I first read J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy when I was a kid in high school–those Ballantine Books paperbacks, pictured above, with those wonderful covers–and it set my mind on fire. That fire is not yet out.
My wife has bought me new copies of these books, as the ones I had were falling apart, and now, after letting a couple of years go by, I’m ready to read The Lord of the Rings again.
Aside from the pleasure that this story has never failed to provide, I ask myself, “What will I learn from it this time?” Because every time I read it, I find something new in it. Happily, I’ve outgrown the desire to imitate Tolkien: there was only one of him, and I’m not it. But there are still techniques and writing tricks to be learned, still visions to see more clearly than before, and still new truths to discover. As always, it’ll be a feast.
In the intervening time, I’ve read more about Tolkien and his work, so I should be prepared to gain new insights. Besides which, it’ll be fun.
(And now I have to stop because The Neighbor from Hell, who moved away months ago, I have suddenly sighted from my window. Please say this is only a bad dream!)