After finishing reading The Hobbit with my son, we’ve moved on to The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s such a joy to explore this with him and see how, in some ways, he already knows much of the story because it draws on elements of stories and myths embedded deeply into our culture. The physical pleasure of reading aloud also makes this into a wonderful experience and has become a bonding ritual.
My own reading habits have lately focused on Gaiman. I never read too many graphic novels as a younger man but The Sandman is not what I expected. It has this feeling of literature with modern illustration. I have to force myself to spend time lingering over the art, though, since that clearly plays such an important role in the storytelling. Otherwise I could burn through the entire series in an evening.
One of the campaigns in which I’m playing has lately started to incorporate some elements of the fey. And after poring over Volo’s Guide to Monsters, I can see why. It includes many fey elements, which the original Monster Manual largely seemed to leave out. This started me down a wiki walk (reading about the seelie and unseelie courts) and I ended up looking at an Amazon page for The Once and Future King. Arthurian legend hasn’t really occupied any headspace for me since I took British Lit in high school 25 years ago (not counting one viewing of the Disney classic The Sword in the Stone with my kids).
White’s masterwork likely will not turn into our family’s next oral reading project, since the Lord of the Rings will undoubtedly take months. But as I finish the Sandman saga, T.H. White will guide me back into my own fairy tale reading as a counterbalance to my usual consumption of mathematics and programming books.
That reminds me that I also want to read The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, which apparently have a connection to the epic poem The Faerie Queene. In fact, I should just add all the Appendix N stuff to my Amazon wishlist.
Actually, though, this weekend will be a good time to hit up a used book store…