One 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.
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.