Tag: J.R.R.Tolkien

Summer Flings – 5 Fantasy Standalones

As the summer draws to a close, here’s a list of the five best fantasy books you just have to read before autumn arrives! All these books aren’t set in the summer, but they’re still the perfect thing to pick up, no strings attached! Whether you like paranormal, high fantasy, or light horror, you’ll find the perfect book to read in the sun (without falling asleep).

 

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

 

Uprooted
Image via Amazon

 

If you’re not reading Novik yet, then you’re missing out! This is the perfect standalone to get you started. Set on the outskirts of a terrifyingly magical forest, this book has a dragon (arguably), an unexpected heroine, plenty of violence, and even more magic. If you want a glorious modern story with the feel of a classic fantasy, you’re going to love this book. It’s also got sense, heart, and writing that’ll make you wonder why anyone else even tries.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Image via Amazon

 

Black writes a lot of different moods, so if you read fantasy you’ve probably encountered her. The Coldest Girl is and isn’t like anything else. Whether you’re over vampires or completely obsessed, give this book a try. A strong, sensible heroine who never the less gets drawn into danger and horror she thought she’d escaped, this book has both the elegance and horror of the genre, the obsession and the disinterest, as well as characters who step off the page.

 

Deep Secret – Danna Wynne Jones

 

Deep Secret
Image via Amazon

 

Jones is also outrageously prolific. Even if you haven’t read any of her work, you’ve probably seen the Miyazaki adaptation of one of her novels, Howl’s Moving Castle. This is something slightly different, but with Jones’ dry humor, sense of tangible magic, and deeply flawed characters you’ll still absolutely love. Royal succession, a secret magical society, and a digital curse make this book a classic, even if you may not know all the retro computer terms.

 

 

The Replacement – Brenna Yovanoff

 

The Replacement
Image via Amazon

 

You probably don’t know Yovanoff, but you might want to. This book is a little gruesome, but only in the way some old fairy tales are. Sometimes children in Gentry are taken, and Mackie Doyle is what was left. Exploring sacrifice, familial love, and what it means to be different, this is an unusual book that’s worth your consideration. The protagonist is complex, and teeters between selfishness and alarming selflessness. My advice? Read it with the lights on.

 

 

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

 

The Hobbit
Image via Amazon

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or haven’t even seen any of the movies, The Hobbit is self-contained novel that stands on its own. This book is sweet, engaging, frighting, and funny. If you like modern fantasy, here’s it’s start. If you love Tolkien, you know this is a great read and reread,  and if you never got into Tolkien and were too afraid to ask, this is a great place to start. Plus, they put the most gorgeous covers on this book now.

 

 

Featured image via inc.com

Five Magical Books to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday!

This week, Bookstr has decided to give you a special treat! To celebrate both Harry Potter’s and J. K. Rowling’s birthdays, we have decided to give you the definitive list of the best, the coolest, the most magical, books with wizards, witches, magic, or all three!

So take out your wand and whip out your flaming sword, here’s are five books that have pages racked to the brim with spells-galore!

 

 

5. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

J R R Tolkien

Image Via Daily Express

 

The history of this trilogy doesn’t need to be reiterated, from Tolkien’s belief that fantasy isn’t just for children to Jackson’s monstrously huge trilogy to Amazon’s current ‘in-development’ prequel adaptation, but what does need to reiterated is how AWESOME this series is.

 

Gandalf

Image Via Medium

 

With two wizards to boot, plus an assortment of creatures from devilish orcs, angelic elves, grumpy dwarfs, rambunctious hobbits and a world filled with giant spiders and talking trees, this series has no shortage of magic and wizards that’ll keep you turning page after page.

Plus, check out The Hobbit. The book (not the movie trilogy) is great!

 

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

What’s more magical than the Greeks Gods themselves?

 

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Image Via Disney Publishing Worldwide

 

The first part of the Camp Half-Blood chronicles follows a teenage Percy Jackson who lives in the modern world. The twist? He’s a demigod, and he’s off to Camp Half-Blood.

Along the way, he discovers that not only are there other demigods like him out in the world, but he’s the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, earthquakes, and father of all horses. Does that make all the horses of the world his half-brothers?

 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Image Via Amazon

In addition, Percy also learns that his best friend is actually a satyr (a half-goat, half-man). With the first novel focusing on Percy uncovering a conspiracy against him, things couldn’t seem to heat up anymore.

But they do. As the series goes on, we get characters from Greek and Roman mythology, from Titans to Gods to demigods to pegasi and many more mythical creatures, this is a series that any magic fan wouldn’t want to miss.

Now if you plan to check out this series for the first time, just do yourself a favor and pretend the movie adaptation doesn’t exist.

 

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Image Via Amazon

Who forget these books? Every child this century reads at least one book (probably The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) from this series as a kid.

