It's about time!

I know, I know -- for someone with a site such as this, it's ridiculous -- I never read all the volumes of The History of Middle-Earth, and in fact didn't own them.

That's finally about to be remedied! The best, new copies of the four volumes I am missing will be coming from England, so will take a little while, but eventually I'll be enjoying those and changing the reading ideas on this site to reflect those wonderful books.

Thanks so much to Christopher Tolkien for his great labors with his great father's manuscripts for these books!

One of the volumes that will be arriving:

An hobbitian vacation

As we all know from Tolkien, some British have hobbitian blood. Perhaps that's proved in this bit from "A Tour to North Wales, 1784," from John Byng's The Torrington Diaries:

...We found ourselves at a proper sort of inn -- the Unicorn, Bengworth; a very good, little inn -- and with infinite comfort tasted the [offerings of] a clean civil house....At this place, and at Shrewsbury, we indulg'd with fires, as repellers of damp and gloom; tho til yesterday we had never been incommoded by rain, and then for the first time [in our journey] wore our great coats....


Tom Bombadil...and ents

I had a lot of questions as I re-read Tom Bombadil passages for the first time in years....I felt a lot were answered in the well-thought-through https://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/tombomb.html -- by someone who obviously has read his Tolkien (and not just the most famous bits, let alone not just has seen some movies!). Many thanks to Dr. Hargrove!

Update: But how does one believe that (inasmuch as one believes in a fictitious universe) if one (of course!) believes Gandalf when he says that the ent Fangorn is the oldest thing walking Middle Earth? ("Treebeard is Fangorn, the guardian of the forest; he is the oldest of the Ents, the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth," from "The White Rider" chapter in The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien) Perhaps Tom Bombadil is not counted as a "thing," and ents are in that it took elves to wake them up??? (as explained by Fangorn in the same book). More to the point, see "Of the Ents and the Eagles" in The War of the Jewels, where we learn that the ents were sort-of originally things. (I don't want to spoil that bit for you if you haven't read it yet.)

An easier way to wend your way through the stories

I've gotten frustrated by my own notes on how to read Tolkien in the stories' chronological order...and at last came up with the idea of bookmarkers that have my own favorite stories. Feel free to make your own using your version of my notes. I made mine in landscape (sideways) page setup in Word, with 4 columns per page, divided by a line. These samples are decorated with pictures of the covers of the books I own. I printed mine on cardstock and plan to use each in turn according to where I am in my zillionth re-reading.











The Miniature "Hobbit House" at the Top of This Site

...is used by permission from its creator, Teresa Layman.

The Miniature Cottage Doll's House

This is Pippin Lodge. Teresa Layman built this comfy little dwelling in a class given by the amazing miniaturist Rik Pierce at the Philadelphia Miniaturia show in 2003. After the class was over, Teresa took the hobbit house home and added details to suit her own vision.

One part of that vision was a little hooked rug to lie in front of the fireplace. Well, that was the beginning… the need for a little hooked rug, paired with lots of encouragement from family and friends, has grown into the needlework business, Teresa Layman Designs.

Pippin Lodge is now part of the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection and will reside in the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville, Kentucky 41056.

My Favorite Stories: The Beginning and The Years of the Stars and Trees

The First Set of Stories
THE BEGINNING
(length unknown)
and then
THE YEARS OF THE STARS AND TREES
(lasting 3,000 of their years, possibly 30,000 of our years)

The first 10,000 years of those 30,000 or so were only The Years of the Stars; Valinor was built about 5,000 years into that; after the Years of the Stars 11,000 were The Years of the Trees; then 9,000 were The Years of Darkness towards the end of which the moon and then the sun were made. "It is said that the Valar came into the world 30,000 Sun-years ere the first rising of the Moon.…A Year of Valar is in length well nigh as are 10 of the years that now are." (Note that many of the years are as of The Grey Annals; but the Annals of Valinor give the years as about twice each date if I understand correctly.)

Chapter One: How Much Began
THE STORY: Silmarillion 3 chapters:
    1st 2 but unnumbered Chapters:
        Ainulindalë
        + Valaquenta;
    + its Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 1: Beginning of Days
-->
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
         Don't miss (in Ainulindalë) how Melkor worked in different parts of the universe – yet another place where many more stories could be told!
INTERESTING RETELLING(S): Note you will see some in the next chapter that also includes later material.

         Don't miss (in Ainulindalë in Morgoth's Ring The History of Middle Earth Vol. 10 Part One section 31 pp 41-42) about Morgoth and why the moon is uninhabited!


INTERESTING RETELLING(S): Note you will see some in the next chapter that also includes later material.
         I actually prefer the  Ainulindalë version C, found in Morgoth's Ring The History of Middle Earth Vol. 10 Part One, pp 8-22 plus any notes you'd like; and I liked skimming the rest of the chaper.
-->
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
√      Elven Hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel (III) and A Road Song       The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee   At Dawn In Rivendell       20 of 20
√      Sam's Invocation of Elven Hymn To Elbereth Gilthoniel  The Danish National Chamber Choir, Morten Ryelund   Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell      20 of 22


Chapter Two: How the Dwarves, Ents, and Eagles Began
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: Within the below Book of Lost Tales, Part I, in its chapter Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor, maps pp 83, 87 and some of their explanation
THE STORY: Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 2: Aule and Yavanna
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    See just the last few paragraphs of The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 3 Chapter IV: Of the Ents and the Eagles
    Don't miss these bits when you read the below Book of Lost Tales, Part I:
        I enjoyed its poems within the notes which I mostly otherwise skipped.
        in its chapter III Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor:
            explanation of the origins of peoples such as brownies, pixies, leprachauns! on pp 65-66
            descriptions of the houses of the gods, pp 74-80
            the mention of "monsters, giants, ogres" pp 75-76
            the scary origins of Balrogs at the very end of the chapter
INTERESTING RETELLING(S): The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, The Tales of Valinor (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 1), re this and above:
        I Cottage of Lost Play for background (next time I would read the latest-version Kortirion poem within its notes) (note that though I skip most of the notes in the Lost Tales volumes, I always check out their poems)
        + II The Music of the Ainur 
        + III The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor
    Note there will be more about dwarves in a later chapter.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT: An audiobook of the oral tales of The Lost Tales 2 volumes, if anyone's done it!!

