Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tolkien and I have a brief history- not like the lifelong love affair I've had with CS Lewis. JRR and I just never had that spark, that chemistry. I started reading The Hobbit when I was 11 or 12, on a backpacking trip with my dad, and didn't make it past the first chapter. Around when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, Amy and my dad read all 3 LOTR books and wouldn't shut up about them*, which led me to attempt them (I failed again). Two years ago (ish) I read the first three chapters of The Silmarillion and nearly died of boredom.

I don't know what made me pick up the Hobbit again- perhaps a whim, perhaps a gnawing sense of failure as a lover of literature; having not read any of Tolkien's work, how dare I refer to myself as an avid reader? How can I claim companionship with Lewis when Tolkien, the father of the fantasy genre, sits unread on my bookshelf, stuffed between Orwell and Huxley? Maybe that's a little unfair- George MacDonald did theological fantasy first (Tolkien just did it better). In any case, I haven't been able to put it down- I think I've just grown up enough since my last assault on this novel, and though my mind is full of Hollywood imagery, I'm planning on reading all 3 LOTR next. Screw all the other books on my list, they can wait.

*It's really annoying to watch movies based on books you haven't read with more than one person who has read the book. Especially when these people are the picky sort with good memories who find it necesssary to point out all the discrepancies in chronology or wardrobe or dialogue or whatever. And you're dumb enough to complain about it so they start referring to scenes and situations from the NEXT book in a vague and mysterious fashion. And they fail to tell you about the monstrous execrable evil spider in the second book even though they know you're an arachnaphobe.