If you didn’t, you had no childhood worth acknowledging.

 

C S Lewis

Image Via Christianity Today

A contemporary and best frenemy of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis’s seven book series might have jumped around when it came to the timeline, but since the series has been done and over with since 1957 you can start at the creation of Narnia with The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.

What other series can boast that it goes through the history of an entire world, including it’s creation and destruction?

If this seems a tad overwhelming, don’t worry. With magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, Narnia is a fantastical realm, and the words on its pages ship you off to another realm the way the wardrobe and the paintings do the same to the characters.

 

2. The Worst Witch Series by Jill Murphy

The first 6 books in 'The Worst Witch' Series

Image Via theworstwitch.fandom.com

 

You might have heard of them, but The Worst Witch is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. First published in 1974 by Allison & Busby, the series focuses on Mildred Hubble, a young witch who attends Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, an all-female boarding school of magic.

 

The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star

Image Via Amazon

 

Well-intentioned but clumsy, Mildred often finds herself in disastrous situations, leading to her being labeled as the worst student in the school.

 

First Prize for Worst Witch

Image Via Scholastic Shop

 

Each book in the series focuses on each individual two-term school years. With eight books in the series published, the most recent published in 2018, these stories about finding your place in the world is relatable to those of all ages, even if they aren’t magically inclined.

 

 

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Did you seriously expect anything else?

 

J K Rowling

Image Via Mirror

 

Not only is it J.K. Rowling’s/Harry Potter’s birthday, but in addition to her many witches and wizards…

 

Dumbledore, Grinwald, and Voldemort

Image Via Humor Nation

Hogwarts students

Image Via Seventeen Magazine

…she’s got so many magical creatures in her books, it’s insane!

 

A creature from the Harry Potter World. Do you know which one?

Image Via IGN

 

Check out the list here for the most obscure ones. Or have you been drinking too much butterbeer?

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Forbes

5 Times SNL Hilariously Parodied Classic Books

Books are weird. We have books about children who don’t grow, books about evil jewelry, books about people who really want to sit in uncomfortable chairs, books about cats who wear hats for reasons that are  never explained, and books about orphans. It’s a lot to take in, but you know what makes it so much easier? Humor.

 

SNL boxset

Image Via Amazon

And SNL is funny. It’s had its up and downs, but when your show is over thirty years old, of course there are going to be some duds. But when it’s good, it is amazing.

So, in honor of our love of SNL and our love of books, here are five times SNL paranoid classic books.

 

1. Peter Pan

 

Peter Pan is back and Wendy and the gang are ready to go to Neverland. What could go wrong?

Well, Tinkerbell ain’t around. She was always kind of obnoxious with that I’m-going-to-sell-out-a little girl-to-a-one-handed-pirate thing she had going on, but that was a phase. Luckily, we can avoid bringing out dirty laundry because Peter Pan brought a new fairy.

 

Tonker Bell

Image Via Gifer

Tonker Bell.

She’s gross. And lazy. And a whole other list of negative character traits. At least she’s not cruel though. That goes to Peter Pan himself.

Yes, Tonker Bell may be unpleasant, but in the book Peter was a devil! Really. J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys: The Real Story Behind Peter Pan notes that when Sir George Frampton sculpted this masterpiece…

 

Peter Pan Statue

Image Via The Second Website of Bob Speel

 

…author Barrie noted, “It doesn’t show the devil in Peter.”

Let’s be honest: Peter Pan cut off a pirate hand and threw it to a crocodile. Why not just kill him? Why throw his hand to a crocodile? Was it because his last name was hook? That’s not funny, that’s just mean.

If you want more examples, pick up J.M. Barrie’s 1911 book Peter and Wendy.

 

2. Oliver Twist

 

Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist follows the titular character who is born into poverty and grows up being forced to toil in the workhouse. It’s dark, it’s depressing, and it’s kind of fun.

It’s a match made in heaven for SNL.

Oliver Twist Cover

Image Via Amazon

 

In this sketch, the cowardly Oliver is told to ask for more food because the poor orphans are hungry. Shaking, Oliver goes up but is…

 

Oliver Twist

Image Via Variety

…interrupted by a full grown woman who comes out of nowhere begging for food she doesn’t need. How selfish!

When Oliver gets the bowl, the woman insults him. Oliver, the pinacle of human goodness, offers to share because of course he does. But unfortunately for him, the woman takes the whole bowl. If you thinks that’s depressing, you should read the book.

 

3. Cat in the Hat

 

Just like the Seuss’ book, this sketch opens up in rhyme. The twist? The Cat comes in just a bit too early. And turns out he knows the children’s mother!

The whole sketch builds from there. Why is the Cat in the Hat cut out from the pictures? The daughter can dance? And who is the children’s father? And will Thing One and Thing Two make an appearance?

This sketch, like the book, is a classic.

