When my ninth grade English teacher forced The Hobbit upon my class, it was met with mixed reactions based on a number of factors, but generally they were these: You either got it, or you didn’t. Without typecasting a particular faction, I’ll just say that there were certain characteristics common to the “got it” group, and that in high school these characteristics may have been a bit of social suicide— if you were into the whole “popular clique” thing. Chances are, though, if you enjoyed The Hobbit, you didn’t really care about rolling with the so-called “cool kids” and power to you (personally, I didn’t care for The Hobbit way back when, and this is in no way indicative of my middling social-circle status.) Nonetheless, this title was required reading and we were all stuck with it. The Lord of the Rings, however, was not required, and as shocking as it was to me, some kids in school actually read it for pleasure!
When I went back to re-read this book (after thoroughly enjoying the films), I was amazed to discover how far off I was the first time around. I discovered that my disdain for this adventure stemmed from a very old animated version of The Hobbit in which Bilbo resembles a somewhat disheveled-looking cross between Friar Tuck and one of the “Who-Children” who got caught sneaking up Mount Crumpit to see the Grinch. Thank goodness for Peter Jackson!
The Lord of the Rings novel (don’t call it a trilogy!) follows the quest of Frodo Baggins, orphan and younger cousin of Bilbo, after he inherits the One Ring and attempts to send it to an eternal resting place at the bottom of a lava-filled volcano. There are countless twists, turns and tales along the way, all of which make this an incredibly interesting (if lengthy) read for all ages.
With a new film adaptation of The Hobbit set to release in December of this year, the popularity of The Lord of the Rings will certainly begin to increase, as will the demand for copies from patrons at your library.
Grab The Lord of the Rings today in the HarperCollins portal at Content Reserve and give it a second look. You might be surprised at what you find.
Jason Sockel is a Collection Development Associate at OverDrive.