Lord of the Rings

Why Do We Re-Read Our Favorite Books as Kids, and Why Do We Stop When We Get Older?

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As an avid young reader, I tore through every Nancy Drew book — both the originals and the cheap paperback updates — twice, experiencing my favorites up to five or six times. Even more sacred was my semi-annual ritual of re-experiencing all of L.M. Montgomery’s major novels, including the entire eight-book Anne of Green Gables series, alternating with my personal favorite, Emily of New Moon, and its two sequels. For weeks I would go back to Prince Edward Island and dwell with those characters. This journey was supplemented by a solemn re-reading of The Lord of the Rings every four or five years, an experience so intense that my dreams would begin to look like Peter Jackson’s set designs, even before those designs existed. As I got older, I switched out some of these childhood classics for adult ones, going back through the “Austen six” again and again, while also making a point of re-watching my favorite Austen miniseries and the Lord of the Rings films in marathon fashion.
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25 Painfully Unrequited Love Stories From Literature

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Great unrequited and unconsummated love affairs in literature act so powerfully on readers that we think we can change the story’s ending. Some of us will devour a book over and over again, knowing that two characters with great romantic chemistry won’t — and maybe shouldn’t — end up together but wishing against all reason that they will. Each time, we hope that the page might turn, and this time instead of a missed moment or a gaze or a goodbye, we will happen upon a kiss, or a reconciliation.
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“Vape” Until You Feel “Cultured”: Links You Need to See

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Oxford Dictionaries called dibs on “vape” a while back (yet my computer still vehemently wants to autocorrect it to “cape”), so it was obviously a challenge for Merriam-Webster to find their own word of the year within the sea of useless verbiage that encompasses every word in this shit language of ours— with the exception, of course, of the elegant, inimitable “vape.” But finally, today, Merriam-Webster picked their word: it’s “culture.” You might be assuming we culture writers are all rejoicing: but what, really, is a word of the year, especially when said word is so distinctly indistinct? For, similarly, what is “culture?” Though everyone’s answer might be different (some answers might be about yogurt, other might be about Bertolucci), I find this a perfect place, as it is, after all, a links roundup, to regurgitate some “cultural” stories from the day, and hope, that in the puddle of bilious chunks, the word of the year will somehow become more defined.
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Maps Reimagine American Cities as Tolkien-esque Fantasylands

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We all have our escapist fantasies. Some might live them out by going on, say, a Quilting or Saw-themed cruise (same crowd, really), some might steal away to an idyllic countryside Boot and Breakfast; others escape simply by re-imagining the places in which we live — and of which we so often tire — as fantastical settings. For example, in just about every city, it’s quite easy to translate Lord of the Rings locations to various neighborhoods: any city’s stagnant body of water/ mafia dumping-ground is obviously the Dead Marshes, any city’s mayoral office could be the Eye of Sauron, and any junior high could be that muddy mess where the Uruk-Hai are made.
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Tracing the History of ‘Sherlock’s’ Illusory Homoeroticism

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Two weeks ago, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch announced that a scene set in a gay club had been cut from the 2014 season of Sherlock, and of course, the word “gay” coupled with the word “cut” caused a small tizzy. The show, it seemed, in its incessant gay pseudo-subtext and systematic revocation of its every gay insinuation, had gotten itself into a pickle with this fraught scene — had they kept it, it would have added another notch to their “queerbaiting” belt, and a small tizzy would have likewise been caused. To emerge tizziless, they opted, suddenly and uncharacteristically, to eschew all gay implication. Thus, bereft of the freedom and the desire to gay it up, Sherlock’s dance with gayness is an equivocal burlesque, revealing, at the last minute, the gayish pasties atop heteronormative nipples.
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Vintage-Style Travel Posters for ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and ‘Star Wars’ Locations

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The holidays are over, spring is more than two months away, and it’s so cold today in some parts of our great nation that intellectually curious teenagers have been tempted to find out what happens when they urinate outdoors. All of which is to say, the prospect of a vacation is more fantasy than reality for most of us at the moment. So, as long as we’re yearning for exotic locales, we might as well be dreaming of ones that only exist in our favorite sci-fi and fantasy franchises. Ali Xenos’ beautifully designed, vintage-style travel posters for locations from Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars (spotted via The Mary Sue) should aid you in doing just that. Click through for a virtual trip to Westeros, Middle Earth, or outer space, and consider extending your imaginary vacation by purchasing one.
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