When I’m not locking people in my bathroom or laughing inappropriately during rock shows, I like to read. My perennial new year’s resolution is to read more books. For good or bad, I picked a doozy of a novel to read first this year. I probably should have eased into the literary waters a bit with something slimmer on January 1, but I picked up The Lord of the Rings. I’ve been knocked off track in my reading several times over the past two months, but I finally finished the first book of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring.

It’s an interesting read. I haven’t read fantasy fiction in years so it’s weird to jump into it. I’ve been impressed with Tolkien’s mixture of the understandable and the impenetrable. I.E. the months of the year are regular old months of the year, but there are all sort of Elvish names for things that probably didn’t have to be named. Tolkien will sometimes say something like, “They sat at the table, or gertlet as the Elves called it.” And if you’re like me, you think, well, that was a completely useless translation. (Oh, and I totally made up gertlet.)

I’m also intrigued by the use of time in the novel since to me time is of incredible importance in a novel, but usually on the order of trying to squeeze everything into a reasonable amount of time. In LOTR, weeks and months will pass in a brief sentence. I am struck by the feeling that there’s enough going on to make the novel epic, that it didn’t need to be emphasized that they sat around for weeks in Elrond’s castle. Just get to the next part of the adventure, you know.

All in all, it’s been interesting to read something so out of the realm of novels I would ever ordinarily pick up. It’s also been a decent escape from reality over the past couple of months. But I shudder to think at how long it will take me to finish the next two-thirds of the novel.

And I also wonder if it will rub off on me and I’ll have a bunch of gertlets in the next thing I write.