When I taught a course on SFF criticism at the U of MN, I learned that none of my students had read Tolkien, beyond the essays of his I assigned them. So I read them The Hobbit. A chapter a day, at the beginning of class. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done as a teacher.
365snakesinthebasket asked: Do you think i could read Dr Who eleven doctors, eleven stories if I've never read/watched Dr Who before? I've been wanting to get into Dr Who, but as there is so much out there I have no idea where to start..
I’d watch some Doctor Who, if I were you.
Here, I’ll make you a watching list. Netflix is your friend:
Watch an episode called BLINK.
Watch The Girl in the Fireplace.
Watch Dalek. (Yes, the Doctor looks different. Same man, though.)
Watch The Empty Child two parter.
Watch The Doctor’s Wife (I wrote that one, which is why I’m putting it on the list.)
Watch City of Death (it’s a classic series of shorter episodes from 1978ish, written by Douglas Adams).
Somewhere around there, start watching the New Series 1 with Rose and just come forward normally.
How to watch Doctor Who
Personally, I’d add more from the first two doctors (I mean Hartnell and Troughton); watching the oldest ones gives you the best feeling for what an imaginative show it is, something the newer ones might miss because the special effects are better (and, you know, the BBC cares now. Can’t believe they destroyed some of the old tapes!).
And don’t forget the Christmas specials!
rivervox asked: I noticed that you use "dwarfs" in the US version of "Fortunately, the Milk" and wondered if that is your preferred spelling, or if the copy editors chose it. We enjoyed the book greatly, especially the wumpires.
It’s the plural of dwarf.
Tolkien made up the word dwarves, to show that he was referring to a race of people. (http://grammarist.com/usage/dwarfs-dwarves/ ) Other people have used it since, most of them probably assuming that it was the true plural. (And Sondheim plays with dwarfs/dwarves in his song Agony, which you can watch at http://youtu.be/UAPJTik5mSo)
And for the etymologically interested: via http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dwarf
dwarf (n.) Old English dweorh, dweorg (West Saxon), duerg (Mercian), “very short human being,” from Proto-Germanic *dweraz (cf. Old Frisian dwerch, Old Saxon dwerg, Old High German twerg, German Zwerg, Old Norse dvergr), perhaps from PIE *dhwergwhos ”something tiny,” but with no established cognates outside Germanic. The mythological sense is 1770, from German (it seems never to have developed independently in English).Whilst in this and other ways the dwarfs do at times have dealings with mankind, yet on the whole they seem to shrink from man; they give the impression of a downtrodden afflicted race, which is on the point of abandoning its ancient home to new and more powerful invaders. There is stamped on their character something shy and somethingheathenish, which estranges them from intercourse with christians. They chafe at human faithlessness, which no doubt would primarily mean the apostacy from heathenism. In the poems of the Mid. Ages, Laurin is expressly set before us as a heathen. It goes sorely against the dwarfs to see churches built, bell-ringing … disturbs their ancient privacy; they also hate the clearing of forests, agriculture, new fangled pounding-machinery for ore. [“Teutonic Mythology,” Jacob Grimm, transl. Stallybrass, 1883]
The shift of the Old English guttural at the end of the word to modern -f is typical (cf. enough, draft). Old English plural dweorgas became Middle English dwarrows, later leveled down todwarfs. The use of dwarves for the legendary race was popularized by J.R.R. Tolkien. As an adjective, from 1590s.
Tolkien always said it should properly have been dwarrows, if languages evolved logically. He used that in the place name Dwarrowdelf.