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Mr Cornflower

There must be some sort of dog-whistle in Tolkien that makes him piercingly audible and real to bookish children, for I had very much the same experience - devoured The Hobbit aged 10 and Lord of the Rings aged 12 but haven't gone back. I think Alan Hollinghurst's comment about Tolkien's evocation of landscape is especially apt.

adele geras

I am afraid I am allergic to Tolkien. I tried to read him every single term at boarding schook egged on by my pal Philippa who was a mad keen fanatic and my eyes closed about half way down the first page. Never been able to read him at all....a closed book literally. Also not keen on C.S. Lewis though I did read the first book, Lion Witch and Wardrobe. Not the others though.

Rosie H

I have loved Tolkien nearly as long as I could read, as I can't have been more than 5 or 6 when I was attracted by his Father Christmas Letters. My father read me The Hobbit a few years later, and then The Lord of the Rings; he also tried The Silmarillion, but I couldn't cope with that at 11/12. And then I discovered some of the shorter fiction, such as Leaf by Niggle and Smith of Wootton Major, for myself. I revisit them all, not frequently, but regularly; and these days that includes The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, though I can't take the histories beyond that.

But The Lord of the Rings is so much part of my mental landscape that I regularly dream about it!

Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)

I've struggled with Tolkien as an adult and have found Lord of the Rings impossible to finish on several occasions. I just find it incredibly turgid. But I love the films and the grandeur of the stories appeals to me so much that I feel compelled to keep trying. In the hope that one day I'll experience the magic like so many others have.


I'm a 'yes' and 'no' girl too and feel no compulsion to return. I think late childhood/teens are just the right time for Tolkien. Perhaps if you miss him then he's gone forever.

However,The Pleasure of Reading has gone straight on the wishlist!

Dark Puss

Yes and Yes! Like Gareth I read The Hobbit around the age of 10 (after driving my father mad asking him to re-read it to me endlessly). I read LOR as a teenager and revisited it and The Hobbit on a number of occasions since, reading the latter to my son a couple of times before he too picked it up and then LOR and read them several times too.

Like "Rosie H" I have read most of the shorter books, but after reading them once I have never returned to them.

I still feel sorry for Smaug!


I am glad you're enjoying the book - I wish I had read it whilst I had it! Thank you for the mention too.

I read Tolkien as an adult really as I was 19 when I read and enjoyed The Hobbit. I read Lord of the Rings when in my late 20s. I did quite enjoy it and it is one I intend to read again but I wish I had read it when I was a child as I think I would have got even more out of it.


Happy Ides, by the way. . . I didn't get bitten by the Tolkien bug as a child, though when I was really ill one stretch of time I did read them all. At my boys' urging, I reread them all about 8 years ago and mostly enjoyed the clear sense of myth-making that animates the Trilogy (sort of like childhood visions of God writing the Bible: "Yes, those begats are important! Keep 'em in!"). Since then I have listened to most of them on audiobook and found them highly enjoyable. The Hobbit is much more a story and much less of A Creation, I find.

Mary Grover

I didn't encounter Tolkien's books until I was in my 20's but read and enjoyed Hobbit and LotR very much. I know I've reread them at least twice and once imagined I would reread them every 2-3 years but it's been a very long time now.
I remember reading an essay by Ursula LeGuin in which she mentions finally getting the first volume of the trilogy from the library to see what the fuss was about and going back the next day to get the other two volumes. So she's another writer keen on Tolkien.


I didn't read Tolkien until I was about 15 and absolutely adored LOTR although I took a couple of attempts to read and enjoy The Hobbit when I was 20-something. Funnily enough although I have re-read the first two volumes of LOTR, I haven't re-visited The Return of the King for some reason!

I adored Alan Garner from about the age of 9 when a class teacher read Elidor to us although my favourites were The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. They were re-read almost as often as The Little White Horse and certain of the Narnia books but despite my best efforts I have never managed to persuade any of my four children to read more than a few pages of any of the Garner books.

B R Wombat

I'm a Yes and No too and feel no urge to reread him. But I cannot see ranges of hills behind hills (for instance on the border of Co. Tipperary and Co. Waterford) without being transported to Middle Earth.


I read The Hobbit as a child and LOTR in my 20's. I have since re-read The Hobbit. It totally holds up in my opinion, a delightful book that I may read for a third time someday. I have no urge to re-read LOTR however. It is simply too long for me to invest the time, what with so many other books that call to me.


In my twenties a friend was raving about Tolkien and passed on his copy of LOTR to me. I did start it, put it down and then I read the Hobbit, which I really enjoyed but I never did get back to LOTR. MY huaband was an avid fan, who read it in his teens.

I did love the movies though but I can't see me getting back to it, my tbr list is getting longer and longer. The Pleasure of reading has been added to my list.

Julie Fredericksen

The Hobbit was all the rage when I was in my 20s (1970s) but I didn't read it until about 10 years ago. It was okay, nothing more. I also read the first volume of LOTR after the movies came out. I have no desire to read the other two books.


I loved The Hobbit at about seven or eight. It was the world I inhabited just after Peter Pan and before The Woolpack. But at the same time I also tried and failed to like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Tolkien has a consistent world, with languages, etymology, myths ... Anglo-Saxon provenance for goodness' sake. But Garner seemed to me to be writing flimsy, portentous nonsense which I could not understand or explain and I guessed he would not be able to explain either. If I tried again now, would I change my mind?


Just ordered a copy of The Pleasure of Reading on Amazon UK (hardback) for just £1.85p - this will be for my sister-in-law's birthday in April - thank you Cornflower

Rose isn't that I'm mean! I was just so thrilled with the price - I love a bargain. My lovely sister-in-law will of course get other presents to go with the book!


I hope your sister-in-law will be delighted with it!

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