This month we don’t have a book to review, and though I never turn away an opportunity to read a new book, I must say I am a little relieved. August has been so busy that if we did have a book to read, I don’t think I would have finished it in time! So instead, for August we get to write about our favorite Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy instead! Yay!
I went back and forth on what to post for this. Part of me wants to have some hidden gem to reveal and wow the masses with. But I don’t. And even though I expect to see this book in a lot of the blogs over the next few days, I’m going to write about my favorite anyway because, well, it’s my favorite!
Maybe it’s the epic heroism of the characters, or the completeness of the world and it’s history, or maybe it’s just because it’s a great story of good triumphing over evil, but ever since I read The Lord of the Rings I have never found another book I’ve loved so much.
It all started back when I was in elementary school. My family used to do an annual camping trip with some friends of ours, and sitting around the campfire one night my friend’s dad started telling us a story. An epic adventure involving a small person (what the heck is a hobbit anyway?), a bunch of dwarves (I knew what those were), a wizard (of the big nose, pointy hat variety), various dastardly villains (trolls, goblins and spiders, oh my!), riddles in the dark (gollum) and ultimately a dragon. It was a much abbreviated version of The Hobbit, but when my 6th grade teacher read it aloud to the class several years later I immediately recognized it. I honestly don’t remember if she finished by the end of the school year, and since I don’t do very well with auditory comprehension anyway, I decided I needed to read it myself. If you are thinking right now, “I thought she said The Lord of the Rings was her favorite, but she’s talking about The Hobbit!” - patience, my friends, I’m getting to that.
Needless to say, I loved The Hobbit even more when I got to read it myself, and when several years later I found out that there were more books by this Tolkien person, I immediately went to the library for them. I checked out The Fellowship of the Ring and brought it with me on vacation to visit my grandparents. I devoured it in a feat of reading that some would think impressive, and others just silly (my mom falls in to the latter category, probably as a result of me always bringing books to the dinner table). As I approached the end of the book it dawned on me that there was no way the story could be wrapped up before I finished the scant pages left. And me with a whole week of vacation before I could get to the library again! There was no way to stretch it out at that point, so I had to wait until I got home to get the following two volumes.
My love of fantasy must have originally sprung from these books, and I keep coming back to them again and again. Middle Earth seems like a real place to me, Tolkien did such an incredible amount of work developing it. I love the maps, the languages, the rich history that coats every page. And I love the characters - the villains are conflicted, the heroes are admirable, and I may or may not have had a huge crush on Aragorn at some point in my life. Every time I read The Lord of the Rings, I find myself enjoying not only the over-arching story, but also all the little details that add to it as well. Like Sam’s poem about Tom and the troll, and Frodo singing an expanded version of Hey, Diddle, Diddle. My favorite quote of all time was said by Gandalf: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
But it’s influenced more than just my fiction genre of choice. Homemade Halloween costumes have sprung from it, and no you can’t see the pictures of my husband’s awful elf wig. Though the costumes themselves turned out awesome, if I may say so myself. My recreation time is often spent playing Lord of the Rings Online, where I can live out my fantasy of being a hobbit and eating as much as I want. Oh, and saving the innocent from orcs and goblins and all that. And since it is an MMO, my husband and I can explore the beauties of Middle Earth together.
While there are many books that I have enjoyed and loved over the years, The Lord of the Rings will always remain special and separate to me. I’ve now had my turn at telling hobbit tales around the campfire, and seen a love of Tolkien and other fantasy fiction bloom in some of my younger siblings. And I can’t wait to share with my daughters as well. As a parent I sometimes wonder if my kids will be interested in the same things that I am, but in Veronica’s case at least I am confident Tolkien will be in her future. At two years old, she already likes dragons. And from dragons it’s only a small step to hobbits and beyond.
So I totally forgot to post the links! Oops! Check out more favorite books:Brandon Barr - Thomas Clayton Booher - Keanan Brand - Grace Bridges - Beckie Burnham - Morgan L. Busse - Jeff Chapman - CSFF Blog Tour - Stacey Dale - D. G. D. Davidson - Jeff Draper - George Duncan - April Erwin - Andrea Graham - Tori Greene - Ryan Heart - Timothy Hicks - Becky Jesse - Jason Joyner - Julie - Carol Keen - Krystine Kercher - Mike Lynch - Rebecca LuElla Miller - New Authors Fellowship - John W. Otte - Donita K. Paul - Sarah Sawyer - Chawna Schroeder - James Somers - Speculative Faith - Rachel Starr Thomson - Steve Trower - Jason Waguespac - Fred Warren - Dona Watson - Phyllis Wheeler - KM Wilsher