The Day I Discovered Tolkien

J Riff

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Dad brought them home one day in the 60s, and I started the 1st book, got into it, stayed up till 4, barely made it through school next day, came home, and read them super-fast, skipping over songs and slow passages to find out what happened, knowing they would be re-read.
 

Jondo_

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My experience only stretches back a little over a decade--I was in the first grade in 2005, and I must have already had a love for fantasy because I was offered a copy of The Hobbit by my parents and I distinctly remember them telling me that it was by JRR Tolkien, the man who had "invented fantasy." I remember taking that to mean he was the one who came up with dragons for the first time.
 

svalbard

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I have just begun reading The Hobbit to my 8 year old son at bedtime. Only got five pages in at the first reading tonight. He seemed to enjoy and indeed laughed at oddest of places or maybe that was the reading voices I was putting on. Hopefully he will or more importantly I stick with it to the end with him.
 

Elckerlyc

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I am not sure I should admit this (aloud). At least not in this thread, or anywhere else in this Forum, come to think of it...
I have never read The Hobbit or The Silmarillion.
<ducks and awaits first blow>

And I was terribly, embarrassingly slow in discovering The Lord of the Rings. I first read that one when I was 35 or something.
<remains ducked>

If you grew up in the 60's and 70's in the Netherlands, reading the Lord of the Rings was kind of a cult thing, among students. My oldest brother (having studied biology) had the 3 books of the Ring in his bookcase. I don't know if he had actually read them, I never heard him talk about it. The weird thing is, from my 16th onwards I have been a fervent SFF reader, but reading Tolkien never seriously entered my mind. Somewhere, somehow the books looked boring to me.

I was about 18 or 19 when I made a remarkable and life changing discovery. Not all the books in the world got translated into Dutch. Be it published in English, French, Chinese or Alpha Centaurian, it mattered not, a translation was not something you could blindly count on. It needed a publisher who reckoned it would be worthwhile, financially. Which is always difficult in a relatively small market like the Dutch speaking community.
So I made a, initially slow and careful, switch to the English section and - Lo and behold! - suddenly the amount of titles to choose from had doubled, tripled, quadrupled! And as a bonus, English books were decidedly cheaper than the Dutch versions.
And then, finally, probably around 1988, I encountered The Lord of the Rings in one volume, complete with Index and Appendices, published by Unwin Paperbacks for GBP 8.95 (though I must have paid for it in Dutch Guilders) and consisting of 1193 pages.
I have this weakness. The more pages a book has, the more likely it is I will fall for it. Some people have this with covers, the title or the blurp on the backside, with me it is the size. And 1193 pages totally did it for me.
I took it with me on my holiday that year, which would have been in July I guess, but needed until October to finish it. The story dragged somewhat here, there and back again. And the prose was archaic, not what I was used to. But I fell in love with it, with the book but mostly the language. I learned a lot from that reading experience (patience, among other things).
So, for me it wasn't so much about discovering Tolkien, but discovering a love for English. It did however not make me go and read Tolkien's other books.
<slips quietly out of this thread>
 

Anthoney

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I was about 7 when my older brother Jim (who was 14) started reading me the Hobbit. My mother had been reading me Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators books (I loved Jupiter Jones). She wanted all of her children to be readers. We had just finished book 4 (out of 12 or 13 at the time) when instead of my mother, Jim came in. I had 2 older brothers, Jim and Steve (the oldest) but Jim was my hero. He told me he had a special book with a wizard and a dragon and armies but the hero was a little person. I could not have been more hooked if it had been heroin. He talked about LotR and so did my mother but neither would read them to me. I had to read them for myself (which I did around 10 or 11). I never stopped reading.
 

mistri

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I was about 7 when my older brother Jim (who was 14) started reading me the Hobbit. My mother had been reading me Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators books (I loved Jupiter Jones). She wanted all of her children to be readers. We had just finished book 4 (out of 12 or 13 at the time) when instead of my mother, Jim came in. I had 2 older brothers, Jim and Steve (the oldest) but Jim was my hero. He told me he had a special book with a wizard and a dragon and armies but the hero was a little person. I could not have been more hooked if it had been heroin. He talked about LotR and so did my mother but neither would read them to me. I had to read them for myself (which I did around 10 or 11). I never stopped reading.
I loved the Three Investigators! I was the only kid I knew in the UK reading them (but couldn't have been the only one as I always saw them at book sales).

