Although I'm not completely sold on Coursera, and many of my colleagues in the education field are not fans, I decided this course would be interesting. It's entitled Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative. (Notice the Oxford comma, which was not my own addition but the way that the course creators punctuated it! Joy!) Here's the course mini-description:
"Focused on Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings Online, this course explores what happens to stories and films when they are turned into online games."
This is the first time that I've actually completed the first book. I feel like I lose my nerd cred just by saying that. I haven't even been able to make it through the movies. I've tried the first one three separate times and fallen asleep every time. Which is saying something, because I'm an insomniac. Not for lack of trying. (I believe that later in this course there's the obligation to watch the first film, so I'll try to make it all the way through this time.)
I've also tried to read this first book several times, and all of those times have gotten about 100 pages in and then gotten distracted by something else. I'm not quite sure why I've never been able to get into it, because I LOVE The Hobbit. I've read The Hobbit at least three or four times, have acted in a play version once, and been involved as an assistant choreographer with that same play as well. For some reason, the Lord of the Rings books never seemed to catch me.
But, I determined that I would do so for this course, and try my best to make it all the way through the course as well. (I've tried a couple of other MOOC's and have always faltered around week 2 or 3...)
I can now finally say, I MADE IT!
I can understand now why it's been so difficult for me to get through this first book: it's A LOT of exposition. As far as I understand, the next two books (and movies) have a great deal of action in them. Not so much with this first one. Which makes sense. If you're going on an epic, dangerous journey, there's bound to be some explanation of why you're going, who is going, the initial stages of journeying, etc.
However, now that I've made it through this first one, I might just try to read the other two as well. And perhaps go back and read The Hobbit. And The Silmarillion.