Tell Me A Story

This week I managed to get something that I’d wanted for a while but had no clue on how to go about getting it – namely, a map of Middle Earth.  I am not much of a Tolkien fan; I’ve started Lord of the Rings three separate times and I always lose interest at the same point – just before Frodo and company leave the Shire completely.  I don’t know why I dislike Tolkien as much as I do; it’s weird because he focused on language, world-building, and a narrative – three things that I’d ordinarily  love under other circumstances.  I love Peter Jackson’s movies, so I guess I’ll have to leave it at that.  But I’m a huge fan of maps – of real places, fictional places, and places that are a little bit of both.  I’ve always had a thing for maps, and even as a young and confused non-Dr. Furious, I thought that Tolkien’s map of Middle Earth was exceptional work.

Well, this week I managed to pick up two different Middle Earth maps, and while that caused me to spend far more than I’d wanted (seriously – much more than I’d allotted), ultimately, I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to get them.  One’s in color and on cardstock, while the other is black on parchment.  I may head over to the local art store and buy a frame – they’re both pretty sizable, coming in at around 26″x30″ each – so I’d best reconcile myself to spending a pretty chunk of moolah on a decent display.  Only problem is in deciding where to hang it, but I’ll work on that once I have something to actually hang.

The summer heat and humidity have given way to more seasonable autumn temperatures.  I couldn’t be happier.  I love this time of year, in part due to the cooler days, but also because so many of my more positive childhood memories took place in the autumn months.  There is, unfortunately, an undercurrent of anxiety at work, because I know that snow is not too far off in the future, and I absolutely dislike driving in it.  Snow brings out the worst in drivers, and I generally try to avoid it if at all possible.  But you know what?  I’m not going to worry about that now.

In other news, I finally finished Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John LeCarre.  Checking the receipt, which I kept as a bookmark, I’m a bit disheartened to see that it’s taken me four years to work through it.  That’s right – four years!  I just could not get into the story.  Certain points were confusing, LeCarre kept jumping around in time, and some scenes just didn’t make sense to me.  I’d considered taking up his Little Drummer Girl, but my experience with TTSS has got me reconsidering that move.  I’d mentioned here – about the time when I purchased my copy of TTSS, I guess – that I’d gotten it primarily to read the original before seeing the Gary Oldman film version.  I’ve been wanting to see the film, but no – I had to follow my plan: Book first, then film.

Well, less than ten hours after I’d finished the book, I hit up Netflix for the film.  For the record, the Little Woman saw the film when it was released and hated it.  I kept that in mind as I started watching, and expected that, given my reading experience, I’d feel the same way.  I didn’t.  I actually loved it.  I mean, those confusing passages?  Now they made sense.  The jumps in time?  I get it now.  I usually don’t require visuals, but this time, they helped significantly.  I’ve always been a fan of Oldman, and his understated performance as George Smiley was fantastic.  Heck, I liked the film so much that I might even go out and track down a DVD copy for my collection.

So what’s next?  Bryan Burrough’s Public Enemies.  I had this book right after it was released in paperback, but had no time to read it.  After a couple of years, I sold it to a used bookstore for a couple of bucks.  Well, yesterday, I stumbled across a used copy (“used” in name only; the book itself is brand new), that was going for just $3.  I’d always had a fascination with the 1933 Crime Wave of Dillinger, Nelson, and Floyd, so I’ve decided to give it a second shot.  I’ve been to so many of the locations that Dillinger frequented, so I feel as though I really should give this tale another look.  I saw about ten minutes of the Johnny Depp film (sorry, but I just can’t buy him as Dillinger), but I may give that a second shot, too.

Hopefully, I can finish this book in a fraction of the time that it took for LeCarre, though . . .


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