Hi peeps, if you follow me on Bookstagram you will know already all about my Middle Earth Road Trip Readathon. The readathon goes all November long with 10 prompts. Each prompt is pretty open but helps you knock a book off your to-be-read. If you are a bibliophile book hoarder like me than you most likely have a lot of unread books you want to get to, or some old favourites you want to revisit. With some prompts that is the opportunity you get, to reread something you love and ditch the reread guilt a lot of folks feel when they own a lot of unread books.
Other prompts urge you to read that book you have been dying to get to. Others make you face your bookish fears and get through something intimidating you.
Here is a full list and break down of the prompts.
Fanghorn Forest: a book with any nature based word in the title or, set in a forest. I wanted a prompt like this coz Fanghorn is my fav Middle Earth location and so many fantasy or speculative fiction books are set in forests. I will most likely read Cloven Hooves by Megan Lindholm (one of Hobb’s nom de plumes) as I had wanted it for years, found a semi affordable second hand one last year then promptly did not read it. But it has pan or something right? Should be good. It’s set in a forest. I think. Heck.
Isengard: Grimdark or Dark Fantasy. If you are like me, you have a lot of these lying around. Grimdark seems to have taken over in popularity of Dark Fantasy. I love Dark Fantasy, it’s that weird love child of High Fantasy and Gothic Horror. Filled with sad creatures, supernatural, death, probably vampire sex and anti heroes. There is a big element of whimsy and melancholy as well. I am reading The Liars Key by Mark Lawrence. While his Grimdark is a bit pulpy, I still really enjoy it and can’t wait to continue with his work.
The Shire: a book that helps you relax. This prompt isn’t genre based but instead is a great chance to read an old favourite. So whether it’s a reread, poetry, a childhood book or a comic it creates a bit of change within the prompts. I am going to revisit The Fellowship of the Ring, the first chapters are my favourite and I really enjoy Bilbo and Frodo’s party and the four Hobbits shucking around the Shire. I also wanted to fit in one Tolkien book into my November tbr.
Numenor: a book with a fallen civilisation. Like all the prompts there are a few ways you can take this, you might want to bone up on your colonisation history and better understand institutionalised racism and these powers at play in politics right now. You might want to read that history book on Rome or Greece or Dark Ages Britain that has been sitting on your bedside table for a decade. You might take the chance to read The Silmarillion or the Fall of Gondolin. I am reading a Darth Bane book and getting to know the old Republic, a fallen empire in itself along with the Sith empire. Another interpretation could be a dystopian book.
Gondor: royalty or lost royalty. This applies to any genre or non fiction with elements of royalty in it. I am reading Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, it seems like a strange gothic fantasy and I am looking forward to seeing if it’s any good. I have heard rumoured that Neil Gaiman is writing the script for a TV adaptation but if he was really committed to all the projects he is rumoured to work on he would have to be immortal.
Khand, Land of the Haradrim: own voices book of a culture not your own. Yeah I am basically trying to force people to read diversely. Diversity is very individual as well, which is why I have made it about reading something which doesn’t reflect yourself. For me that’s super easy, I am nonbinary and I rarely see myself in characters or authors. I have chosen The Black God’s Drum, a novella that has a dystopian steampunk vibe, written by a black author about an alternate history New Orleans. I am really looking forward to it BUT SAD IT’S SO SHORT. I will more than likely take the chance to read more books for this prompt.
The Haradrim were in my opinion a super overlooked part of Middle Earth. It looks like they were a melange of cultures colonised by an evil deity-type-being early in Middle Earth history. I know more can be read in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales if you want a better explanation than that. I feel like it was a missed opportunity. They are written as the enemy but they are a people with no options left. The character Faramir speaks empathetically about them but in the films this is short lived, and they are portrayed as a dangerous other, juxtaposed against the armies of Gondor and Rohan. I want to highlight overlooked cultures in Middle Earth and give people the chance to read from cultures in our world that perhaps they do not explore enough. I am sad to see on Bookstagram that people openly admit to reading mainly white men, and then take it no further. I am bristling and bursting with recommendations from indigenous Australian authors, black authors, trans authors, queer authors, American and Canadian First Nations authors, Asian and South Asian authors. Heck I even have some nonbinary authors in there. If I can do it, you can do it. These authors write fantasy, horror, sci fi, historic, speculative, and romance. All genres have work by diverse authors. So there is no reason to leave behind your fav genre in the pursuit of having a bookcase that reflects the world. The world is not white. The system might be, it might favour white folk/white men, but this world has many many demographics, cultures and ethnicities in it. It isn’t hard to make your reading show this.
Modor: a book that intimidates you. While you can pick any genre, and any length I am going to read Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. I bought it THREE YEARS AGO and never read it. Oops. Philosophy and ethics can be hard to get into, so lets hope I am no longer intimidated and I conquer that mountain.
Rivendell: a book you are anticipating. I am so excited for the trade paper back comic book of Isola to hit my mail box. I preordered it 6 months ago, and it should arrive just in time for this readathon challenge to start. It is a queer fantasy comic by Asian creators. That’s all I know really as I do not want to spoilt the anticipation.
The Lonely Mountain: a standalone novel. The City of Dreaming Books is my pick for this prompt. My good friend sent it to me for my birthday in late June and I still have not got to it. I can’t wait to get to it, yet it kept getting lost in my tbr. This prompt could apply to a standalone graphic novel or children’s book as well.
Mirkwood: a book full of monsters. ARGH. SCARY. Maybe you have a left over book from your Halloween tbr, or something full of space zombies or deadly kittens or thirsty vampires or cannibals. Who knows. I am leaving this prompt open to myself as I have too many books which could fit it, and I want to leave it open to my mood.
Some Middle Earth Road Trip Readathon house keeping…
- you can’t double up one book for multiple prompts. Just apply it to one prompt.
- You can read more than one book for a prompt, essentially spending longer in a Middle Earth location.
- You do not have to read all 10, you can do as many or as few as you like.
- Feel free to stretch the prompt a little if you have a book that ‘sort of’ fits in. Its ok.
- You don’t have to read only novels. It could be comics, graphic novels, a book of poetry, non fiction, a novella or novelette. Even a zine. Get creative.
- The readathon goes all Novemeber.
- On Instagram I will announce a give away on Nov 1st.
- So I can find your pictures online use the hashtag #middleearthroadtripreadathon … its long I know. But I didn’t want it to get confused with peoples photos of visiting Hobbiton in N.Z