Chapter Three: Early Years of the Elves, and the Beginning of the Silmaril Jewels
(by Ted Nasmith)
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: Within the below Book of Lost Tales, Part I, in its chapter Coming of Elves and Making of Kor re the distances on Earth, p. 128
THE STORY:  Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapters 3 through 11:
    3 Coming of Elves and Captivity of Melkor (elves awoke in First Age Year 1050, Melkor was captured in 1090)
    + 4 Thingol and Melian (who met in 1130)
    + 5 Eldamar and Princes of Eldalie (the summons was in 1132, but this chapter covers many years)
    + 6 Feanor and Unchaining of Melkor (includes year 1490)
    + 7 Silmarils and Unrest of the Noldor (silmaril stones were made in year x)
    + 8 Darkening of Valinor (includes year 1495)
    + 9 Flight of Noldor (includes year 1497)
    + 10 Sindar (includes c1200 through 1497)
    + 11 Sun and Moon and Hiding of Valinor (to end of the First Age)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS: Don't miss these bits when you read the below Book of Lost Tales, Part I:
    in its chapter IV The Chaining of Melko: the description of a goddess' home, pp 101-102
    in its chapter V Coming of Elves and Making of Kor:
        description of the elves' homes and lifestyles in Valinor including making gems, pp 132 and 136-138
    in its chapter VI Theft of Melko and Darkening of Valinor:
         the description of how the elves recorded their lore, pp 155, 157
        re important Valar and elvish holidays, pp 157-158

         And don't miss these from the below Morgoth's Ring:

                  in its "Of the Valar" chapter:

                           cool god/goddess notes/religion ideas pp 144-147
                  in its "Of Eldanor and the Princes of the Eldalië" chapter:
                           why we don't see mythological creatures, p 179t's b
                  all of its "Of the Laws and Customs Among the Eldar," pp 209-227, including
                           why we no longer see elves, p 212's 1st full b
                           cool words: lámatyávë (individual pleasure in the forms and sounds of words); inwisti (mind-mood) (pp 215, 216)

                           about the future, new Arda, pp 251b-252t


INTERESTING RETELLING(S):

    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring: Part Three: The Later Quenta Silmarillion (the notes only as wish)
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Part II unnumbered section 1: The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor (includes year 1497)
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, The Tales of Valinor (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 1):
        + IV The Chaining of Melko
        + V Coming of Elves and Making of Kor
        + VI Theft of Melko and Darkening of Valinor
    IF you want summaries, see:
        The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 2, part of Chapter II: The Later Annals of Valinor up to Valar Year 2995 (up to p129)
        The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 1: The Grey Annals up to Section 41 Of the Coming of the Noldor (part of the year 1497) (up to p16)

My Favorite Stories: The First Age

The Second Set of Stories
THE FIRST AGE OF THE SUN
(lasting 601 years)
Chapter Four: Early Men, Elves in Middle Earth, and The War of the Silmaril Jewels
Chapter Four: Early Men, Elves in Middle Earth, and The War of the Silmaril Jewels
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: Be aware of the maps in:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 2 The Later Quenta Silmarillion, under II. Beleriand and Its Realms (pp. 180-195).
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Appendix III The Second Silmarillion Map
THE STORY: Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapters 12 through 20 re years 1 through 473: 
    12 Men 
    + 13 Return of Noldor (First Age years 1-260)
    + 14 Beleriand 
    + 15 Noldor in Beleriand (52-70)
    + 16 Maeglin (304-330)
    + 17 Coming of Men into the West (310-425)
    + 18 Ruin of Beleriand and Fall of Fingolfin (455-462)
    + 19 Beren and Luthien (462-468)
    + 20 Fifth Battle Nirnaeth Arnoediad (473)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    About the dwarves: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 2 The Later Quenta Silmarillion, under Of the Naugrim and the Edain (pp. 203-215 in my edition, especially the earlier info)
    Genealogies of men: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 2 The Later Quenta Silmarillion, under The House of Beor then The House of Hador then The Haladin (pp. 230-238, especially the actual charts)
    Don't miss these bits when you read the below Book of Lost Tales, Part I:
        in its chapter VII Flight of Noldoli:
             what happened to the elvish records of their lore, p. 181
            an explanation of elvish health and nutrition, p. 183
        in its chapter IX Hiding of Valinor:
            rainbow story, from p.239
            the way to beyond Earth, p 243
            the strange visitors to do with time, pp 245-247
        in its chapter X Travail of Noldoli and Coming of Mankind  another wizard! pp 262ff and also there our oldest human relatives
    Plus for a nice summary plus interesting stuff about the Maiar: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: The Later Annals of Valinor from Valar Year 2995 (from p.129)
    IF you're interested in various languages, see: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth, Part Two, XI: The Shibboleth of Feanor (though it has info all the way into the 4th Age I think it is of interest right now).
INTERESTING RETELLING(S): NOTE there will be more about Beren & Luthien and also the silmarils in later chapters.
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, The Tales of Valinor (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 1),
        VII Flight of Noldoli
        + VIII Sun and Moon
        + IX Hiding of Valinor
        + X Travail of Noldoli and Coming of Mankind
    IF you want even more summary, see: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 1 The Grey Annals continue especially history of elves, from Section 41 Of the Coming of the Noldor part of the year 1497 of the Valar Years up to where begins history of especially men in year 370 of the 1st Age of the Sun (pp16-48) (skipping the notes at the end unless have a question).
HAPPY OR OTHERWISE INTERESTING FUTURE STUFF NOT COVERED ABOVE: Actually within the above Book of Lost Tales, Part I: in its chapter IX Hiding of Valinor: how the Valar could have been greater and how important humans might be, p 248.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    Songs from my chronological playlist, all I have from before the 2nd Age:
✓    Song of the Elves beyond the Sea - Galadriel's Song of Eldamar (II) Translation    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    5 of 22
✓    Gandalf's Riddle Of The Ents    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    12 of 20
✓    Song Of Nimrodel    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    15 of 20
✓    Song of Durin    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, The Danish National Chamber Choir, M. Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    10 of 22
✓    Song of Eärendil    Nick Keir, Peter Hall    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    9 of 22
✓    Treebeard's Song    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    16 of 20

