I told you I was going to have to admit another gross bit of lacking in my fantasy education, and here it is: J.R.R. Tolkien, father of the modern fantasy epic and I haven’t read a single one of his works yet. The Simarillion is on my 2014 reading list, however and I’m looking forward to reading it. Much of the happier events in Tolkien’s life made their way in one form or another into his writing. He was uncomfortable with the success of his books and being made into a cult icon, and eventually took his wife and made himself scarce. He lead a rather fascinating life that has too many points to mention in brief summary. For a novice writer like myself it was a rather inspirational biography to read.
I’m going to be honest and say that War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy terrifies me. No, I haven’t read it, but its presence on my shelf, with its 1000 pages in itty-bitty print signifies a very long commitment that I’m not ready to make just yet. I’m fascinated yes, perhaps willing to stroke a few pages in a secret viewing, but I’m not ready to put it on a reading list. I need to experiment with a few other books before I give so much of my time to just one work of fiction. Tolstoy was born the son of a Russian count, and after leaving the university he was flunking, he and his brother joined the army. During this time, and subsequent tours of Europe, Tolstoy’s social and political views began to change. He became a pacifist and an anarchist who was passionate about education. He founded thirteen schools for the serfs on his family’s estate, but was forced by the government to shut them down. Tolstoy eventually died of pneumonia when he attempted a mid-winter, late-night escape from his wife and his life of privilege. Apparently she was bitterly envious of how much attention he gave to the students of his philosophy, and opposed many of his views.
So there you go. Two classic authors I should have read by now but haven’t. Are there any other great T’s out there that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments!