Tansy is doing a series of blog posts this week in honour of Book Week about childhood reading and everything around it, so I thought I would add a few thoughts myself. And I am starting with Lord of the Rings.
When I was 12, I was in competition with a friend: who could read the most in that year. We decided it would be on both pages read and total number of books read, but books had to have over 100 pages. Now I got my total books up fast because I was reading a lot of Babysitters Club (I know, right?). However, they were short, and I was mighty competitive back then. So I looked at my parents’ book shelves and I picked the fattest book I could. And why yes, it was LoTR.
I had read fantasy before- that’s another post- but I had definitely never read anything like this. I don’t actually rememeber whether I had read Hobbit first or not… something says not. Anyway, I was blown away. I imagined myself joining the fellowship, and Legolas was my first serious book crush. I loved it so much I read it in 20 days, which was quite quick work for 12 year old me… and important in making sure that I didn’t fall behind in the reading competition, too. I loved it so much that when I started working as a checkout chick, my first major purchase was my own, one volume, not-falling-apart copy – and that was SO exciting. I loved it so much that for a while there, I read it every year; I think I’ve got up to about a dozen or so. This is one book that has had a genuinely long-lasting impact.
Weird fact: I listened to a cassette of the Beach Boys a lot of the time while I read LoTR the first time, such that I had flashbacks to the mines of Moria and the forests of Lothlorien in response to Little Deuce Coupe and California Girls for years after.
For those who care, I don’t think my friend and I ever decided who had won our competition. I think we might have got sick of it.