Some of you might be familiar with Alan Doyle as the lead singer form the Newfoundland Band Great Big Sea. Others of you might be going, what? Who? Either, way, no big deal, I’m still going to recommend this book to you. Admittedly, I’ve always been more into fiction than I have been into biographical stuffs, but I’ve read a couple lately (the other being the brilliant H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald … read that, too) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them (and I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the services of plumbing Hamilton ON). Where I Belong, though you might expect it to be about Alan Doyle’s journey to stardom (well, sure, East Coast music stardom, but still quite popular, at least in Canada) but it’s primarily about growing up in Newfoundland, and that’s why I love it.
I was made aware of this book by another book (shocking, I know). The second book is called A View from the Cheap Seats, and it’s a compilation of speeches and essays and articles by Neil Gaiman (whom I quite admire, as you may now have guessed). It’s also an excellent read, and I would recommend to any reader to pick that one up, too. Anyway, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is quite an extraordinary work. Do be aware, it’s a bit of an undertaking (kind of like what a tree removal service might have to go through in some particularly foresty yards, except much more enjoyable, I imagine), compared to some of the others I’ve mentioned here; the version I bought consisted of a little over 1000 pages. It’s totally worth it, but just be aware of the length!
This one may seem obvious. I mean, has anyone (well, any reader) not been affected in one way or another by Tolkien? I suppose there have been. I have heard people say they find The Lord of the Rings pedantic. But then when I try to explain to them that it’s supposed to be like that, they won’t listen. I’m getting off topic. Just … . Anyway, here I am, telling you how The Hobbit has changed me, like a ride in limousine services changes one’s location. First of all, you should know, it’s my favourite book. Of all time. It’s actually a part of the reason I study what I study. I fell in love with Tolkien at an early age, and that fostered by love for medieval literature, and, long story short, I’m starting my PhD studying Old Norse literature in a few months. So, on a very obvious level, I already owe this book a whole lot.
You may be thinking that the title Stardust sounds familiar, but that you don’t remember reading it. That’s probably either because you have a friend who is an avid reader and has raved about it to you (because he or she, correctly, has likely insisted that you read it), or because you have either seen or heard of the movie. With Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ian McKellan, and Ricky Gervais involved, it was a pretty star-studded flick (and, for the record, the main character was played by little-known Charlie Cox). And the movie was lovely. It was a long time in the making and Neil Gaiman had a very large part in its creation, which likely had lots to do with its quality (just like, I imagine, the work of roofing contractors would be better if the designer of the house were there to oversee it).