9/18: It appears I am through one-third. The book is dense, and its nature is to make one want to pay as close attention as is possible. So far, I am impressed with the skill for continuance and weaving Tolkien possesses here. It is indeed something for those lovers of fantasy, or myth, or high olden language, but it does in fact reveal characters to whom the reader may attach and not realize it until the story turns in some unforeseen emotional way. The intricacy with which Tolkien also gives poignant explanations to that which he created gives cause for wonder, but also no surprise given his extensive background in this kind of material.
9/20: Quite inspired because of this book, I decided to see what I could find to read later about one of his influences and a part of my own heritage - Celtic myth and history. On top of this, I've also decided to try to actually use my linguistical aptitude for finally learning Gaelic.
9/21: Finished it! All I can say afterwards (other than al
ready mentioned) is the following:
Exquisite and intricate pieces of storytelling, these tales flow with a hint of the unknown so that one finds himself lost in it. This book is, for how well it fulfills its own genre, perhaps even better than the Trilogy. If one is a fan of Tolkien, or of epic myth in general, one must receive this book. It becomes obvious to the reader that a book is worth hanging onto when one fears the act of finishing it; there really is no debating such a feeling with this work. However, it is wise to read it as a group of independent tales, not as a continuance from one to another directly. Also, make good use of the helps in the back concerning pronunciation of the main languages, and family trees.
9/24: You know a book will be a classic favorite when you still think of situations in your life in the elemental terms used in the story days later.
It came upon the reading list, thanks to the generosity with which it was offered to me, free of charge.
Thank you, kind Sir Joseph!