Thursday, February 07, 2013

Favorite Poem

I read an article this evening that triggered an old warm and familiar memory, that of my favorite poem. My favorite poem happens to come not from a typical hero of literary renown, but rather from the pages of Tolkein's Rings trilogy. Its context and universalism resonated with me when i first read at age 13, and continues to this day. In Tolkein's novel, Bilbo says goodbye to Frodo, whom he believes he will never see again in this lifetime. Bilbo sits beside the fire of his warm comfy room, reminiscing on the vastness and the color of his life. Then he paints an allusion of the world as it will be after he departs.

I sit beside the fire and think...

by J. R. R. Tolkien

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


I (Rob) drive about 80 miles each day... maybe 75 miles a day, from Tacoma to Seattle and back. Now mind you, it was sort of a strange quirk that caused this situation to be our reality. We moved from Seattle to Tacoma because Tacoma is where Rachel's company was located. Then her company moved to Seattle! So now we both commute 80 miles a day from Tacoma to Seattle and back. What does one do for 2 hours a day? For a couple of years, I listened to music and NPR. What do you do when music and NPR get utterly untenable? Somewhere along the way I thought, "this is a good opportunity to 'read' some of those classic books I should have read but never got around to reading." To make a long story short, below is a running list of the unabridged audiobooks that I have listened to since around mid-2011.

Below are all unabridged... meaning, yes, I really did listen to 22 hours of Moby Dick and 26 hours of Midnights Children. In no particular order:
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
  • Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie
  • Epicenter, Joel Rosenberg
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
  • Good to Great, Jim Collins
  • I Hate People, Littman & Hershon
  • Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • Man from Beijing, Henning Mankell
  • Bringing up Boys, James Dobson
  • The Pale King, David Foster Wallace 
  • Love & Logic /  For Early Childhood, Fay & Fay
  • Moneyball, Michael Lewis
  • Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
  • The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
  • Angelmaker, Nick Harkaway
  • Beowulf, Unknown
I may (but honestly not likely) in the future provide a brief summary on each of these books and novels. However, in the meantime if anyone has any questions on whether I found a particular book enjoyable or enlightening, feel free to send me a note. I'll respond within 24 hours. Each book had its strength and its weakness. Some were half good and half boring. Others had potential but fizzled out.