Photo credit: bernswaelz
Turns out yesterday was Tolkien Reading Day. The Tolkien Society organized the first Tolkien Reading Day back in 2003. If you’re a really big fan, you’ll know that March 25 was the day that the Black Tower was destroyed and Sauron, the Dark Lord was defeated.
Tolkien was a fascinating man. Born in the late 19th century, he served in WWI, studied with honors at Oxford and then returned there as a professor. He wrote many books and articles during his years of teaching, publishing The Hobbit when he was 45 and finishing the Lord of the Rings when he was close to his retirement.
I read The Hobbit the summer of 1973 while I was living in Northfield and working at The Ole Piper Inn. All my Carlton friends were scattered for the summer months and my boyfriend was doing an internship in the Twin Cities; except for the weekends, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had never read any fantasy prior to this, in fact didn’t really understand that there WAS fantasy. It was still a subset of science fiction, and I hadn’t read much of that either. After all these years, I don’t remember exactly why I decided to read The Hobbit, but within pages I was hooked. I was not scheduled at the restaurant that night, and I just kept reading and reading. I finished it the next morning, having not slept a wink.
The Hobbit turned out to be the door into the fantasy genre for me. I immediately followed up with the entire Lord of the Rings triology, Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks and on and on. Then I found Ursula LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey who gave me the beginnings of my dragon fixation. To this day, while I probably read more straight-up fiction, the fantasy genre is still my favorite. And if I need “comfort” reading, that’s right where I go.
Tell me about a book that opened a door for you.