Chapter Five: The Stories of Hurin and His Children in Late Years of the First Age of the Sun
THE STORY: The Children of Hurin all except its appendix 1
    + The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 3 Chapter I: The Wanderings of Hurin (re First Age year 501) (has much more than I know of elsewhere on this; a welcome look at more of Hurin's personality)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    On the history of Dragon Helm: Unfinished Tales pp 75-76
    On Saeros: Unfinished Tales p77
    On Turin's grey hair and also the lifestyles of some elves: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin) p81.
    On elvish lanterns: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin) p78.
    Re dragons: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin), pp142-143.
    On how the Valar sometimes "interfere," summarized on pp141-142 of The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin).
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Part I The Lay of the Children of Hurin UP TO Second Version of the Lay read a bit later (though the main story is covered elsewhere, this is a verse version with the usual extra details of poetry)
    ONLY if you're really interested in reading more (I would skip it next time except as noted above and below re some interesting facts): The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin).
HAPPY OR OTHERWISE INTERESTING FUTURE STUFF NOT COVERED ABOVE: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 2, Chapter VI: Quenta Silmarillion, just re the future wonderful life of Turin and much else at the end of the world, beginning p. 367.
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): II Turambar and Foaloke (of Turin), pp115-116, 137-138, re a happier future for Hurin and his family.
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Two, XII. The Problem of Ros just the more complete description of Turin's future in the long note 17
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 1 The Grey Annals: just the notes at the end re Children of Hurin, Battle of Unnumbered Tears, and Hurin and Huor to Gondolin; those notes begin at page 161 in my copy. They are especially interesting re an alternate ending to the Children of Hurin.
    The Children of Hurin appendix 1 , The Evolution of the Great Tales

Chapter Six: The Ruin of Doriath
Note that chapters 6 and 7 overlap.
THE STORY: Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 22  (re First Age years 502-505): Ruin of Doriath
    And for a non-canonical but only complete account of the Nauglafring: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): IV Nauglafring.
FASCINATING FACTS: In the above The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): IV Nauglafring re dwarvish religion or lack thereof, p247 (cf with same book's p 209 re only elves' knowing Iluvatar)
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES: just the part at the end of The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 3 Chapter 5: The Tale of Years re the Silmarillion chapter 22

Chapter Seven: More of the Tale of Beren and Luthien
THE STORY:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Parts III + IV: The Lay of Leithian through the end
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Part I The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Second Version of the Lay (though the main story is covered elsewhere, this is a verse version with the usual extra details of poetry) (In spite of its title, this has a lot about Beren and Luthien, and also about Aragorn; NOTE if you have not read Fellowship of the Ring you should probably wait and read this after that, and even if you have you might enjoy reading this then instead.)
    (keeping in mind this is a different version but still very useful, more than just interesting:) The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): I Tinuviel (of Beren and Luthien)
FASCINATING FACTS: In the above Hurin lay: I enjoyed the interesting bits about Beleg; is there a rumor he was like a wizard?? pp. 25-26, 127 in my ed.
    In the above The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): I Tinuviel (of Beren and Luthien): why certain elves are so musical, p42; how the Valar sometimes "interfere," summarized on p68.
HAPPY OR OTHERWISE INTERESTING FUTURE STUFF NOT COVERED ABOVE: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 2, Chapter VI: Quenta Silmarillion, just re ends of Beren and Luthien, beginning p. 334.
    Don't miss from above about their future in The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): I Tinuviel (of Beren and Luthien), pp40-41, 60; IV Nauglafring, p240.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    The tape of Christopher Tolkien reading this story from the Silmarillion (Tape Four)

Chapter Eight: The Story of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: When you are at stories about Celegorm and Curufin, see for a discussion of their motives and a map and a discussion of geography The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 3 Chapter III Maeglin pp 327-330.
THE STORY:  Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 23 (re First Age years 496-511): Tuor and Fall of Gondolin
    plus the only complete, though not quite canonical, account of this: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): III Fall of Goldolin
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS: Don't miss in the above The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): III Fall of Goldolin
    re Ulmo's music, p155
    an alternate origin of orcs, pp159-160, 219
    a good description of Gondolin, p160
    robots, p170
    Gondolin festivals, pp171-172
    Gondolin soldiers, pp172-174
    human cities mentioned by Tolkien, p196
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    Unfinished Tales First Age 1. Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin (re First Age years 473-496) (could also be read before the Hurin stories but I prefer it here)
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Part II unnumbered section 3: Lay of the Fall of Gondolin (I enjoyed the new bits of verse, though the story is often a different version)
    IF you wish a summary, especially if you are interested in battle stories, read: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 1 The Grey Annals finish (from paragraph 120; re years 370-499 of the 1st Age of the Sun) (from page 48 in my edition).


