9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Essential anthology of Tolkien's lesser known works,
This review is from: The Tolkien Reader (Mass Market Paperback)
THE TOLKIEN READER: This book contain's Tolkien's shorter fiction and works, including a play and Leaf by Niggle. There are four works in total:
1. "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son": a play dealing with two men after the Battle of Maldon. Interesting, and shows more of the scholarly side of Tolkien.
2. TREE AND LEAF: This is a book consisting of two things: his essay on faerie tales, and Leaf By Niggle. Tolkien's essay is now considered one of the main centerpieces of literature defending and validating fantasy and faerie tale (as if THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT weren't enough). Leaf By Niggle is a very deep work, and basically it deals with his despair of mortality and not being able to finish his mythology, his great work. However, in the end Tolkien shows his glorious hope.
3. FARMER GILES OF HAM: a mock medieval story. Everything that THE LORD OF THE RINGS represents, this story pokes fun at and parodies. Very funny story, and shows Tolkien's sense of humour. This was written originally for his children (as much of his stuff was).
4. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BOMBADIL: This is a very misleading title. It is a collection of poetry, and only the first two poems have anything to do with Bombadil. The rest of the poetry deals with Middle-earth, or set therein. It is a nice selection of his verse.
Overall, a well put together anthology. However, it would have been better had it included SMITH OF WOOTTON MAJOR. That, along with the two works constituting TREE AND LEAF, is the closest thing to autobiography he ever wrote, and all three are vitally important in any serious study of Tolkien