Celebrate Tolkien Week @ Your Library

Posted by Aaron on

jacketTolkien Week, celebrated September 18-24, 2016, is a week set aside to promote and enjoy the works of author J.R.R. Tolkien. To celebrate – and provide you with lots of Tolkein tools – there will be a special display at the Warrenton central library beginning September 16.

Most fans of fantasy/science fiction books are familiar with J.R. R. Tolkien. My love of Tolkien’s work began in seventh grade, when my English teacher insisted on reading The Hobbit to the class. I soon fell in love with the book, although I can’t say the same for most of my classmates! I couldn’t wait to read more – The Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King), The Silmarillion, Farmer Giles of Ham, and others. I found it amazing that Tolkien created an entire world, Middle-Earth, complete with languages, history, stories and legends, etc. Perhaps this is not so surprising, since Tolkien was the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College, Oxford University.

The library has multiple copies of all of these books, some in multiple formats (book, CD, e-book). The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy have all been made into popular movies, which the library also has on DVD.

As much as I love Tolkien’s fantasy books, in recent years I have become more interested in his life and influences. Tolkien served in World War I, in the Lancashire Fusiliers and survived the battle of the Somme in July 1916. The 2015 book A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 by Joseph Loconte, explores how their experiences in World War I impacted the themes of good and evil in the works of both authors.

At one time, Tolkien and author C.S. Lewis were good friends. (For those who don’t know, Lewis was the author of the very popular Chronicles of Narnia series, written for children.) Both authors were members of the informal literary discussion group, associated with Oxford University, known as the Inklings. The members met for almost 30 years to discuss many topics–literature, religion, philosophy, and their own works in progress. For more information on the Inklings, check out The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, by Philip and Carol Zaleski, or Colin Duriez’s The Inklings Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Lives, Thought, and Writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and Their Friends.

While you’re enjoying Tolkien Week, don’t forget about Hobbit Day, which is celebrated every September 22, the date of the birthdays of hobbits Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, born in different years, of course!

∼ Vicky, Reference Librarian, Warrenton central library

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