Hi folks! I’ve been meaning to do some random, more personal, posts on the weekends from time to time, so here’s the first. I’ll even break it up into segments so it’s easy to digest.
Book of the Month
For the first book, we’ve got one that was just released – it’s Perilous and Fair; Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Janet Brennan Croft and Leslie A. Donovan. Basically, this book is a great counter to the understandable criticism that Tolkien’s works are basically sausage fests. It contains fourteen articles by folks such as Cami Agan, Kristine Larsen, and John Rateliff.
I heard about it first through Rateliff’s blog, and since it just showed up in the mail this week, I’ve not had a chance to read more than an article or two (though I’ve perused them all). Rateliff, the only male among the authors, was also the only author to write a bio piece on Tolkien, entitled, “The Missing Women: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lifelong Support for Women’s Higher Education.” All the other works are written by women, and most are about some aspect of the Legendarium.
Wishing to read something pertinent to the first parts of the Silmarillion, I read Kristine Larson’s “The Power of Pity and Tear: The Evolution of Nienna in the Legendarium” first. It’s basically a wonderful essay tracing the character of Nienna from the Book of Lost Tales writing to the version which appeared in the published Silmarillion.
Feminism and Tolkien don’t always have common ground, and it’s nice to see an entire book dedicated to building such a place. I can’t recommend it enough. And most importantly, the book, though published by the very small Mythopoeic Press, and a very nice quality trade paperback, is only $18. Seriously, get this.
Not a Sausage Fest
One of the things that I really really like about this Tolkien blog is that many of the readers are women – they have been since the beginning. I have no idea why I’m blessed in this way when many of the other very fine Tolkien blogs are seemingly frequented by mostly men. But I couldn’t be happier.
Sure, I’m grateful for anyone who comments, but it’s just so refreshing to hear what women have to say about Tolkien. On the American Civil War blog that I write, the readers are almost totally men. The comments are few (my writing style there doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for it), but for the most part, when there are comments, it’s men. Often very strange “the south shall rise again” men who have very little concept of history. But I digress…. Doing this Tolkien blog is really one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thank you for making it so.
One of the things that I miss about the East Coast is pizza. We just don’t have many good pizza places out here. And while few that serve vegan pizzas are pretty good, they also tend to be a bit pricey. So I’ve taken it upon myself to try to perfect a good New York Style pizza, starting with the dough.
Now, I can’t toss a pie to save my life, but I’ve learned some other techniques to getting a good and super thin crust. I’ve found a great source for Caputo 00 Flour, and even have a peel and pizza steel. I’ve learned about cold rising and the difference between New York style and Neapolitan. We’re even working on Calzones and (eventually) Stromboli! The results are absolutely worth the effort! The pizzas are every bit as good as the ones I can get in Seattle. True, they’re nothing like the ones back East, but that’s okay.
This has become a regular Saturday night thing. I make the dough on Wednesday (for now, using a different recipe each time), let it rise/ferment in the fridge for three days and then form it into a thin 14″ pie. It’s awesome! Pizza!