“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. "

As anyone who knows me and has spoken to me recently will no doubt know this past year starting in the the summer holidays I decided to finally take on reading Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'. This book is often listed as one of the top books that people often claim to have read but have in fact not, quite frankly I'm not surprised as one look at how big the book is and how its often split into three is probably enough to put a lot off, its a long term investment.


I don't know when it happened but during my adult life I stopped reading books, I think it was when I started to drive a car as suddenly the time I would dedicate to reading science fiction and fantasy literature whilst on a bus to college vanished. I can still remember some of my favourite books I read in those days 'The Forever War' by Joe Haldeman, some of the early Horus Heresy books from Black Library, and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King to name a few. I wasn't an avid reader of literature but I read a lot of science fiction and more than this I read a lot of comics and graphic novels and still do.


I've always told myself that one day I would get round to it, I would get through Tolkien's masterpiece. I had tried before to complete it but tackling The Fellowship was a struggle that I had quickly given up on. I remember watching interviews with the cast of Peter Jackson's movies and Sean Austin struggled to read the books in advance of his role as Samwise, what got him into reading The Lord of the Rings was to begin with reading the Hobbit as this is a lighter story aimed at children, it seems obvious now but at the time I think I had decided like Peter Jackson's' movies I simply didn't need to begin with a Hobbit's quest to claim a dragon's hoard and besides I remembered reading most of it during my school days.


Needless to say I decided this needed to happen over the summer I would read these books that I really wanted to be able to tell myself I had read. So I began with The Hobbit and steadily I worked my way through, I'm not the fastest reader but I managed to finish Return of the King a few weeks ago. I knew before reading that there were so many things left out from the films like Tom Bombadil, the chapters about the Barrow-downs in Fellowship of the Ring and at the end of the story, The scouring of the shire.


The review from the Sunday Times from the back of my issue of The Fellowship of the Ring states, "The English Speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them' and I've really found myself in this. There's so much beauty in Tolkien's writing that I feel I have discovered for the first time and its given me a deeper appreciation and understanding of what made it into Peter Jacksons movies as well as a new found fascination into the origins of Tolkien's writing, I feel like I am just beginning a new journey into enjoying traditional literature again so I am glad I took on this challenge.


I've begun reading 'Storyland' by Amy Jeffs, I got this book sometime in the past year but never got round to reading it when I initially got it, now she has another book out called 'Wild' which I picked up as well. It's been an easy read so far with many of the old folk tales being little more than a few pages long. I'm enjoying learning about the folklore that Britain was built upon and I feel like a lot of it is what inspired Tolkien, I am fascinated by the forgotten history that this book touches upon and I look forward to reading and learning more about the origins of our country's storytelling.