Tolkien Reading Day and Venice

Today is Tolkien Reading Day, hosted by the Tolkien Society!

Tolkien Reading Day is held each year on 25 March, the date of the downfall of Sauron the Lord of the Rings and the fall of Barad-dûr, and the day of the New Year in Gondor.

"The theme for Tolkien Reading Day 2016 is life, death and immortality.
'To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939... by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.' — J.R.R. Tolkien, Foreword to the Second Edition, The Lord of the Rings
The theme was chosen for 2016 to coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Tolkien fought and survived this dreadful battle, but lost his close friend and fellow T.C.B.S. member Rob Gilson. With the death of G.B. Smith later that year, the First World War undoubtedly shaped Tolkien's outlook on life and death, with mortality and immortality looming large in the Middle-earth legendarium."

The TCBS was, from the hindsight of history, a precursor to the Inklings. And who were the Inklings? All shall be revealed next week when the A to Z Challenge begins!

I've been rereading Humphrey Carpenter's The Inklings, and Tolkien's collected letters, to prepare for the A to Z (and have just completed a reread of all 12 books of the History of Middle-earth!); I really hope I can do justice to all the various members of the Inklings and the other authors and people from that time that I've chosen to feature. I miss some of my books that are in storage, especially John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War and all the Owen Barfield and Charles Williams books.

A new edition of A Secret Vice, a lecture given by Tolkien in the 1930s and revised 20 years later, will be published in the first week of April, so I'll be busy reading that too -- my first new purchase in a few months (not counting the pile of free books we picked up last week from some boxes outside a villa, which is now being demolished!), give or take a book or two.

All that to say I haven't done any editing, but have been wroking my way through the books on the shelves. The pile never ever seems to grow any less. I've read four books from the pile and three new ones (one a gift, one from the free pile, and one an ARC for review (more to come on that!) in the last couple of weeks. How do new books keep finding their way into the house?!

In honour of Tolkien Reading Day I think I might reread some of Tolkien's poetry. In keeping with the theme, here's a deliciously eerie one, The Mewlips:

Related to Tolkien, who once referred to Venice as Gondor in a letter, we visited Venice last month -- my first time in Italy!

Looking at the Alps from Italy

 Flying over Mont Blanc and the Alps towards Switzerland

Morning in Venice

War memorial

Former Jewish ghetto

In 1516, the Venetian doges confined the Jewish residents to a small island. The ghetto was gated and guarded, and Jews were only permitted to leave in the day and restricted to certain professions (such as moneylending, as in The Merchant of Venice)

"The city of Venice remembers The Venetian Jews who were deported to the Nazi concentration camps on December 5th 1943 and August 17th, 1944"

Courtyard outside the Hebrew Museum of Venice

Bookstore with books in a gondola 

 Oldest church in Venice

Where Jean-Jacques Rousseau worked as secretary to the ambassador of France

Rainy evening

One of the many shops selling masks -- we were there the weekend after Carnevale had ended


Fish market. Also a statue holding a pillar to nowhere. Perhaps a pulpit of some kind? Zan Marie, what does it say on the marble?

Cafe with cat

St Mark's Square in the early morning

The wall against which Richard Wagner died of a heart attack

Various street scenes. Venice was lovely from every angle, but the morning light was especailly flattering

Do you take part in Tolkien Reading Day or Bloomsday or another author's celebration day?
Which author would you like to see honoured on a special day?


Denise Covey said…
Hi Deniz. I couldn't see anything but the photographs of Venice. A few years since I've been there and I'm pleased she hasn't sunk yet. Thanks for sharing the little snapshot of Jewish history. Hope you enjoyed the Tolkein Reading Day!

Denise :-)
Those were some big mountains.
Sounds like you are having fun with your research.
And I think our stacks of books are breeding behind our backs.
Hi Deniz - amazing photos ... and I'm so looking forward to your posts about the Inklings - a great subject. I would love to visit Venice sometime ... and you've given us another side of life we don't get to see - the Jewish Quarter in Venice - what a delightful square to have some reflective time.

I'm afraid I haven't been reading Tolkein today ... I guess we're going to be under the onslaught of Shakespeare - any minute now! I'm seeing posts already ... from erudite writers ...

Cheers for now - and I am still getting there!! On to H I go .. Have a happy Easter weekend - Hilary
Zan Marie said…
We *love* Venice! I can think of nowhere else that gives you an experience of stepping out of time and place like Venice does. I could feel the air, smell the canals, and get that lovely shiver of discovery from your pics.
Lara Lacombe said…
What a great trip!
Carol Riggs said…
Mewlips and Inklings and Venice, oh my! Sounds like great fun. :) Wow, that bookstore is just a jumble of books--looks like they need more room (or shelves LOL).
Deniz Bevan said…
So glad you all enjoyed the photos!

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