How To: A very Tolkien-esque Advent Calendar

Still need a advent calendar, but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Then I’ve got a great solution for you! Ok, sorry guys for this info-mercial type of tone, but some of you really won’t have to spend a single cent on this advent calendar. Really!

I’m not that much into that Christmas hype, so my seasonal decor and rites are very minimalistic. So last year, I decided to turn my copy of ‘Letters from Father Christmas’ by J.R.R. Tolkien into a very simple advent calender. All I ended up doing for this was dividing the letters into 24 days, put numbered sticky tabs into the book and viola, my Tolkien-esque advent calender on a budget was done! Why 24 days, you may ask. The answer is simple, im many countries in Europe, the big Christmas celebration, where the gifts are exchanged, is on December 24th.

I’ve enjoyed this Tolkien-esque advent calendar so much that I decided to turn it into a dradition and do it every year from now on.

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Now, if you’re interested in recreating it yourself, here is how I divided that short book into 24 days.

  • Day 1: Letter 1920
  • Day 2: Letter 1923
  • Day 3: Letter 1924
  • Day 4: Letter 1925
  • Day 5: Letter 1926
  • Day 6: Letter 1927
  • Day 7: Letter 1928
  • Day 8: Letter 1929
  • Day 9: Letter 1930
  • Day 10: Letter 1931
  • Day 11: Letter 1932 Nov. 30th
  • Day 12: Letter 1932 Dec. 23rd.
  • Day 13: Letter 1933 Dec. 2nd
  • Day 14: Letter 1933 Dec 21nd
  • Day 15: Letter 1934
  • Day 16: Letter 1935
  • Day 17: Letter 1936
  • Day 18: Letter 1937
  • Day 19: Letter 1938
  • Day 20: Letter 1939
  • Day 21: Letter 1940
  • Day 22: Letter 1941
  • Day 23: Letter 1942
  • Day 24: Letter 1943

 

Do you have any bookish or Tolkien-esque advent calenders? Why not share it with the rest of us?

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If We were Having Coffee – December 2nd 2018

Welcome back to another ‘If we were having coffee’ -post were we pretend to meet up for a coffee to catch up with each others lives.

By now, our frequent readers will know that it is common for this blog to become quiet for months at a time. At this point, there is no apology I can give to fully compensate for that. However, I still want to give an update or explanation as to why I, for one, disappeared.

Since the last time we had our virtual meet-up in April , a lot has happened in my life. I got a job offer not long after that post, moved to a different city and started my new job. These changes have been rather bitter-sweet for me. While I love my job and my new home, and hometown, I miss living close to my family and friends. It has been about four months since I’ve moved, but I’m far from finding new friends or even exploring my new home town. About every fortnight, I visit my parents over the weekend which means that I’m commuting a lot (I have no car and are using public transport) which leaves me with not much freetime and during that little freetime I have, I’m too exhausted to do anything.  Basically, I’m still adjusting to working 40 hours a week and commuting every second weekend. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel: I’m slowly getting used to it and very slowly go back to enjoying my various hobbies (incl. this blog) that are not reading.

Speaking of reading, because I’ve been commuting so much the past several months, and was too braindead to do anything else, I’ve read a lot. As of now when this post is published, I’ve read 62 books! Sure some of you read way over 100 books each year, every year, but I’m a slow reader and this number is a big deal to me. I’ll create a infographic for my 2018 reading year where I’ll break down how many books I’ve consumed as printed editions, e-books, and audiobooks, alongside other reading related statistics. However, I’ll be honest, without audiobooks, this number would’ve been a lot lower. And no, listening to audiobooks is not cheating, it is as valid as reading a printed book. Fight me if you like, I’m not changing my mind!

I’ve finally got Netflix! Yeah I know I’m very late to the game, but where I lived previously had a terrible internet connection where loading a 10 minute long Youtube video took ages, so I never bothered to get Netflix. So far, however, I’ve watched only one TV series in its entirety, but started several others. The only one I finished was Mind Hunters and I’ll give it 3,5 or 4 out of 5 stars. I was good, don’t get me wrong, but not exaclty what I expected. I hoped for more interviews with serial killers and less personal drama, but that was just my own misguided expectation. I’ve started watching Sabrina and I probably won’t finish it. Yeah its nicely done and has some good elements, but for the most part, I just don’t care for any of the characters. Also I miss my sarcastic and adorkable speaking Salem. The last show I started, but genuinly love, is, of course, Stranger Things. Yes, the hype is real, I’m completely hooked and can’t wait to finish it.

I’m still learning how to deal with my money responsibly which is code for ‘I hauled a bunch of stuff which I’ll share with you in the weeks to come’. I never had such a well-paying job so as of now I spend most of my money on books, nerdy collectibles, and stuff for my apartment. Ok that is a slight exaggeration, but still, I need to start saving money for hard times as well as a car.

