The Desolations of Devil’s Acre, by Ransom Riggs – The sixth and final (at least for now) book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series takes place when the resurrected Caul, Miss Peregrine’s evil brother, is using his power to wreak havoc throughout the various time loops. The prophecy of the light-eaters suggests a way to defeat him, if Jacob and company can track down the relevant people. The universe has gotten rather complicated through the course of the series, not just in many new characters, but also the sorts of magic and legends at work in the peculiar world. And some of the people who show up really don’t do anything other than explain one of the old trick photographs. Still, it’s an enjoyable read.
The Lost Road and Other Writings, by J.R.R. Tolkien – This is the fifth book from the History of Middle-earth series edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher. I haven’t read the others, but from what I understand, they’re about how Tolkien’s imaginary world developed over time. He was constantly revising his work, and working out all kinds of details about how the world worked. As someone who often finds myself better able to write descriptions and overviews than actual stories, I guess I can take some comfort in knowing that a celebrated author frequently did the same, not that my style is all that similar. The highlight to this volume, although it doesn’t take up the majority of the book, is the unfinished story that Tolkien began when he and C.S. Lewis decided that one of them would write about time travel and the other space travel. Lewis’ relevant creation was his Space Trilogy, but Tolkien never really got his to work. Its hero is largely based on Tolkien himself, with the same affinity for language. He and his son travel back in time to the sinking of Atlantis, or Numenor as he calls it, and links that to the world changing from a flat to a spherical one and the mystical country in the west becoming unreachable by normal means. He intended to link the father and son team with others throughout history who had similar names. I think this was also supposed to be linked with the possibly historical figures of Hengist and Horsa, the former of whom is also a character in Beowulf. There’s also some early Silmarillion material, and I’m kind of amused at how Morgoth, basically the source of all evil in this world, had evil deeds that included knocking down lamps, killing some trees, and stealing jewelry. Yes, to be fair, they all had cosmic proportions in being his attempts to destroy the planet’s light sources, but it does tie in with how the Devil and other ultimate evils kind of have to fluctuate between being criminal masterminds and agents of petty destruction. After all, they’re both undeniable evil, right? I know he tried to develop Sauron as more someone who desired power and control for their own sakes rather than total chaos like his master.
God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx, by Desus and Mero – These two comedians who grew up in the Bronx have a program on Showtime where they joke about current events and interview guests. Beth became a fan first, and I liked it as well, but we don’t presently have access to that channel. I tend not to be able to think of much to write about this sort of book, I did like it. They discuss such subjects as drugs, relationships, kids, sports, toxic masculinity, and the justice system. Their upbringing was certainly a lot different, and more interesting, than mine, although I don’t know that mine was even that typical for a white suburbanite. It’s a quick read and pretty reference-heavy; I didn’t get all the references, but I appreciated when they talked about stuff from classic video games, like the car-smashing mini-game in Street Fighter II and the Vodka Drunkenski/Soda Popinski thing from Punch-Out.