I read the Hobbit when I was about 9 and Lord of the Rings not much after. I remember my parents scoffing that I'd read them all. Today they're one of the only series I've read multiple times, although not for a while.

I'd love to introduce them to my son who's just turned 9, but while he's a good reader he prefers real world humourous books at the moment, so it might have to wait a bit.
 

Extollager

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I'd love to introduce them to my son who's just turned 9, but while he's a good reader he prefers real world humourous books at the moment, so it might have to wait a bit.
Good on you -- not to press him.
 

copper

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I am not sure I should admit this (aloud). At least not in this thread, or anywhere else in this Forum, come to think of it...
I have never read The Hobbit or The Silmarillion.
<ducks and awaits first blow>

And I was terribly, embarrassingly slow in discovering The Lord of the Rings. I first read that one when I was 35 or something.
<remains ducked>

If you grew up in the 60's and 70's in the Netherlands, reading the Lord of the Rings was kind of a cult thing, among students. My oldest brother (having studied biology) had the 3 books of the Ring in his bookcase. I don't know if he had actually read them, I never heard him talk about it. The weird thing is, from my 16th onwards I have been a fervent SFF reader, but reading Tolkien never seriously entered my mind. Somewhere, somehow the books looked boring to me.

I was about 18 or 19 when I made a remarkable and life changing discovery. Not all the books in the world got translated into Dutch. Be it published in English, French, Chinese or Alpha Centaurian, it mattered not, a translation was not something you could blindly count on. It needed a publisher who reckoned it would be worthwhile, financially. Which is always difficult in a relatively small market like the Dutch speaking community.
So I made a, initially slow and careful, switch to the English section and - Lo and behold! - suddenly the amount of titles to choose from had doubled, tripled, quadrupled! And as a bonus, English books were decidedly cheaper than the Dutch versions.
And then, finally, probably around 1988, I encountered The Lord of the Rings in one volume, complete with Index and Appendices, published by Unwin Paperbacks for GBP 8.95 (though I must have paid for it in Dutch Guilders) and consisting of 1193 pages.
I have this weakness. The more pages a book has, the more likely it is I will fall for it. Some people have this with covers, the title or the blurp on the backside, with me it is the size. And 1193 pages totally did it for me.
I took it with me on my holiday that year, which would have been in July I guess, but needed until October to finish it. The story dragged somewhat here, there and back again. And the prose was archaic, not what I was used to. But I fell in love with it, with the book but mostly the language. I learned a lot from that reading experience (patience, among other things).
So, for me it wasn't so much about discovering Tolkien, but discovering a love for English. It did however not make me go and read Tolkien's other books.
<slips quietly out of this thread>
This is a lovely story, than you for sharing it.
I had a similar experience reading Les Miserables in French, only it took me three years to get through instead of a few months.
 

Elckerlyc

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I had a similar experience reading Les Miserables in French, only it took me three years to get through instead of a few months.
Well, 3 years or not, you persevered until you read 'Fin''. That's the thing.
French gives me nightmares.
 

anno

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So, industrial Northern town, circa 1970, sat outside the headmasters room awaiting the strap, a big thick leather belt with two oval metal handles, applied with pain and precision.
If you were a ‘good kid’ the area contained a number of interesting books that if you finished your work you could peruse at leisure, I never did as I was a little b&£#@+=!
One was called The Hobbit and I mithered my mum just enough for her to break down and get it me from the library, now I wasn’t just a rebel, I hunted Ork.
 

Narkalui

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I think I was about 3 and my brother 5 when Dad started reading The Hobbit to us at bedtime. I might have been 4 or 5 when he finished Lord of the Rings. I loved them though I remembered little of them. A year or two later channel 4 had Ralph Bakshi's animation on for two Christmas Eves in a row, both occasions requiring Dad to lug the telly upstairs (in Kent the Ch4 signal was disrupted by French radio stations). That film is terrible, but I loved it.

After being disappointed that The Lord of the Rings would not be on for a third year in a row, I resolved to begin reading the Hobbit when I was 8, as I had very little memory of my Dad reading the books. I read the first half over a series a weeks then the second half on a Saturday afternoon. I immediately picked up The Fellowship of the Ring and struggled, finally finishing it when I was 10. I picked it up again when I was 13 and got through it in a week during the summer holidays. I must have read it at least ten times now
 
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