I am a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and this year I read Lord of the rings once again. I love everything about middle earth and it is one of my favorite places along with Hogwarts. After I finished reading LOTR this year, I have not been interested in reading fantasy fiction by any other author. I have entered a reading slump and have been not enjoying other fantasy books. So I decided I will read other books written by Tolkien.
The first book that I picked was “Tales from the perilous realm” which is a collection of short stories written by J.R.R. Tolkien which are not all related to middle earth. Most of these stories were probably written for children.
The edition that I got has these stories –
I read this story only because it was written by Tolkien. It was boring in parts (mostly because they felt silly) but overall it was an interesting story for small children about a dog which gets turned into a toy by a wizard. I am sure I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read this story when I was a kid. But I am happy to have finally read something from Tolkien other than his middle earth stories.
Farmer Giles of Ham
Interesting story about a farmer and a dragon. I enjoyed reading it. It was a funny story, not very serious. This was the best story in this collection I felt. It has dragons and I think I liked this book mainly because of that reason.
[I deducted some stars because it seemed very easy to tame a dragon. It did not even put up a fight against Giles. That seemed unrealistic as the dragon could have easily won had it fought with Giles]
The adventures of Tom Bombadil
This is basically a collection of poems on many things and not just on Tom Bombadil. There were two poems about Bombadil that I liked. Rest of them were not that great – mostly about man on the moon(whom I did not like even in Roverrandom story), one on Oilphaunts and some other random poems. I am not a poetry person and prefer prose to poetry so I didn’t really like this collection much.
Smith of Wooton Major
Again a great story for children and not so great for adults. It is fairy tale which children will definitely enjoy reading. The best part of the story is that it has elves.
Leaf by Niggle
It is a very short story (probably the shortest one I have read so far) about a painter called Niggle. This story was meant to be a story with a moral of some sort I guess. After reading few reviews, I realized Tolkien was probably talking about death in this story. But I did not enjoy reading it much. I am starting to think that his short stories are not good enough for me. Maybe I had way too many expectations going into them considering how amazing his other books are.
A great essay on fairy stories and fantasy. It had some excellent points on how a fairy story should be written and why they are not just for children. But sometimes he went into some detailed examples and that is where I was a bit lost as I have not read many stories that he talks about. I liked it and will reread some paragraphs that I liked.
Overall, I gave this book 3 stars. If you are a Tolkien fan, then I think you should definitely read this book. If you are not a Tolkien fan, you can give this book a miss. Even though most of the stories are not that great, it is interesting to read stories other than his middle earth ones. I will make my son read this book as a kid since I feel kids may like these stories better than adults.