January 05, 2003

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Last summer when we were driving to the cabin we vacation in, a car passed us with a bumper sticker that said "Not all those who wander are lost." My husband commented on it and Abby, my twelve year old, then recited the Riddle of Strider for him. She likes the book for its poetry and memorizes the poems.

Our house has 5 complete copies of this book, one for each of the two kids and my three. One of my copies is the edition I bought in the 70's when I first discovered it and that sits in a place of honor on my bookshelf. One set is my working copy that I take down to read when the need strikes. And the third is the trilogy published as one hardbound book, as Tolkien originally intended. That is the one I am reading now. I am about a third of the way into the last section, war is gathering, night has permanently fallen and Aragorn has gone thru the Paths of the Dead.

What brought me back to the book is the movie, of course. I haven't seen the second installment yet but for Christmas I got a copy of the extended 4 DVD set of the first movie. We watched it as a family after all the Christmas hullabaloo was over and even my husband, who has steadfastly looked down his cute upturned nose at the movie, enjoyed it immensely. Then my kids and I watched the "making of the movie' stuff that they fill out the DVD set with. Some was interesting, particularly the costuming section. Some was filler and as my daughter says, "Like, hello. I donít care."

So I went back to the book. And it is so much better. Even with the added scenes in the DVD, the book outshines the movie. What I find with every rereading of the book is that I hear or notice something different every time. This time it's the almost Biblical language Tolkien used to describe events and people. And all the Biblical parallels which for some reason I totally missed before.

Except for perhaps Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, I cannot think of another author's books that I know so well, have read so many times and enjoy so much each time I come back to it.

Posted by Deb English at January 5, 2003 03:31 PM