The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings
Illustrated by Alan Lee
(Houghton Mifflin, Boston: 1991)
First published in 1954 (Fellowship of the Ring).
READ: June-October 2005
I don't actually need to review this one, do I? You all know the story. If you don't - or if you've only ever seen the recent movie version - go read it. God forbid you've only seen the version by Ralph Bakshi, which I for one am trying to purge from memory (not easy to do when I see the DVD of it that I own every day). The BBC's audio dramatization, on the other hand, is good. But I don't think the musical counts.
Not for the faint-hearted, of course - my copy of the illustrated version weighs in at over 1,000 pages, plus another 200 or so pages of appendices (all necessary reading, of course). But if you've got the patience, it's a wonderful tale. And imagine the hours you can then while away debating movie-vs-book! You will wonder why Tom Bombadil was left out, and debate whether it was necessary that Glorfindel's role in the Flight to the Ford be melded into Arwen. Was Boromir as bad an anti-king, pro-ring guy as the movie tried to make him out to be, and what was the exact nature of the prophetic dream that caused him to seek Elrond"'s counsel?
Or, um, maybe that's just the kind of things I would enjoy ...