Chapter Nine: Stories of Earendil (Tuor's son and Elrond's father)
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: Check out the map in the back just before the index of The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings
THE STORY: Silmarillion's Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 24 (re First Age years 543-601): Voyage of Earendil and War of Wrath
    For much more, but in a jumbled fashion I'd like to try to compile for my own reading: The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): V Earendel.
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS: From the above The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): V Earendel, re world geography, p261.
    Re geography of the north, beginning p. 296 of The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 2, Chapter VI: Quenta Silmarillion.
    For some background and about another fascinating elf: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Two, XIII. Last Writings: Cirdan.
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: The Lays of Beleriand: Part II unnumbered section 2: Lay of Earendel (actually about medieval Europe, in the 4th Age, but I prefer reading it at this point)
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES: Re various things from the First Age of the Sun:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: 
        Part 3 Chapter 5 The Tale of Years just its introduction.
        Part 4 Quendi and Eldar (unless you're into languages, I'd just do section C C The Clan Names including how very few elves the world started with pp380-385; Appendix B Elvish Names for the Dwarves including an explanation of the Petty Dwarves p388; Appendix D Words for Language its last couple pages on writing systems and on the gathering of elven lore pp396-397; Note on the Language of the Valar re how it sounded p398 and comparing it with human language p402 and its end re telepathy and elven lore pp406-407; and its Appendix The Legend of the Awakening of the Quendi which is another story! pp420-424)
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings:
        Part 2, Chapter III: The Later Annals of Beleriand, just the discussion of the Drowning of Beleriand at the end re Annal 350.
        + Part 2, Chapter V: The Lhammas, just skimming the text and skipping the commentary except for its charts; concentrating on how not all languages produced written works, and which ones survived in what type of writings or as spoken tongues of which there's a chart p213
        + Part 2, Chapter VI: Quenta Silmarillion, just these parts:
            notes on who originally wrote the ancient texts – Pengalod the Wise etc, beginning p. 222 in my ed.; 
            various ancient names of the elves, beginning p. 236
        + Part 3, The Etymologies ONLY if you're into languages
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth:
        Part Two, XII. The Problem of Ros just note 13 re the Atani
        Part Three, part of the Teachings of Pengolod: Dangweth Pengolod (an explanation of why elvish languages changed; a real pleasure to read; note the picture of its illuminated manuscript in the frontispiece; I loved "The Eldar being skilled and eager in art will readily make things new, both for delight to look on, or to hear, or to feel, or for daily use: be in vessels or raiment or in speech.")

My Favorite Stories: The Second Age

The Third Set of Stories
THE SECOND AGE OF THE SUN
(lasting 3,441 years)

Chapter Ten: The General History of Numenor
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS:
    Map of Numenor, Unfinished Tales beginning of Second Age (p164).
    Numenor kings' geneology from Eldros, Unfinished Tales Aldarion and Erendis chapter (p210).
THE STORY:
    Return of the King: Appendix A, its introduction + I, i only, Numenor (re the First Age through end of the Second Age)
        Silmarillion's Akallabeth (the Chapter after its long Quenta Silmarillion) and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age (its last Chapter) only up to "Thus began the Third Age" (my p.365) (re year 3441)
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part 1 Chapter II: The Fall of Numenor (I prefer just a quick skim of a lot of it and skipping some of the notes)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    How many people moved to Numenor: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth, Part  One, V: The History of the Akallabeth pp144-145 re §5
    Remember we've lost a lot because of the way Numenor was destroyed.
    Note that the above Lost Road Fall of Numenor chapter has interesting details about the changed geography. Also note its comment p23 on there being no religion in the Silmarillion.
    Note, however, that we'll see a bit more in with notes that concern the Third Age.

Chapter Eleven: Some Stories of Numenor
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS:
    Do read the notes in Unfinished Tales, which even include further stories.
THE STORIES:
    Unfinished Tales in its Second Age section:
            Numenor (re whole Second Age)
            + Aldarion and Erendis (re Second Age years 451-1285 including the notes)
            + Line of Elros Kings of Numenor 
            + Galadriel and Celeborn up to Amroth and Nimrodel story (p240) (if you wish, you can finish this whole part of the "Second Age" here, but I found there was just too much I wanted to read about the Third Age after The Lord of the Rings; chapter includes stuff from First through Third Ages)
        Part One, V: The History of the Akallabeth, just On the Marriage of Miriel and Pharazon (pp159-163) (only if you're interested)
        + the last story in the book, Tal-Elmar (re Second Age possibly years 1800-2251)

OTHER FASCINATING FACTS: Don't miss in the above Unfinished Tales:
        Numenorian holidays, p166
        where some artefacts went to, pp.171-172
    Note that a book I have not read is supposed to have interesting stuff on the new geography: The History of Middle Earth Vol. 4: The Shaping of Middle-Earth.
INTERESTING RETELLING(S): The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, VI: The Tale of Years of the Second Age just pp172-177 plus note 17 (more a summary, but also further, short stories)

         If you'd like, Tolkien provides a summary through the 1st 2 ages in a long letter included in the beginning of my new Silmarillion edition.