What has your life been like? Any topics you want me to write about? Leave a comment down below! Oh and  I wish you a merry first advent for those of you who celebrate Christmas. To the rest of you, I wish you a merry Sunday. 

The ‘All About the Reading’ – Tag

I’ve just stumbled upon this tag watching one of my all time favorite booktubers and since I’m only reading books these days (haven’t watched a new film in months), this tag spoke to my soul. Before I begin with the questions, I tag everyone who is keen to answer some or all of those questions.

You can watch the video that inspired me over here: Why I Read | All About the Reading Tag by Books by Leynes.

All about the Reading – Tag

1.What do you look for most when you pick up a book? A) A beautiful writing style B) A character driven story C) A plot driven story
When I pick up a book, the only thing I initially look for is, as in the case of Leynes, that it tells me something I don’t know. Whether it is telling me an adventure I haven’t read about yet, a way of portraying characters and their developments, or a unique way of writing, I want to be exposed to new ideas. The rest, plot, character construction, or quality of writing style comes later.

2.What are your pet peeves in books?
Plot holes and authors making use of tropes out of sheer laziness. If you’re using tropes to dismantle them or as a form of satire, then that is awesome. However, if you’re using a trope because you can’t think of another way to describe a character or scene, then that is lazy.

3. If you could print one quote on your wall, which one would it be?
As I’m looking around my room, I’m realizing that I already have a quote in my room, however, it is not on my wall. A while ago, I painted the famous line “Not all those who wander are lost” from Tolkien’s poem about Aragorn on a pillow. There are two reasons why I chose this rather overused line. For one, yes I’m a basic white girl that likes to travel so as a basic white girl I have to do what we all basic white girls do, find some ‘inspiring quotes’, plaster them on an lovely, but basic looking image and pretend that this alone will make things ‘good in life’. Ok, all jokes aside, my life was never straight forward with a clear and easy ‘graduating from school to find a job, buy a house and have a family’ -type of path. My life has been and still is a zig-zag journey leading me, sometimes, back to where I’ve already been. So that line is just a nice reminder that its OK to not have a straight forward life path. Anyhow, I digress.

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4. Which genre would you like to explore more?
Ancient literature, non-fiction, and folk tales from all over the world. As I’ve said, I want to be exposed to new ideas and I’ve been neglecting those three genres way too much.

5. Was there ever a movie adaptation you liked better than the book?
Oh, that is a touchy subject. For one, I have to out myself as a member of the minority that doesn’t think that “the book is always better than the adaptation”. Having said that, I’ve been avoiding some of the recently released adaptations so I’m not very up-to-date. Now to answer the question, I have to admit that I enjoyed Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels more than I enjoyed the actual novels.

6. If one of your favorite books would be adapted or get a new adaptation, which book would it be and which role would you like to play?
That is an oddly specific hypothetical scenario, but here we go. If The Lord of the Rings ever receives a new adaptation (I’m looking at you, Amazon), I’d love to play a random Hobbit in the background or alternatively an Orc. Honestly, I really don’t care about what I’d play as long as I’d be a part of it. I’m not an actor, nor do I possess any talent in that regard what-so-ever so just give me a random role as an extra Mr. and Mrs. Amazon. I’m willing to play an Orc in exchange for coffee.

7. A hyped book you wouldn’t recommend at all?
A recent disappointment was Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London. Several of my friends love this series while I was utterly bored and annoyed.

8. A book that highly influenced your life and way of thinking?
Similar to the Youtuber Leynes, where I found this Tag to begin with, I have to say Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. The ability to lure the reader into such a story, and even make the narrator seem likeable at times, just by through Nabokov’s stunning use of works is one of a kind and deeply affected me on how to see and interpret novels.

Now, this is not a single book, but rather than an entire genre, but non-fiction books deeply affected me and the way I read. When growing up as a kid, I’d either read fairy tales or non-fiction books. It got to a point where I was so intrigued by what non-fiction books could teach me that my father only got me non-fiction books as birthday presents for several years. This, I guess, explains why I’m putting such an emphasis being exposed to new ideas when reading books, fiction and non-fiction, in general.

9. Are you a fan of re-reading books, do you do it often?
I love re-reading books, especially my favorites. It allows me to either re-live an adventure or re-evaluate what I’ve read in a new way.

10. Which book title could easily be the title of your life?
I really like the title of Witi Ihimaera’s play Woman far Walking.

11. Which book should be required reading for everyone?
None, to be honest. What is ‘required’ to read as a means of learning changes all the time and far too often ‘required readings’ in school consist mostly of books by dead white men.

What about you? How is your reading going so far in 2018? Leave a comment down below.

