Christmas in Middle Earth
One memorable Christmas when I was a student, was the year my parents had moved away from where I had spent my teenage years. Visiting them that Christmas was strange because I knew nobody in the area and knew that I would be spending a lot of time with family and away from my friends. The best present that I got that year was, yes you’ve guessed it – a BOOK! The Lord of the Rings – all 3 books in one – all 1200 pages of it! - The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I had read The Hobbit previously and was intrigued by it and must have mentioned it to parents.
With no other calls on my time I was able to immerse myself in Tolkien’s make-believe world of Middle Earth and finished all three books before the end of the year! It was rare for me to have such prolonged dedicated reading time and I remember sitting on a cushion on the floor with my back to a radiator devouring every page. Luckily my parents were busy and happy that they didn’t need to entertain me in between meals.
I have since tried to reread the books – unsuccessfully I may add. Fantasy is not really a genre that I would chose to read nowadays and I find the unusual names hard to hold in my head. I think the reason I was able to enjoy it so much the first time is because I was able to read in large chunks and so retained the characters and plot easier. I have since seen some of the films and did enjoy them though by then had forgotten much about the books -though I do still vividly remember the intense experience of reading them, it was such a magical and special time.
I have just seen that we have the three titles on our Libby App to loan out as eAudiobooks as well as eBooks – so If I ever have the 63hrs required to listen to them all I might give them a go again. Might be a while though – there are so many other good books that I haven’t even read once! There are also some BBC dramatised versions – much shorter listening time for those without the energy to invest in the ‘real’ thing.
Interesting aside – I have friends who read the entire Lord of the Rings series to their primary school son at bedtime, a mammoth undertaking that spanned over several years. That son is now a doctor – and while I’m sure he would probably have still done very well in school, I would attribute some his success to the investment of time and dedication from his parents of reading to him every night. Independent studies have shown that children who are read to from a young age will do better educationally than those who aren’t. Their literacy, vocabulary, concentration and understanding are all enhanced by the exposure to both the written and spoken word.
It’s never too young to start them reading a bedtime story every night – and it’s a great way to wind children down from their busy days. Also let’s not forget it’s a good chance for parents to take some time out as well, though possibly not with Lord of the Rings :)