Okay - so the word is out now due to discussion on others' blogs - I haven't read Lord of the Rings.
I've now finished The Children of Hurin.
SPOILER WARNING - if you haven't finished it yet, don't read on.
I was impressed by the story-telling and language. However, I was pretty disappointed with the ending. Long story short, everyone lives horrible lives and then dies. It was an intricately woven bit of literature, just not too cheery.
A curse is placed upon all of Hurin's kin and the story follows how this curse plays out. I'm glad Morgoth isn't a real life threat, although it chillingly reminded me of the One who is pure evil.
And when I say that everyone dies, I mean EVERYONE. Any character we get to know or like is a goner through various means. Hurin's daughter flings herself to her death while pregnant, his son is slain by an evil sword of his own will, Hurin's wife dies at the kids' burial site, then Hurin himself dies there too.
As an introduction to Tolkien, I may have chosen the wrong book. I was, however, advised to try reading The Hobbit, so I went to my local Christian book store and picked it up. I'm a sucker for hardback books and was so excited to find my choice there.
So my new reading adventure begins today. I'm sure it'll be fantastic and I already know that the main character makes it through the end alive because LOTR has Bilbo in it and it's a later date chronologically.
My daughter is knee deep into Harry Potter. She's now reading Chamber of Secrets and doing very well. I've come up with a new incentive. She's getting paid a penny per page, but will only recieve her money if she finishes the book. My theory is that she'll be encouraged to read bigger, more challenging books and therefore, be enriched further and develop a deeper love for reading.
It just wasn't working to have her read for a set period of time each day anymore. It worked for a couple of years, but now she ends up thinking of it like a chore instead of a privelage. It's the whole positive reinforcement thing.
So far, so good. I'll keep it up as long as it works. If it becomes ineffective, then I'll rethink and formulate a new attack strategy. Mwah ah ah...