David wrote: Nice idea - I might try find a French copy and do the same.
Personally, I try to avoid translations whenever possible since you are seeing the original work reïnterpreted by the translator, whose interpretation may be quite different from what you'd come up with on your own. It loses "sharpness", like when you make a copy of a copy [reference to Multiplicity (1996)]. Like all rules (including this one), there are exceptions. For example, "To be or not to be" is wonderful in German: "Sein... oder nicht sein: das ist die Frage!"
If you want to read something in French, go for something obscure. I recently completed Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse [The Saragossa Manuscript, circa 1814] in unabridged form (Livre de Poche, 1993). IMO it should be savored in real time, which takes about two months. The 1964 movie is terrific, but represents only a small part of Potocki's masterpiece of nested and interlocking stories.
Another obscure work particularly suited to engineers is René Barjavel's Ravage [Devastation, 1943] Marvelous view of a technological future devastated when all man-made power fails.
@aeroengineer - "I am reading it in Spanish so that I can keep up my foreign language skills." Nice idea - I might try find a French copy and do the same. I love some of the language in LOTR - was going to give a quote but there's just too much good stuff.
I often wonder how I'd manage in the LOTR world - where my technical skills would be useless. Wouldn't mind being a wizard, as long as I did not get tempted like Saruman....
Well, I've actually read it in Spanish, but that was a long time ago. One neat thing about the TLOTR is that since almost everything has a "back story" (much of which is in the Silmarillion), the story has added depth and texture, unlike some fantasy worlds which feel paper thin and inconsistent.
I am reading it in Spanish so that I can keep up my foreign language skills. I really do love, though, how it is set up as being a translation of historical documents. For me, it really adds to the story.
Of course, if you were a real fan, you'd read it in Elvish (remember Tolkein was a philologist, and originally wanted to write TLOTR in Elvish - I'm glad he didn't, but it's still presented as a translation. Also, as far as style goes, remember Tolkein's specialty was old or middle English, so TLOTR is really a heroic poem (think Beowulf or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) written in modern prose.)