

To help break down those fifty questions, Kreeft presents a variety of tools “for understanding each of the philosophical issues The Lord Of the Rings treats:

a.  An explanation of the meaning and importance of the question;
b.  a  key quotation from The Lord of the Rings showing how Tolkien answered the question (many more passages are given in the Concordance to The Lord of the Rings in the Appendix);
c.  a quotation from Tolkien’s other writings (usually a letter) that explains or comments on the them in The Lord of the Rings;
d.  a quotation from C.S. Lewis, Tolkien’s closest friend, showing the same philosophy directly stated.”[2]

As in his other works, Kreeft does a reliable job of not only introducing the topic to the reader and helping the reader get to ‘know’ the ghost of J.R.R. Tolkien and everything he stood for, but he also supplants that with reasonable analysis in showing why each of the philosophical questions answered by this particular book are important.

Kreeft opts to begin the book with an apt introduction not only telling the reader what the he seeks to accomplish, but also detailing comprehensive insights that tackle many of the questions the reader might have.  Kreeft even goes on to state the five dimensions that make any story great, and why and how The Lord of The Rings attains all those five dimensions.

Beyond that, and perhaps, more importantly, the following is the main reason why The Lord of the Rings has appealed so much to our culture:

The Lord of the Rings heals our culture as well as our souls.  It gives us the most rare and precious thing in modern literature: the heroic.  It is a call to heroism; it is a horn like the horn of Rohan, which Merry received from Théoden and used to rouse the Hobbits of the Shire from their sheepish niceness and passivity to throw off their tyrants, first in their souls and then in their society.”[3]

And in an age where authoritarianism, tyranny and fascism are becoming more mainstream, a book like this may perhaps help individuals rise out of their doldrums and help them become cognizant of the freedoms they are so quickly losing.  That’s a whole different story, though.

Another great strength of this book is that it shows why both philosophy and literature are joined at the hip.  This is because:

“They [philosophy and literature] can work like two lenses of a pair of binoculars.  Philosophy argues abstractly.  Literature argues too – it persuades, it changes the reader – but concretely.  Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.”[4]

Finally, this book also features a Bibliography, as well as an Appendix that feature countless references which address the philosophy of Tolkien.

Whether you’re searching for an engaging book that goes into the deeper philosophical outlook of The Lord of the Rings, or perhaps a book that might serve as an introduction to philosophy, or simply a research tool that features a lot of substance regarding L.O.T.R. and Tolkien’s philosophy, ruminate upon getting this book, for it does all that, and more.

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Footnotes:

[1] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings, p. 10.
[2] Ibid., p. 11.
[3] Ibid., pp. 16-17.
[4] Ibid., p. 21.
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Suggested Book Reviews and video:

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D.
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Video]
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen

ExploringTheHobbit
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 17, 2017

The Hobbit has been one of the landmarks in epic fantasy literature for quite some time, and for great reasons.  The Hobbit served to ignite the imagination of the populace at a time where fantasy was nigh non-existent.  How the author managed to do that, through Bilbo’s character, is one of the most interesting parts in the book.  And that’s just the beginning.

Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D. is a methodically explored breakdown of The Hobbit which sifts through countless critical details contained within the story and woven seamlessly within.  Olsen shows extreme erudition in mining gems of wisdom from the book, and those very treasures make The Hobbit vastly more enjoyable and meaningful then one would without knowing his insights.

Although some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books tend to be a bit [or a lot more!] complex, The Hobbit isn’t one of them, which is one of the main reasons why it’s one Tolkien’s most popular ones.  It’s not that the other books within the same Tolkien Universe – the Legendarium – aren’t great, because many are.  It’s just that the latitude and precision with which Tolkien expanded the Universe is so enormous it takes a very focused individual to slog through it all.

That is also why The Hobbit shines in the opposite side of the spectrum.  Because, although, The Hobbit is part of Tolkien’s Universe, it’s self contained and is the platform from which the classic The Lord Of The Rings was launched.  It sure helped that when the book was first ruminated upon, and created, it was done for children.

In any case, some of the notable nuggets of information Olsen sifts through are important recurring themes within the book and also specific ideas that develop along the way.  Instances of these are the idea of ‘luck’ and ‘destiny’ perhaps guiding and assisting Bilbo.

