The other thing I've been doing, which is in its own way excessive, is re-reading The Lord of the Rings. I passed over the three-volume hardbacks and the paperback omnibus and went right for the pleatherette Big Red One:
Having just watched the Peter Jackson trilogy with Alice, the movies are fresh in my mind --
Break to gush over the Hobbit trailer: SQUEEEE! Martin Freeman was born to play Arthur Dent, Dr. Watson, and Bilbo Baggins, so thank you world for making these happen.
-- certainly much fresher than the books. I have a horrible memory; in fact I think when I saw Two Towers and Return of the King in theaters I had pretty much forgotten the respective books already. The movies are "big" visually, but the books feel "big" in time. What I mean is, the art direction and the use of New Zealand's geography makes it seem like the movies were shot in a real continent-sized place; and while the books certainly have that complete world in them, what strikes me first and most immediately is that there are thousands of years present in and behind the story. Even on a smaller scale, I've just gotten up to the arrival in Rivendell and already years have passed in the main plot. And of course the events of The Hobbit are directly involved as well.
I'm trying to pay better attention to the poems and songs -- as my experiences with AS Byatt will attest, I have a tendency to gloss over this kind of thing to get back to the plot as soon as possible. Aside from your feelings about poetry, I guess you have to like spending time with the characters in order to appreciate this kind of literature within literature. After all, in this case at least, the poems are the characters' way of expressing and enjoying themselves.
Being (hopefully) (sort of) older and wiser since the last/first time I read LOTR, another thing that strikes me is that the characters are very much adults. Frodo is out of his "tweens" almost right out the gate, and the other characters (at least so far) are mature if not actually old. Of course there's an element of growing up, learning, gaining experience to the quest, but it's not a coming-of-age story. It seems even sort of Tolkien-esque to say that the characters' lives to this point have been a kind of preparation for this quest in a broad destiny sort of way.
|This frivolous image is your reward for reading this far.|