 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE | APRIL 18th, 2018

Welcome back to another ‘If we were having coffee’ -post were we pretend to meet up for a coffee to catch up with each others lives.

It has been almost a year since our last virtual ‘coffee meet-up’ so I thought I’d give you a brief update of things.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m re-reading The Lord of the Rings again. In my last ‘If we were having coffee’ – post from June 2017, I’ve talked about how I’ve re-read The Silmarillion and The Hobbit, and were re-reading LOTR. Almost a year later, I’m planning to do (almost) the same. I’m currently half-way through reading The Two Towers and have read Beren and Luthien a few weeks ago. I plan on reading The Silmarillion next, but in order to switch things up, I think I’ll read The Children of Hurin instead of The Hobbit afterwards. Very exciting news, I know.

lotr frodo

I’ve given up trying to stay up to date with geeky news. I’ve still haven’t watched many of the things I plan on watching for years and I’ve accepted that I’ll probably never will. I’m still very much in the mood to read and do nothing much but read. At some point I might start writing book reviews…. if I ever manage to get my nose out of a book long enough! In the meantime, the best book I’ve read this years so far is The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov.

I have, however, managed to catch up with one TV show though. During the Christmas break, I’ve managed to watch Westworld season one and OH EM GEE this show is soo good. This show has everything I love about the art form of Television all the way down to even a great intro song. My favourite characters? The Man in Black and Maeve, hands down. I have not seen the trailer for season two and I’m not planning to do it either. I want to surprised by whats to come.

I’ve simply walked into Mordor. A few months ago, Lord of the Rings Online released Mordor as a region, and my Hobbit hunter is finally strong enough to enter and quest in Mordor…well, kind of. Mordor is designed for levels 105 and higher and even though my Hobbit hunter is level 108 (of 115 in total) I’m still struggling to quest in Mordor. Sure, Mordor was designed to be difficult, it is Mordor after all, but still the struggle is very very real! I’m loving it though. Also, LOTRO recently released Laketown, Thranduil’s palace and the Lonely Mountain as Rergions and I’m soooo tempted to buy the region because I really want to quest there!

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How about you, what have your geeky life has been like in the last ten months? Have you watched Westworld and if you did which was your favourite character? Leave a comment down below!

Selfmade ‘Today in Middle-earth’ – Moleskine Journal

Several years ago, Moleskine release some beautiful Hobbit edition of its notebooks. As a lover of Moleskine notebooks and all things Tolkien, I had to get one too. While I loved every notebook in this Hobbit series, I settled for this notebook in pocket size.

Yet, until recently, I didn’t knew what to use it for. I wanted to use it for Middle-earth related stuff, but I was also too afraid to use it in case I ruin it. You know, the usual struggle every stationery lover has.

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A few days ago, as I was thinking of #middleearthmarch I somehow got THE IDEA: Why not use that Hobbit Moleskine notebook to write all Middle-earth dates down?

If you’re like me, March will make you wonder ‘What exactly happened that day in Middle-earth’? The entire year is filled with important days in Middle-earth, but March is, without a  doubt, one of the busiest months in Middle-earth. So whenever I wanted to know what was ‘going on’ in Middle-earth, I’d search the internet. Now, I don’t have to browse the world wide web, I can just grab my Middle-earth Calendar notebook and look up what is going on.

How I created my ‘Today in Middle-earth’ Moleskine Notebook

The most pressing question some of you now might have is ‘Where did you get all the dates from’? The best resouce on the internet is, by far, The One Ring.Net’s ‘Today in Middle-earth Calendar’. It is the most extensive and structured calender I’ve seen so far. No need to reference dozens of different hopepages anymore.

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Section 1: LOTR events month on two pages

For my own, analogue version, I created two sections. A ‘month on two pages’ featuring Lord of the Rings Events only and a ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section featuring all dates and events. The LOTR  events only section allows only for the most important event on each day. It serves me as a quick overview. My ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section is the one section I’ll use as a detailed account of events.

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Section 2

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My system of colour-coding events

In order to make things organized and clear, I’ve decided to colour-code the events in my ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’ section. Black stands for events  significant to LOTR, blue are events of importance to The Hobbit and purple encompasses miscellaneous events such as Tolkien’s birthday. All in all, I used up about two-thirds of my notebook. Depending on your handwriting or added decoration, it my be different for you if you decide to re-create it.

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Section 2: ‘Chronicles of Middle-earth’

I’m not gonna lie, at times it felt tedious to write everything down. However, for the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the process. I’d put on Middle-earth inspired music and pretend to be a Gondorian historian. Now that I’m finished I’m desperate to re-read LOTR again!

Have you done anything similar? If now, what do you think of my little project? Leave a comment down below!