My Favorite Stories: The Third Age

The Fourth Set of Stories
THE THIRD AGE OF THE SUN
(lasting 3,021 years, after "the world was changed" to a globe and "the Undying Lands were removed forever" from the reach of the living)

Chapter Twelve: Early History of the Ring
THE STORIES:
    Unfinished Tales in its Third Age section: I.  The Disaster of the Gladden Fields  (re Third Age year 2 and much later)

OTHER FASCINATING FACTS: Just note in the above the note at the end about why hobbits are short, and a fascinating mention of what their lives used to be like.

Chapter Thirteen: Early Stories of Gondor and Rohan
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: Appendix A, I, ii, The Realms in Exile (mostly a list of Numenorean rulers as the 3rd Age began, into 4th Age year 82)
THE STORY:
    The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King:
        Appendix A, I,
            iii, Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur
            + iv, Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion (you might want to read after the Hobbit the last couple pages or so which include Third Age years past 2984 when Denethor II became steward; I noted that below)
        Appendix A, II: The House of Eorl (though it actually goes from Third Age 2485 through Fourth Age 63) (you might want to wait and read its last part, Third Line, around the time you read The Two Towers; I noted that below)

Chapter Fourteen: Bilbo's Adventure
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS:
    Be aware of the maps at the end of Unfinished Tales.
    Just refresh your memory with The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, VI: The Tale of Years of the Second Age just p169 the discussion of when Gollum got the ring.
THE STORY: The Hobbit
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    Check out about another people we barely see in other writings in Unfinished Tales Part 4, I. The Druedain (from the 1st Age through Numenorean days and into the time of Return of the King; you might want to read it later but I prefer it here).
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Two: X. Of Dwarves and Men: Just check out re more about the Druedain pp 309-310 and hobbit history pp310-311.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    The tape of J.R.R. Tolkien reading from The Hobbit (Tape One Side One)
    Songs from my chronological playlist, all I have from after the 2nd Age to the end of The Hobbit:
√    The Prophecy    Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    1 of 18
√    Concerning Hobbits        Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy    3 of 10
√    The Bath Song    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    10 of 20
√    A Drinking Song    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    6 of 20
√    The Shire    KeyeS    Sounds From Middle Earth    2 of 9
√    A Walking Song (I)    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    3 of 20
√    A Walking Song (II)    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    19 of 20
√    The Old Troll    Glass Hammer    The Middle Earth Album    2 of 13

