I grew up with J. R. R. Tolkien. Not literally, of course; by the time I was thrust all unprepared into the world of Middle Earth, the man was quite old already. Ancient-seeming, to an 8-year-old girl, which is when my parents first sat us kids down with The Hobbit and forever changed my life. By the time I was twelve, I had re-read The Hobbit several times. and had read The Lord of the Ring all on my own about eight times (which reminds me, it’s time for another re-re-re-read again). I did book reports on it at almost every school I went to, and as an Army brat, I went to a LOT of different schools. My mother was reading The Lord of the Rings when I was only two and a half, when she was so enthralled in the books that she couldn’t put the volume down to feed me and my 10-month-old brother. “You can make a peanut butter sandwich, can’t you?” Yes, the book was so powerful that she allowed me, barely out of toddlerhood, to play in the kitchen with peanut butter and bread and jelly and who knows what else, and she doesn’t tell about what kind of mess we made for her to clean up eventually. But she does admit to neglecting us because of that book.
That was probably when I decided I had to learn how to read, if Mommy could be so spellbound by a book! One of my first memories was of sitting at the bookshelf, with my dad’s college zoology book open on my lap, sounding out (badly) “paramecium” and “flagellate”. By the time I started kindergarten at five, I was reading on a sixth-grade level, and I’ve been a voracious reader ever since. And even though I had been reading for most of my life by the time I was eight, I was completely and totally unprepared for when it came to be our turn to experience Middle Earth. From my first immersion onward, I’ve looked at woods differently, seeking the Elves I knew were hiding somewhere in there, just beyond my perception. I waited for my hobbit foot-hair to sprout, convinced that the family was all hobbits anyway; after all, we were short, stout, and loved good food and company. Isn’t that the definition of a hobbit?!
After devouring the Lord of the Ring (and going back for seconds, thirds, and even more servings, as any good hobbit child would do), I sampled The Silmarilion, hoping for more magic from the Master of Middle Earth. The stories in that volume were a bit beyond me at the time, but I still remember some bits and pieces, and still love it. And now comes this amazing and wonderful news, for which I’m quite thrilled, not only as a long-time lover of Middle Earth and Tolkien’s work (father AND son), but also since the book will include several iterations of the legend, and that’s invaluable to me as a writer, seeing how the tale grew and changed and became what Aragorn passed along to the hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring, while they were camping on their way to Weathertop. And don’t get me started on the movies; with the exception of the Great Anduin river, which was wider than a strong bowshot, the movies’ visuals are spot on to how I’d pictured Middle Earth. I love them!
Anyway, here’s the link to the article about this new Tolkien volume being released soon:
Berein and Luthien to receive their own volume