2. The Hobbit

 

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have much of the same characters, and the film adaptations have much of the same cast, so it’s only naturally we’d want to see them together. But how?

The Office is a good place to start. It’s a match made in heaven. Tolkien intended The Hobbit to be a children’s story, and The Office is basically a room full of children.

It might just be the best sketch yet, but that could because of Martin Freeman reprises his role as Bilbo Baggins.

 

Bilbo Baggins on SNL

Image Via Rebloggy

He’s basically Michael Scott. But that’s not the best part.

The best part is this…

Gollum SNL

Image Via Giffer

1. Game of thrones

 

Before the premiere aired, we already knew that more Game of Thrones spin offs than we could count were coming.

In case you wondering, we already know the details of two confirmed spin offs! Two! That’s almost the majority of my fingers on my writing right hand.

 

Game of Thrones-SVU poster

Image Via Deadline

But this sketch is a gem. It’s big, it’s long, it goes everywhere and does everything we want. The best part? We got SVU stars Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T investing the death of Oberyn Martell. Who could have crushed his death?

If you want to look at my thoughts when this sketch came out, you can read it here! And if you want more Game of Thrones parodies (and I know you do!), you can see my list here!

 

The great things about books is there are no commercials

Image Via Funny Jokes. Funny Quotes. Funny Sayings.com

Overall, these classic sketches based on classic works will make you laugh, cry, and then you’ll realize you’re crying because you’re laughing so much.

 

Featured Image Via SNL

Nicholas Hoult and Lilly Collins in Tolkein

Tolkien Estate Disavows Film Based on The Father of Fantasy

Ouch!

The film based on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings, won’t be released until May 10th, but the Tolkien estate has already disavowed the film.

 

Tolkien Film Poster

Image Via Reddit

 

As per the Irish Examiner, the family released a statement  saying:

The family of JRR Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled Tolkien that is due for release in May 2019.

The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film.

They do not endorse it or its content in any way.

 

The film stars Nicholas Hoult, known for playing Beast in X-Men: First Class and Nux in Max Max: Fury Road. According to The Guardian, the film is follows “the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school…until the outbreak of the first world war which threatens to tear their fellowship apart”.

 

J R R Tolkien, Nicholas Hoult, and Lilly Collins

Image Via Entertainment Weekly

 

It’s another biopic but instead of being based on a rock n’roll star a la Bohemian Rhapsody or the new Elton John film, Rocketman, this film is about a writer. Given that Lilly Collins plays Edith, Tolkien’s romantic interest and later wife, you probably already know what this film is about.

But let’s keep an open mind: Just because the film doesn’t have the family’s approval doesn’t mean it’s bad—or even inaccurate. The Tolkien estate isn’t known for their love of The Lord of the Rings, either. Christopher Tolkien, son of the writer, told Cinema Blend that, “They gutted the book, making an action movie for fifteen-twenty-five year olds. And it seems that The Hobbit will be of the same ilk.”

At least the filmmakers—from the actors to the cast and crew to the producers—can sit easily with this quote from The Independent: “The family of Tolkien are understood to consistently turn down approaches to make biopics, and wished to clarify their position.”

Meanwhile, the Tolkien estate sold the rights for a Lord of the Rings television series to Amazon back in 2017, and a series based on the trilogy is currently in development. Meanwhile, the film, produced by Fox Searchlight (which is now owned by Disney!) will still be released come May 10th.

Check out the trailer before!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Youtube

7 Fictional Book Worlds to Inspire Your Own World-Building

World-building is hard. Designing an entirely different world may look easy on screen, but any up and coming writer who has actually sat down to design a fantasy world has found it much harder than it seems. Of course, the mere fact that they are dozens of fictional worlds out there showcases that it can be done… it just requires a lot of time and work. To get your creative juices flowing, here are 7 books with worlds you just get lost in. Maybe you can get inspired to design some of your own!

 

The cover to Neverwhere, showcasing the London cityscape and a subway tunnel beneath

Image Via Amazon

7. London Below – ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman

Anyone’s who ever read Neil Gaiman’s many and varied works knows he’s a master of imagination, characterization, and storytelling. But the most intriguing and developed world comes from Neverwhere: the world called London Below. Sitting beneath London in this novel is a fictional underground that bridges the line between the reality of London and the other side of its own surreal culture. Subway stations become full kingdoms, and the tunnels are full of all manner of strangeness. Things you take for granted in the real world (like minding the gap stepping off the platform) become infused with terror, as monsters dwell in the dark space in the gap and can snatch you off your feet. Neil Gaiman creates a fictional universe that places London in an alternate reality full of intrigue, monsters, and strange concepts, making for a grand location that we wished to see more of.

