#TBT – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
There are so many books to choose from for my #TBT but I’ve settled on The Lord of the Rings to be my first feature. I could read well from an early age and at home could nearly always be found reading. Early on at school I was seen as a reluctant reader who struggled. It was something that baffled my parents; they knew I was a very capable reader because they’d seen and heard me read. We even had a little ritual most nights where we would read a couple of chapters of a book a night, I would read one chapter and then Dad would read the other. Books like the Famous Five/Secret Seven series and Swallows and Amazons.
Eventually Mum spoke to my teacher and explained my problem to them… I wasn’t struggling, I was bored. Not only is there a limit to how many stories about Chip and Biff any sane child can handle, I was often stuck repeating the same book for a week or more. In my desire to get onto something more interesting I was sloppy with my reading aloud. I just didn’t care about those dull and repetitive stories and as I kept getting held back onto the same book I had started to reach the point where I stopped even trying.
After the discussion, I was classed as an advanced reader and was allowed to chose any book I wanted from the school library. While the choices were still limited due to the small library size my reading experience was so much better once the books were actually challenging. It would have been so easy for me to lose that love of reading if it hadn’t been for my parents fighting my corner and always encouraging me at home, it’s part of the reason I’m so passionate about encouraging kids to read now. But it wasn’t until I started secondary school that I fully embraced my love of reading.
The library in my secondary school was massive, or at least that’s how it felt to a new year seven who had only ever witnessed a tiny primary school ‘library’ that was really little more than a book closet. As well as the many reference books, there was a huge fiction section and it was during my first year there that I stumbled upon The Lord of the Rings. I had been introduced to Tolkien a year or so earlier when I was given a graphic novel copy of The Hobbit, I had loved it so much that we’d also borrowed the audio book of the full story from the local library. And so I picked up that copy of The Lord of the Rings and checked it out, both excited and slightly intimidated by the prospect of reading such a long and challenging book.
I was hooked. It took me a week to finish the entire thing, and only then because school got in the way of valuable reading time! I’m not going to properly review the book this time, my #TBT isn’t so much about the book itself but more about the fact the it was the first really challenging adult book I had read and the journey that had brought me to this point. I’m also not going to give it a rating, I’ve not reread it recently so the chances of me being objective and not remembering it through rose tinted glasses is slim to none! What I will say is that The Lord of the Rings is full of really colourful characters and adventure and while the language/writing isn’t to everyone’s taste, if you can manage it, it is a highly entertaining and engaging read that will leave you wishing you lived in or could travel to Middle Earth.