A to Z Challenge · Book Reviews

A to Z Challenge: H

hOne of my most treasured memories of childhood is from my last year of primary school. My teacher, having recognised in me a fellow lover of books, (I had read all that was worthwhile in the school library) lent me his own copy of The Hobbit, to read over the half term holidays. His was an old copy, well-read and much-loved, with several of the pages wafer thin in places, while others were detached completely. That I was trusted with his fragile book touched me in a way I’ve not felt before or since.

Cover image from thelandofshadow.com — I have no rights over this image

I hadn’t heard of J.R.R. Tolkien before my encounter with The Hobbit. My teacher knew of my growing fondness for dragons, as well as my love for adventure books and those with more depth and a touch of enchanting darkness. Much like Bilbo Baggins, I set out into the world of The Hobbit not knowing what or whom I would meet along the way.

I didn’t simply read this book; I breathed it in, taking pleasure from each and every page and chapter. The Hobbit was my first truly epic fantasy adventure, paving the way for the appreciation of so many other books. Sowing the seeds of countless idle fantasies and daydream adventures.

It wasn’t long after finishing The Hobbit that I received my own copy of The Lord of The Rings—a Christmas gift from my mum. Much like The Hobbit, I devoured this book. Even, much to my teacher’s surprise and a touch of admiration, the chapters of Tom Bombadil; chapters and sections of text which he had found frustrating enough to skip over.

This book is one of the main causes for my longing to write. Having been touched by the experience of vicarious adventure, and the deeply intimate relationship between reader and page in the dead of night, I knew it was something I would always aspire toward.

5 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: H

  1. I managed to get through most of Fellowship, but The Hobbit? I read all of it but…. I had to read it in school and HATED it. I think any book I was ever required to read I ended up hating. Maybe I have an issue with authority. 🙂 Or perhaps because I preferred mysteries over fantasies. I’d always thought it was the length of the novel that was the problem. However, I really enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. So I’m almost convinced it was being told to read something that was the problem for me.
    Visiting from A to Z!

    1. Being told to read a book does often take the enjoyment out of it. I found it even worse when it was read aloud, in class. Coincidentally, I’m reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell at the moment (I bought it after stumbling upon the series and thoroughly enjoying it) but find the writing less engaging than I’d hoped. Still enjoyable to read, though not likely to make my “top reads” list.

  2. What a lovely story. 🙂 I love any story that has to do with a supportive teacher because they can often be few and far between, in my opinion.
    Also, cheers for ready every inch of Lord of the Rings! I always loved fantasy novels as a kid but this is one I never managed to get through. I take it as a personal failure on my part. lol

    1. Thank you 🙂 I wouldn’t say that was a failure on your part, there were several parts which seemed to drag more than I’d have liked, I just didn’t have it in me to cheat on the book!

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