Chapter Fifteen: The Fellowship and the War of the Ring
FOR REFERENCE AS YOU READ THIS: Note that later chapters give even more about calendars, languages, etc.; if you're really puzzled you could check them out earlier.
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Part One's appendix: Drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow.
THE STORY:
    The Fellowship of the Ring (re Third Age April 3018 through February 3019)
    Tolkien Reader (or wherever else you find it): "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil"
    The Two Towers (re Third Age February through March 3019)
    The Return of the King except for its appendices (re Third Age March through August 3019)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    If you didn't already read it: The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King:     Appendix A, I, iv, Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion just the last couple pages or so which include Third Age years past 2984 when Denethor II became steward
    The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: Appendix A,             II: The House of Eorl (it goes through Fourth Age 63) its last part, Third Line IF you didn't already read it
        + III: Durin's Folk (though it actually goes from First Age through Fourth Age 120)
    Unfinished Tales:
        Second Age (though has much to do with Third Age): its appendices (re Second Age from year 700 through Third Age year 1149):
            Silvan Elves 
            + Sindarin Princes (this and Silvan Elves, above, includes re Legolas' people including his grandfather and father)
            + Boundaries of Lorien (includes an interesting ent "story")
            + Port of Lond Daer
            + Names of Celeborn and Galadriel
        Part 3: Third Age:
             IV. The Hunt for the Ring (very interesting about the Ringwraiths' abilities or lack thereof p343, the evil Sackville-Bagginses p347, and populating the Barrow-downs p348)
            + V. The Battles of the Fords of Isen
        + Part 4:
            + III. The Palantiri (I enjoyed a furniture description p409; the explanation of Thorongil in note 12; and the possibility Aragorn looked "into the lost West" note 16)
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Three, Teachings of Pengolod: Lembas
    Check out The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien which give extra details and answer questions; it has a good index if you prefer to use that.
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    Silmarillion: re the Third Age (from my p365): Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age (its last Chapter)
    If you're interested, just skim The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Two, XIII. Last Writings: Glorfindel.
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Part One, The End of the Third Age (NOTE TO SELF: IT'S BEEN SOME TIME SINCE I READ LORD OF THE RINGS SO IT'S POSSIBLE SOME OF WHAT I ENJOYED IS ACTUALLY IN THAT; I'LL CORRECT THIS IF NECESSARY ON THE NEXT READ-THROUGH)  (up to Fourth Age year 14) (a lot of this is just recommended to be skimmed but I've noted the especially interesting bits, and note that some chapters are indeed very interesting)
        I. Frodo and Sam in Mordor, just skimming quickly except re Aragorn and the Paths of the Dead pp15-16
        II. Tower of Kirith Ungol, just skipping the early versions and skimming the rest quickly except re the orcs' tower including the drawing p18-20
        III. Land of Shadow, just skipping the early versions and skimming the rest quickly except re Sam's song p27; Frodo's plans from Elrond pp32-33
        IV. Mt Doom, just the drawing p42
        V. Field of Kormallen, just skimming quickly except re pp48-50 re the Fellowship after the victory, plus the mention of Tom Bombadil and Frodo p53
        VI. Steward and King, just the stories in it
        VII. Many Partings, just skimming quickly except the first few pages of stories pp61-64 including p63 re ent wives in the east maybe [another idea for a Tolkien-esque new series!] and a description of Minas Tirith "government" buildings p67
        VIII. Homeward Bound, just skimming quickly except re Bombadil p77
        IX. Scouring of the Shire
        X. Grey Havens
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES: The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: Appendix D. Calendars
ART If you have it available to you, check out Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    The tape of J.R.R. Tolkien reading from The Lord of the Rings (Tape One Side Two; Tapes Two and Three)
    Songs from my chronological playlist, all I have from after the 2nd Age to the end of Lord of the Rings:
√    Concerning Hobbits        Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    2 of 18
√    A Surprise Party    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        1 of 13
√    tracks 3 through 6, from The Shadow of the Past to At the Sign of the Prancing Pony, from Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
√    Three's Company    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        2 of 13
√    The Prancing Pony    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        3 of 13
√    The Riddle Of Strider (I)    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    14 of 20
√    Journey in the Dark    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        5 of 13
√    A Knife In the Dark    Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    7 of 18
√    Athelas    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    18 of 20
√    Flight to the Ford    Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    8 of 18
√    Flight to the Ford    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        4 of 13
√    Many Meetings    Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    9 of 18
√    Boromir's Riddle    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    9 of 20
√    The Council of Elrond (Theme for Aragorn and Arwen) [feat. "Aniron"]    Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)    10 of 18
√    Verse Of The Rings    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    1 of 20
√    Warning Of Winter    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    4 of 20
√    The Riddle Of Strider (II)        Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    1 of 22
√    Verse Of The Rings (II)    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    2 of 22
√    tracks 11 through 14, from The Ring Goes South, to Lothlorien (feat. "Lament for Gandalf"), from Howard Shore    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
√    Lothlorien    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    6 of 13
√    Sam's Invocation of Elven Hymn To Elbereth Gilthoniel    The Danish National Chamber Choir, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    20 of 22
√    The Mirror of Galadriel    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    7 of 13
√    Galadriel's Mirror    David Arkenstone    Music Inspired By Middle Earth    6 of 13
√    Farewell to Lorien (Bonus Track)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]        20 of 20
√    tracks 15 through 18, The Great River to May It Be,    Howard Shore & Enya    Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
√    tracks 1 through 3, Foundations of Stone through The Riders of Rohan, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]  
√    Ho! Tom Bombadil    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    13 of 20
√    Ho! Tom Bombadil (II)    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, The Danish National Chamber Choir, M. Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    13 of 22
√    Tom Bombadil's Song (III)    Peter Hall, Morten Ryelund, Katja Nielsen, Oyvind Ougaard, Gert Soerensen    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    11 of 22
√    Tom Bombadil's Song (IV)    Peter Hall, Morten Ryelund, Katja Nielsen, Oyvind Ougaard    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    14 of 22
√    Wight's Chant    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    12 of 22
√    tracks 4 through 10, The Passage of the Marshesto Treebeard, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]
√    Treebeard    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    8 of 13
√    The Long List Of The Ents (I)    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    7 of 20
√    Bregalad's Song    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    3 of 22
√    The Leave Taking    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]        11 of 20
√    Farewell Song Of Merry And Pippin    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    17 of 20
√    Helm's Deep    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]    12 of 20
√    Oliphaunt    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    6 of 22
√    Faramir's Refuge    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings        10 of 13
√    tracks 13 through 19, The Forbidden Pool to Gollum's Song    , from Howard Shore, Emiliana Torrini    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]  
√    tracks 1 through 6, Roots and Beginnings to The Chalice Passed, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    1 of 53
√    The Ents' Marching Song    Christopher Lee, The Danish National Chamber Choir/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    7 of 22
√    The Green Dragon (feat. Billy Boyd & Dominic Monaghan)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    7 of 53
√    The Long List of the Ents (II)    Christopher Lee, Morten Ryelund, Peter Hall, Katja Nielsen    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    19 of 22
√    Gollum's Villainy    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    8 of 53
√    Gollum the Sneak    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    9 of 13
√    Éowyn's Dream    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    9 of 53
√    Song Of Gondor    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    2 of 20
√    Song Of Lebennin    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    11 of 20
√    tracks 10 through 17, from The Palantír to The Stairs of Cirith Ungol, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings
√    Cirith Ungol    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)    9 of 19
√    Allegiance to Denethor    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    18 of 53
√    The Sacrifice of Faramir (feat. Billy Boyd Performing "The Edge of Night")    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    19 of 53
√    The Steward of Gondor    Howard Shore & Billy Boyd    The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)    5 of 19
√    tracks 20 through 25, from The Parting of Sam and Frodo to Master Meriadoc, Swordthain, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings
√    Malbeth The Seer's Words    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    5 of 20
√    Galadriel's Messages    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    8 of 22
√    The Paths of the Dead    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    26 of 53
√    The Siege of Gondor    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    27 of 53
√    Shelob's Lair    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    28 of 53
√    Shelob's Lair    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    11 of 13
√    tracks 29 through 37, from Merry's Simple Courage to "A Far Green Country," from Howard Shore        The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    29 of 53
√    The Palantir    David Arkenstone    Music Inspired By Middle Earth    8 of 13
√    Éomer's Song    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    8 of 20
√    Call to Arms of the Rohirrim    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    21 of 22
√    Shieldmaiden of Rohan    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    38 of 53
√    The Passing of Théoden    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    39 of 53
√    Théoden’s Battle Cry    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    15 of 22
√    At Théoden’s Death    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    16 of 22
√    Burial Song of Théoden    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, The Danish National Chamber Choir, M. Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    18 of 22
√    Snowmane's Epitaph    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    17 of 22
√    tracks 40 through 47, from The Houses of Healing (feat. Liv Tyler) to The Crack of Doom, from Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings
√    Mount Doom    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    12 of 13
√    The Eagles (feat. Renée Fleming)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    48 of 53
√    The Fellowship Reunited (feat. Sir James Galway, Viggo Mortensen & Renée Fleming)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    49 of 53
√    The Eagle's Song    Christopher Lee, The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Danish National Chamber Choir    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    22 of 22

