Our first guest post in The Book That Changed Everything series is by Tom G. H. Adams. Download his collection of short stories, Defiled Earth, for free when you sign up to his newsletter. I’m sure he’d love you if you spread the word about it too.
If ever there was a confirmation that reading to children pays dividends in inspiring a relationship with books, then my introduction to Tolkien is it. My Dad began reading The Hobbit to me at the age of seven. He never finished it, but he didn’t need to – I lapped up the remaining chapters myself over the next few days. Immediately afterwards my Mum took out The Fellowship Of The Ring from the local library for me, but it was a step too far. I got bogged down in the first chapter so I laid it aside.
At the age of thirteen, however, The Silmarillion was published and I read it within a couple of weeks. I particularly loved the story of Beren and Luthien. I knew I would have to try The Lord of the Rings again. The intrigue associated with Tolkien’s work was heightened when my elder brother informed me that there were more potent creatures than goblins (he was referring to ring wraiths and their ability to smell you from far away.) It also did Tolkien’s reputation no harm that Led Zeppelin and Rush made numerous references to his characters in their early albums. This time I powered through the first chapter (which, in itself taught me a lesson that some books reward perseverance). I think I was lost in Middle Earth for about three months and, to be honest, never fully emerged – such was Tolkien’s effect on me. I went on to read Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant saga and David Eddings books, together with numerous other fantasy offerings. But no one has ever trumped the master of fantasy.
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