Monday, December 05, 2005

Mr Bliss - J R R Tolkien

Mr Bliss

Since I'm currently reading just about everything Tolkien-related on which I can get my hands, I borrowed J R R Tolkien's Mr Bliss from the Bodleian Library's bookstacks on Wednesday to read. It is a small book, illustrated with Tolkien's own colour pictures about a man called Mr Bliss who wears very tall hats and who goes out one day to buy himself a bright yellow car for 5 shillings. A series of adventures follow this - initiated by the fact that Mr Bliss is a poor driver, rather as Tolkien was on his first car journey ! In fact, Tolkien and Siegfried Sassoon have this in common - both drove badly (although I'm not sure Sassoon's driving ever really improved !)

This is a lovely little book and would make a wonderful gift - I'm surprised that HarperCollins in the UK and Houghton Mifflin in the US haven't yet seen fit to re-issue it, as they have almost everything else fictional that Tolkien wrote. If you come across a copy of this book, do read it, as it's charming and good fun.

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News on the continuing "war" for bookbuyers comes from the Telegraph, whilst this article from the Independent discusses the consequences of the HMV group taking over Ottakers. I really hope that the buyout gets referred to the Office of Fair Trading. I've nothing against Waterstones per se, it's just that I want Ottakers to stay independent !


Camille said...

We own a copy of this book! Treebeard has built a collection of Tolkien-iana that would be the envy of most academic libraries. We always dig out the Father Christmas letters this time of year too. It is surprising they have not reissued Mr Bliss. Must have something to do with money, it always is the money.

Michele said...

Oh ! I envy your household, Camille !!

The Father Christmas letters are excellent, aren't they ? I'm planning to review them fully nearer to Christmas...

I did wonder if it was the cost of reproducing Tolkien's colour illustrations that had prevented a re-issue of Mr Bliss since the book wasn't actually published in his lifetime for that very reason...