I had no idea it was Professor Tolkien’s birthday today (thanks Goldenstar), but I’m definitely going to offer a couple of toasts in his honor. If you want a bit more biographical information on the Professor, go see Once Upon a Hobbit.
Tolkien has been the largest influence on my reading habits every since I was 8 years old. I bought the Hobbit when I was in elementary school via a class book fair. The teacher passed out a small pamphlet that had all of the books being offered with a small summary and a picture of the cover. I don’t remember why I picked that one, but I can remember counting out dimes and quarters to pay for it and I’m sure the librarian was thrilled when I came in with my bag of coins. I still have the book and the slip which I used as a bookmark.
If I remember right, it was that summer that I checked out the Lord of the Rings trilogy from the public library. It took me the entire school break to finish them and I don’t know how much I really understood (certainly not as much as when I read them now), but from then on fantasy was about the only genre I would read (until I found Heinlein and got into sci-fi).
Since then, I’ve reread the books multiple times (including the Silmarillion), enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation, and now I spend a little bit of time almost daily in Turbine’s interpretation.
Happy birthday, Professor!