Today is J. R. R. Tolkien’s 120th birthday, whose fans have much to look forward to in the new year 2012 provided the Earth doesn’t end before the first Hobbit movie arrives in theaters this December.
Well-timed for today’s celebration is the new review of Diana’s book about the Inklings, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community posted by James Huston — author of action novels Falcon Seven and Marine One. (Last year Falcon Seven made the longlist for NPR’s “Killer Thrillers” poll.) Huston says —
Not only is it full of information I’d never heard before, but it gives the reader exceptional insight into the two writers who are the focus of the book, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, two of the most popular authors in the twentieth century. As an author, I was particularly interested in her insights into the creative process and the way that the community “supported” the writers efforts. I say supported in quotes, because reading their work to the others was often like getting their fur pulled off (to use a Lewis analogy from another context). They encouraged each other, no doubt, but they also said what they thought, regardless of whether that made the author feel good about his work or not. They were dedicated to producing the best work they could, and were willing to hear rough criticism to achieve it.