lotr readalongIt’s January, 2010… which means The Lord of the Rings Readalong has begun!

In January, the readalong is being hosted over a A Striped Armchair.  Eva has posted some great opening questions to get the discussion going.  I have tried to answer them all to the best of my ability!

I can’t remember a time when I hadn’t heard of The Hobbit. My mother is a big fantasy/science fiction fan and I remember her pushing me to read the books. It was never too overt, but I had them on my one-day-when-I-am-nine TBR list. Then I was stuck in a rather hideous class unfortunately called “library” and was asked to either sit in silence or read. I fortunately spotted the school’s copy of The Hobbit lying unread in a dusty cover – so I opted for the latter. I must have been nine or ten – I honestly don’t remember.

What I do remember was devouring the entire book in 3 days. It consumed my every thought. After reading it, I felt compelled to do something to further my experience… so I wrote my first real book review. It was a whopper – maybe 5 pages long, complete with illustrations of Middle Earth. Needless to say, my “library” “teacher” was stunned to see me hand it in, especially as it was completely unprompted!

Immediately after I started to read The Lord of the Rings… but that is – unfortunately – a rather short story for another month!

Illustration by Alan Lee.

Illustration by Alan Lee.

As for the fantasy of Tolkien’s world – I’m afraid to say I fell out of love with the genre in my teens. I had been an avid sci-fi/fantasy fan before I hit 12… but I got distracted by fandom. When I went off to uni, I tended to read rather literary fiction… and stayed rather far from the fantasy shelves. Over the past two years I have been re-kindling my love for all the genres, but have not yet made it back to Tolkien!

My plan for reading The Hobbit and, subsequently, The Lord of the Rings is to buy new copies. We have my grandfather’s hardbacks from the 50s sitting on the shelf – and while they are well-loved from years of browsing – I want a copy I can lose without crying! (BTW – remind me to share pictures of them as they are beautiful books!)

So I have ordered illustrated (paperback) editions of the four books.  I considered buying them in hardback because of my love for Alan Lee’s illustrations (isn’t his watercolour of Smaug amazing?)… but then thought about lugging them around town with me! So, instead I plan on getting a book of his art to satisfy my longing for Middle Earth.  As soon as my copy of The Hobbit arrives, I plan on setting aside an entire Saturday to devote to it.

If you haven’t signed up for the readalong, there is still time!  Add you name to the LotR Mr. Linky to begin – or revisit – your own journey through Middle Earth.

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