What is more, a rather unique, but much appreciated thing the author does an exemplary job with is how he establishes the inner conflict Bilbo is going through in respect to his family background –  the Took side and The Baggins side.  This helps add another layer of authenticity within the Bilbo himself, and also within the story.

Arguably, what’s most impressive about what Tolkien accomplished in The Hobbit is the fact that Tolkien published the book in an era where fiction wasn’t seen as favorable.  Because of this, Tolkien took a very unique, and yet thought-out approach to how he would pull the readers of the time along gently into this new and profound universe.

Oslen notes this best in the following passage:

“Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1]

As if that were not enough, the author goes further, and proceeds on with a fine-toothed comb and breaks down the complexity of many of the songs and their inherent depth and subtle meaning.  This part gave many of the characters a lot more depth given what the author discussed.  If that were all, the book would be great.  But there’s more!

Arguably, my favorite part was how the author goes on to systematically show how Bilbo’s riddle game with Gollum showcases their diametrically opposed extremesNot only are the inner natures of Gollum and Bilbo woven within the riddles that each employ throughout, but how each character chose to retaliate with each riddle also shows a completely separate dimension that couples to their nature.  This is hands down the anchor in the whole book.

Another great part about this book is that although it’s a fantasy book, Bilbo’s story has so many relatable and believable parts that it challenges individuals to ponder not only about the book, but about life itself, and many aspects within it.

Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien reminds me of a diary, although it clearly is not. The reason for that is that central to the book are all of the changes that Bilbo goes through, how he grows, and what this means for his life.

Without this book, readers would be hard-pressed to comprehend the sheer scale of how much critical thought was put into the Hobbit and its revision.  Tolkien went above and beyond in creating a Universe that’ll stretch the bounds of imagination for generations to come, and with much daring depth as well.

For those reasons, and more, this is a great book.  Tolkien fans all over should BUY this book.  They will NOT be disappointed.

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen, Exploring J.R.R.’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35

Book Review: The Lord Of The Ring’s by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy

thehobbitlotr
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 15, 2017

If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.

Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.

The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.

One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?

Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series [check name] was nothing less than astonishing.  Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.

Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue.  What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.

The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.

In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:

“The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound.  The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need.  The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.  And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[2]

And still there’s more:

“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life.  And it is also good, because it heals our blindness.  Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights.  It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls.  In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[3]

Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.

Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.[4]

The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones.  In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.

Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel.  For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.

Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.

That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.

On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:

“That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk life.  Life is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[5]

Why this is so is because:

“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant.  Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[6]

In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.

For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.

This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you.  You see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[7][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm.  Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered.  Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.

Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.

Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul.   For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil.  That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien, p 17.
[3] Ibid., p. 3.
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
[5] Louis Markos, The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
[6] Ibid., p. 14.
[7] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien

thehobbitlotr

TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 2, 2017

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.  When we consider a book, we musn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means.”
– Umberto Eco, The Name Of The Rose

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is one of his landmark pieces, which is part of Tolkien’s legendarium.  Tolkien’s legendarium revolves around the world of Arda.

Unknown to many, The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as fictional mythology about the remote past of Earth, in which Middle Earth is the main stage.

The Legendarium is composed by phenomenal fiction such as The Lord of the Rings and also The Hobbit, as previously mentioned.  But also, the Legendarium features works such as The Silmarillion, The History of the Middle-Earth, The History Of The Hobbit, and more.

Undoubtedly one of the most significant books in the 20th Century, The Hobbit takes us through the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, whose life early on echoes predictability, comfort and simplicity.

However, after an unexpected party, Bilbo’s life changes most auspiciously.  After repeatedly stating he was not interested in being privy to an adventure, Bilbo was tricked into going by his guests, the dwarves, appealing to Bilbo’s more adventurous side – his Tookish side. There in the adventure begins.

On Bilbo’s quest to the Lonely Mountain, he and his companions traverse through Rivendel, the Misty Mountains, the dark forest of Mirkwood and even Lake Town, before anchoring at the Desolation of Smaug for the apex of the story.

On the way, Bilbo and his gang run into all sorts of folks: elves, humans, eagles, wargs, orcs, and even intricate characters such as Beorn and Gollum, all of which serve to make this phenomenal fantasy into one of the most intriguing mental escapes any fictional book has ever accomplished.

