It’s time once again to share that randomness one encounters when surfing the internet. A few things of interest:
“No harm in him: only needs a smack or so…”*
Courtesy of The Tolkien Professor, the online journal Newser** reports that a man in Ann Arbor, MI was hospitalized last weekend after a barroom brawl. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Last weekend was St. Patty’s Day. There must have been a thousand such incidents! What distinguishes this one, however, is the alleged cause of the (albeit probably drunken) fight: A debate over the relative merits of Mssrs. Tolkien and Lewis. Whether the debate was theological or literary in nature, and exactly who came out on top, the article does not say. Take this for what it’s worth, and have at it in the comments…but please be kind to each other! While drinking and arguing over religion and literature are definitely in the spirit of the Inklings, I’ve never heard that it actually came to blows. Let’s keep it clean.
Update: Confirmed by The Guardian?
* C.S. Lewis of J.R.R. Tolkien, on the occasion of their first meeting. True story.
**Which bears the remarkably strange tagline “Read Less Know More”…..Umm…What?
On the other hand, Tolkien was pretty hardcore…
I know it’s a cliche to beat up on Nazis, but I can’t help but share the link to this article for any readers who have never read Tolkien’s Collected Letters and don’t know how awesomely snarky he was to the Third Reich. My favorite one-liner: Calling Hitler a “ruddy little ignoramus.” That about sums it up. For extra fun, check out the mash-up of Inglorious Basterds and The Fellowship of the Ring that takes in the comments section below the article.
Tolkien Reading Day: March 25th
One last Tolkien related point: Today, March 25th (the anniversary of the destruction of the Ring, of course, if you need to be told) is the annual Tolkien Reading Day. Grab your favorite, and get to reading! Some shortish suggestions for non-devotees: the short story Leaf by Niggle or the essay “On-Fairy Stories,” both of which can be found in the Tolkien Reader.
Dystopia More Popular Than Ever?
Goodreads has posted some interesting stats regarding Dystopian Fiction. Unsurprisingly, dystopian books tend to be popular during times of social and/or political unrest and, even more unsurprisingly, that includes our present circumstances, contributing to the huge popularity of The Hunger Games and several others. The charts are a little simplistic and not at all comprehensive, but give a good overview of the different “waves” of dystopian literature and their evolving concerns. Also a good place for recommended reading if, you know, oppressive governments, fights to the death, and the looming fear of the obliteration of the human race are your thing.
Your Brain on Fiction
Finally, according to a study reported in the New York Times, all this reading and writing and thinking about reading and writing is good for you. Well, we all know this is capital-T True, but it turns out it’s scientifically and empirically as well as mentally and spiritually true. So make sure you get your daily dose of fiction as well as good food and exercise.