Chapter Sixteen: More About Wizards
THE STORY:
    Unfinished Tales, Part 4: II: The Istari
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part Two, XIII. Last Writings: The Five Wizards
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES: I especially liked how Tolkien mentions in Unfinished Tales, p401 note 3, he's only really done the history of northwestern Middle Earth – how fun it would be if a Tolkien-level writer wrote about other directions!

Chapter Seventeen: What Happened During and After The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
THE STORY:
    The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: Appendix B, The Tale of Years (especially re Lorien and other places during the War of the Ring, and about Middle Earth after it, pp375-378).
    "Bilbo's Last Song" wherever you find it (available as a small book illus. by Pauline Baynes, or in The Road Goes Ever On sheet music book; also it's actually sung on YouTube!) (re Third Age August-September 3021)
    Unfinished Tales: Third Age: III. The Quest of Erebor (it could also be argued to read this sooner after The Hobbit, but it has interesting stuff from after the Lord of the Rings, including that Gandalf plans to talk with the people in Valar "that is forgotten" about it all).
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, IX: The Making of Appendix A:
        III. House of Eorl, just quickly skimmed
        IV. Durin's Folk, just skimming quickly up to where a dwarf Ring story begins p280 to the end
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Part One, The End of the Third Age: XI. Epilogue
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, VII. The Heirs of Elendil, mostly just re Aragorn's son p202; Faramir's home p220; Angelimar pp220-222
    Just note the interesting description of Bilbo's dishes and cutlery in the above Unfinished Tales: Third Age: III. The Quest of Erebor.
FASCINATING FACTS ESPECIALLY RE LANGUAGES:
to be chosen among per your interests
    The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King:
        Appendix E Pronunciation + Writing
        + F Languages + Translation
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth
    Part One, II, The Appendix on Languages (next time I myself  would skip most of this, only skimming the parts on Gollum's ancestry [a note on the bottom of my page 38, for part 23 of The Languages at the End of the Third Age] and on various hobbit names [pp 46-52, parts 43-51 in the same Languages at the End of the Third Age])
    (Also if you're really into this, you could look back at the elven language information from the 1st age in this reading plan; you may also like to refer to The Fellowship of the Ring's prologue: Note on the Shire Records)
FASCINATING FACTS ESPECIALLY RE GENEALOGICAL RECORDS:
to be chosen among per your interests
    Silmarillion: in the Third Age section:
        the genealogical charts (up through September 3021)
    The Lord of the Rings,  Return of the King: Appendix C Family Trees, Hobbits
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, VIII: The Tale of Years of the Third Age, mostly just re Aragorn's reign, pp243-245; note at the end of that re his son's reign and his descendants and the prophesied length of time.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    Songs from my chronological playlist, all I have from the very end of and after Lord of the Rings:
√    Straightway to the West    James Prior & Kevin Pearce    The One Ring: Music Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings    13 of 13
√    The Journey to the Grey Havens (feat. Sir James Galway)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    50 of 53
√    Into the West (Vocals Version) [Featuring Helen Hobson]    Howard Shore & Helen Hobson    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy    9 of 9
√    Elven Hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel (III) and A Road Song    The Tolkien Ensemble & Christopher Lee    At Dawn In Rivendell    20 of 20
√    Elanor (feat. Sir James Galway)    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    51 of 53
√    Days of the Ring (feat. Annie Lennox Performing "Into the West")    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    52 of 53
√    Bilbo's Song    Howard Shore    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Complete Recordings    53 of 53
√    In Dreams (From The Lord of the Rings)        Joshua Messick    Stillness    7 of 11
√    Legolas' Song of the Sea    The Danish Radio Sinfonietta/Dr, Morten Ryelund    Selected Songs and Poems from The Lord of the Rings: Leaving Rivendell    4 of 22

Chapter Eighteen: More About Aragorn
THE STORY:
    The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Appendix A, I, v, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (though it actually goes from Third Age year 2929 through Fourth Age year 121)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    Note that Peoples of Middle Earth says that Arwen was like the beautiful Luthien returned to Middle Earth.
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth: Part One, IX: The Making of Appendix A:
        I. Realms in Exile, just skimming quickly except note 2 re Meriadoc after the Lord of the Rings, and note 6 re Elrond's great love for Aragorn
        II. Aragorn and Arwen
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
    The "fan fiction" film "Born of Hope" about Aragorn's parents (doesn't stick to Tolkien's characterization etc); and its soundtrack.

My Favorite Stories: The Fourth Age

The Fifth Set of Stories
THE FOURTH AGE OF THE SUN
(length unknown but possibly 3,100 years or more; ended in our year 1914)
There was a prophecy that Aragorn's son would "rule a great realm and that it should endure for a hundred generations of men after him [in modern times a generation is counted as 30 years, so that would make this Aragorn's son's reign length plus 3,000 years], until a new age brought in again new things [I presume the modern age]; and from him should come the kings of many realms in days long after" though unfortunately the records have been lost – Peoples of Middle Earth;


Chapter Nineteen: Difficult Years in the Time of Aragorn's Grandson
THE STORIES:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle Earth, XVI. The New Shadow (about Fourth Age year 220, per discussion in note 7).


