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Melody Murray's Books

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Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities
Nigella Lawson, Lis Parsons
Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause
Judy Norsigian, Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Vivian Pinn

The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life

The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life - Peter S. Beagle, Noble Smith If you are looking for a review where the reviewer overlooks niggling errors because the text is so inspiring, move on. If you are looking for a review where the reviewer fails to mention egregious errors regarding the source material, click on through- nothing to see here! If you've read many of my reviews, you know I'm a Tolkien, um, fan. I can see that Noble Smith is also a fan, but he's a fan in need of a fact-checker. Especially because of assholes like me, who get all twitchy the instant someone gets the slightest little thing wrong- and who feel the need to shout, "No, no, THAT isn't what The Book says!" So my review is coming from a place of knee-jerk reactionary devotion to JRRT. I found that Smith tended to recycle incidents from the books several times throughout this book in order to shoehorn in more Shire-riffic advice. I also felt like he was trying too hard. Sometimes the cigar is just… you know. And I disagree, too, with Smith's portrayal of life in the Shire as entirely ideal- even before Sharkey came, it wasn't Eden. It sounds like I hated the book, but I didn't. The book itself is a fairly non-offensive little pop psychology tome coincidentally (surely it's a coincidence!) published just as the latest big Peter Jackson Hobbit movie hits the theaters. There were pleasant moments, and I sympathize very deeply with many of Smith's moral stances as explicated by the book. I just don't think he's broken any new ground here. The prose is workman-like, with a few grammar nit-picks (would you expect any less of me?) like using council when counsel was called for. It seems I'm focusing on the negative (and I am) but there's a lot of positive here, too. There are many more correct allusions and fun facts than incorrect ones. There are enticing tidbits that would likely make a person want to read the books if they had not already done so. There is good solid advice for living, plus a garden plan! There's good here- and to be scrupulously fair, this is the sort of book I hate even when it's not based on my favorite books. I say give it a miss. If you hated The Tao of Pooh, you'll hate this too. Here are some of the errors that made me either bristle or roar: "Strangers who passed near the Shire were called 'Bounders'." (The Hobbits who walked the boundaries of the Shire were the Bounders.)"And when Merry is lost amongst the dead after the Battle of Pelennor Fields, Pippin searches nonstop until he finds his shell-shocked friend and brings him to the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith." (Maybe this was how it went in the movie, but certainly not in the book.)"It's only then Frodo realizes Galadriel is wearing one of the three rings Sauron made for the Elves." (Celebrimbor made the Three, without any help from Sauron. -see The Council of Elrond chapter.)"After losing the One Ring, Sauron could only appear as a lidless eye ringed in fire." (No. Just no.)"At the climax of The Two Towers the Ents are forced to make a fairly quick decision (which goes against every fiber of their fibrous beings) to defend their beloved forest from the axes of the White Wizard's Orcs." (Treebeard explains how quickly the Ents decide things- it's the explaining that takes so long.)