Throughout the epic, Bilbo’s journey mirrors that of the readers in the time which Tolkien published the story in 1937.  Just as Bilbo was reticent of going in the journey, being rather conservative, and being comfortable in his rather run-of-the-mill cookie-cutter everyday life, so were the people of the time of Tolkien a bit reserved about venturing on a journey into the realm of epic fantasy.  Mainstream folks weren’t interested in fantasy, and some even felt askance to it.  This was the reason why Tolkien used Bilbo as an analogy for the reader to familiarize itself with this Universe.

In fact, as medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

“Bilbo’s initial perspective is so narrow, so domesticated, that being made late for dinner apparently counts as very serious hazard.  When Gandalf suggests sending him on an adventure, Bilbo runs into the house in panic.”[1][Emphasis On Original]

That’s how reticent Bilbo was!

These very circumstances, which mirror those of the readers of the time, are best exemplified by the following words:

“Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[2]

And yet, no matter what Bilbo thought on the surface, deep down inside part of his deepest self was quite intrigued with the prospect of an adventure.  This insight is best viewed in the following passage, which takes place right when the dwarves begin an impromptu musical performance at his abode:

“Bilbo “forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill”.  He is transported into the land of the dwarves, and their song even brings him to share for a moment their own perspective and experience.  As they sing, he “felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.”  For a little while, Bilbo is moved by the music and the poetry of the dwarves, and he steps imaginatively out of his little world and into their story.  At this moment, “something Tookish woke up inside him,” and Bilbo finds that there is a part of him that desires adventure after all.”[3]

Once Bilbo’s imagination is unleashed it was like Pandora ’s Box, and there was no putting it back.

The contrast within Bilbo is best noticed when compared with Gandalf, as each represent two sides of the same coin.

As Olsen elucidates:

“Bilbo’s settled, Baggins life is like prose, plain and businesslike, and the magical world of Gandalf and the dwarves is more like poetry, full of wonder and marvels, but also strange and sorcerous like Gandalf’s smokerings. Bilbo may adhere to the Baggins point of view, but his Tookish heritage does give him a tendency toward that other, adventurous life, a tendency that is lurking beneath the surface when Bilbo meets Gandalf.”[4]

This tendency towards  what’s intriguing and portentous is what helps Bilbo grow throughout the journey as he finds the core of his Tookish side, and uses it to help himself and his newfound friends in this journey.

Intriguingly, as Bilbo grows accustomed to the wondrous and imaginative changes that magic brings about, so did the readers of the time.

The best part of this The Hobbit is that it’s so in depth and profound that there’s much to be had from it.

Truth be told, as Louis Markos Ph.D. notes in his book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis:

“So greatly did The Hobbit delight adults and children hungry for the lost realm of fairy tales that the cried out for a sequel.  In response, Tolkien spent the next decade and a half crafting a far richer and more mature work that would ratchet up its predecessor from a humble fairy tale to a full-scale epic in the tradition of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Beowulf.”[5]

The Hobbit is truly an upper echelon book.  This book resides within a class of books that belongs in an entirely different realm.  Some of the greatest books of all literature treat life as a journey, and this book is no different.  Moreover, not only that, but the book is so in depth, and offers so many subtle themes, that people for ages will be learning from it.

Touching upon this very subject, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren speak about these type of books in their own touchstone piece, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading:

“There is a second class of books from which you can learn – both how to read and how to live.  Less than one out of every hundred books belongs in this class – probably it is more like one in a thousand, or even one in ten thousand.  These are the good books, the ones that were carefully wrought by the authors, the ones that convey to the reader significant insights about subjects of enduring interest to human beings.  There are in all probably no more than a few thousand of such books.”[6]

The Hobbit offers many profound lessons of life.  Through fantasy fiction Tolkien creates a story which is analogous to what each of our own journeys are individually.  And just as life offers us countless lessons from which to learn from, so offers The Hobbit many germane gems of wisdom that are for the taking which are woven throughout the story.

In sum, the best reason to read this book is encapsulated in the following words by Markos:

“All ages at all times need stories, but our needs them so much more…The stories that we need are precisely those that will beckon us to follow their heroes along the Road; that will embody for us the true nature of good and evil, virtue and vice, and then challenge us to engage the struggle between the two…”[7]

And The Hobbit, for those very salient reasons, and more, is just one of those stories.

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Sources:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 21.
[2] Ibid., p. 35.
[3] Ibid., p. 24.
[4] Ibid., p. 23.
[5] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, pp. 13-14.
[6] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, pp. 332-333.
[7]Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, p. 187.
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