Chapter Twenty: Some Elves Tell Stories to Humans in Very Early Europe
THE STORIES:
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part II, Other Tales of Elfinesse (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 2): VI. Eriol or Aelfwine (this is mostly a collection of differing versions and synopses; I especially found interesting the problem of evil! p282; the future, pp287-289; the synopsis pp308-310; one version pp312-322) from sometime between about 410-1066 CE/AD, probably the 900s
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels: Part 3 Chapter II: Aelfwine and Dirhaval (Remember that the mariner of the Lost Tales is Aelfwine by a different name) from sometime between about 410-1066 CE/AD, probably the 900s (note that there were still elves about!)
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 1 Chapter I: The Early History of the Legend (includes c918 CE).

My Favorite Stories: The Modern Age

The Sixth Set of Stories
THE MODERN AGE
(length is in our future; began in our year 1914)

Chapter Twenty-One: Discovering Middle-earth and How It Relates to Our World
THE STORIES:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings: Part 1 Chapter III: The Lost Road (I think a beautiful way to end this journey, about how the long-ago stories were discovered; actually starts about 1903 CE. It's fascinating how so much mythology could be woven together.)
OTHER FASCINATING FACTS:
    The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Part Three: see about how the entire group of Middle-earth stories tie into our geography and ordinary history and into other mythology: pp397-399, 409, 410's note 2.
INTERESTING RETELLING(S):
    ONLY IF you're really interested in Numenor and probably also like Inkling-type groups, see The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Parts Two and Three except as noted above. Or just see the appropriate parts of them IF you're into languages. I myself did not enjoy these, the only bits of this whole plan I did not.
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT NOTES:
    Why these accounts are so confused! in The History of Middle Earth Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated: Part Three p406.
OTHER MEDIA YOU MIGHT WANT TO ENJOY AT THIS POINT:
√    In Dreams (From The Lord of the Rings)        Joshua Messick    Stillness    7 of 11

The Beginning and The Years of the Stars and Trees

THE BEGINNING (length unknown) and then THE YEARS OF THE STARS AND TREES, lasting 3,000 of their years, possibly 30,000 of our years (The first 10,000 years of those 30,000 or so were only The Years of the Stars; Valinor was built about 5,000 years into that; after the Years of the Stars 11,000 were The Years of the Trees; then 9,000 were The Years of Darkness towards the end of which the moon and then the sun were made, per Lost Road if I understand it correctly.) ("It is said that the Valar came into the world 30,000 Sun-years ere the first rising of the Moon.…A Year of Valar is in length well nigh as are 10 of the years that now are." – Lost Road and War of the Jewels)

"How Much Began, including Earth and the Elves"
SILMARILLION: 
    its Foreword 
    + 1st 2 but unnumbered Chapters: 
        Ainulindalë 
        + Valaquenta
    + its Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 1: Beginning of Days
The History of Middle Earth Vol. 10: MORGOTH'S RING:
         Part Three 


 The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: THE LOST ROAD AND OTHER WRITINGS: 
    Part 2, Chapter IV: Ainulindalë (though it has the title of the Silmarillion's 1st chapter it also has stuff from the 2nd and its Quenta part's 1st chapter) (I found this only mildly interesting, with very few new bits; I would SKIP this next time)


"How the Dwarves, Ents, and Eagles Began"
SILMARILLION: 
    its Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 2: Aule and Yavanna

The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: THE WAR OF THE JEWELS: 
    Part 3 Chapter IV: Of the Ents and the Eagles (I found only its very last few paragraphs interesting and would SKIP the rest) 
    (its Foreword is actually read better a bit later, as listed)

(Note there are a few mentions of other people's origins in THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, PART I (AKA The History of Middle Earth Vol. 1) chapter 3 The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor, but I think it's best read later, as listed, so you get its different context your first time. But maybe next time I read it I would do it here.)


"Early Years of the Elves, and the Beginning of the Silmaril Jewels"
SILMARILLION: 
    its Quenta Silmarillion Chapters 3 through 11: (note that the years are as of The Grey Annals; but the Annals of Valinor give the years as about twice each date if I understand correctly)
        Coming of Elves and Captivity of Melkor (elves awoke in First Age Year 1050, Melkor was captured in 1090)
        + Thingol and Melian (who met in 1130)
        + Eldamar and Princes of Eldalie (the summons was in 1132, but this chapter covers many years)
        + Feanor and Unchaining of Melkor (includes year 1490)
        + Silmarils and Unrest of the Noldor (silmaril stones were made in year x)
        + Darkening of Valinor (includes year 1495)
        + Flight of Noldor (includes year 1497)
        + Sindar (includes c1200 through 1497)
        + Sun and Moon and Hiding of Valinor (to end of the First Age)


"Summaries of All of the Above Stories"
The History of Middle Earth Vol. 5: THE LOST ROAD AND OTHER WRITINGS: 
    Preface 
    + Part 2, Chapters I + part of II: 
        The Texts and Their Relations (Next time I would SKIP Chapter I.)
        + The Later Annals of Valinor up to Valar Year 2995 (page 129 in my edition)

The History of Middle Earth Vol. 11: THE WAR OF THE JEWELS: 
    Foreword
    Part 1: The Grey Annals up to Section 41 Of the Coming of the Noldor (part of the year 1497) (page 16 in my edition)

The History of Middle Earth Vol. 3: THE LAYS OF BELERIAND: 
    Part II unnumbered section 1: The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor (includes year 1497)