 

A young woman clad in desert attire backlit by flames

Image Via Amazon

6. Miraji – ‘Rebel of the Sands’ by Alwyn Hamilton

A fusion between the Wild West and classic Arabian fantasy tropes, Miraji is the titular world of Rebel of the Sandsa desert nation constantly at war. Magic is held in check through the backwater towns that populate the desert sands, as they spew black dust that keeps the power of the god-like First Beings from being gifted to normal folk. Scheming sultans, colorful Djinn, and a religious war are many of the elements in this fully-realized world, a harsh but imaginative one.

 

A bug-like humanoid stands beneath a twisted cityscape crisscrossed by wires and flying airships

Image Via Amazon

5. Bas-lung – ‘Perdido Street Station’ by China Meiville

Weird doesn’t even begin to describe this novel, but it’s a strong place to start. Author China Meiville decided to chuck seemingly everything and the kitchen sink into his world, a city called Bas-Lung, in his famous novel Perdido Street StationBas-Lung is self-described as a fantasy version of Victorian England, dirty and full of crude, steampunk-esque technology. Magic, robots, insect people, bird people, monsters, giant killer moths, and so much more inhabit Bas-Lung; it almost reaches the point of being overstuffed. (Almost.) But China Meiville’s skillful writing keeps everything in balance and, despite the madness of the concept, grounds it enough in reality that Bas-Lung becomes a developed world rather than just a crazed place of ideas. Of course, it nearly reaches that point as well.

 

A black robed man in a menacing mask stands against the back drop of a full moon

Image Via Goodreads

4. Urth – ‘The Book of the New Sun’ by Gene Wolfe

Urth of The Book of the New Sun is actually our world (say ‘urth’ out loud), but so far into the future that it has become a nearly unrecognizable, alien world. The sun is dying, and the remaining population has exhausted all its resources, meaning the planet is on the verge of a slow death. There is some advanced technology, but the story reads more as a sword-and-sorcery tale, humanity having regressed to a more primitive state of mind. Although strangely written, akin to a waking dream, the world this novel creates is at once beautiful, haunting, and certainly uniquely crafted.

 

The cover to Jade City, featuring glimpses of green chunks of jade

Image Via Amazon

 

3. Kekon – ‘Jade City’ by Fonda Lee

Kekon of Jade City is a sprawling island metropolis much like our own, possessing modern conveniences such as televisions, phones, cars, the works. But it diverges in one very important point: the existence of jade. Jade is a substance that is found off of Kekon’s waters and, properly harvested, can be used to grant supernatural abilities to its wielders. Kekon is ruled by four rival crime families, all with jade at their disposal, and, as the novel unfolds, the families descend into war. Kekon is inspired by Asian mythology, complete with jade-given powers that you might see in kung-fu action films. The island itself becomes a memorable character all on its own, with jungle hills beyond the bustling, rain-soaked cityscapes and fisheries lining the slimy docks at the island’s coasts. It’s a unique location and certainly one you could see yourself wandering about under stormy skies, listening to the sea and seeking your next piece of jade.

 

The covers to the Song of Ice and Fire series, featuring a sword, a crown, a helmet, a goblet, and a shield

Image Via A Wiki of Ice and Fire

2. The Known World – ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin

One of the most developed worlds in recent memory, the Known World of A Song of Ice and Fire feels like a living, breathing culture. Martin’s ability to make it feel incredibly real, even when introducing elements such as the dragons, the white walkers, and blood magic, is a huge part of the series’ massive success. From the mega continent of Westeros with its freezing Northlands, swamp-like Riverlands, and the sheer beauty of places such as King’s Landing, to the most barren regions of Essos, every part of the world feels carefully constructed; no amount of detail is spared. Although more grounded in reality than most fantasy, Martin’s world still feels incredibly imaginative and lived-in. Just watch your back: everyone plays the Game of Thrones for keeps…

 

The covers to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, featuring the flaming Eye of Sauron

Image Via Amazon

1. Middle-Earth – ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J.R.R. Tolkien 

The first is often the best for a reason. Middle-Earth is the standard by which all other fantasy works are judged, a truth so obvious it hardly requires explanation. (But don’t worry; we’ll explain.) Tolkien’s world is so vibrant, so detailed, and so full of life you’ll swear it was real even just by the words he chooses to describe each part of it. Tolkien’s craft is so meticulous fandom is still finding new details about his world today from the expansive timeline, to the lore behind the smallest of locations, to the origins of the various races, to the rich history of various character’s own family trees.

(Not to mention the beautiful natural world Tolkien creates, from the towering peaks of the Misty Mountain inhabited by swarming hordes of orcs, to the great grasslands of Rohan where the horse-riders race across the hills, and the humble countryside of the Shrine home to the isolated, yet happy hobbits. Except I have no choice but to mention it.)

It’s a world that set the standard and in some ways, can never be topped.

What are some of your favorite fantasy worlds that you draw inspiration from? Tell us in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Goodreads