It was the fall of 1978. I was in Grade 4. Our teacher had a practise whereby the first block of time after lunch on Friday's he would read to us, generally a whole chapter. The first book he read to us that year was The Hobbit. So began my love affair with Middle-Earth.
As it happened, my dad had (and still has) a box set of Tolkien books on the shelf at home (which I think was fairly new at the time) and so as I grew tired of the chapter a week pace I started to read the book by myself. I quickly passed the out-loud reading and was well into Lord of the Rings by the time Mr Davies finished the book in the class.
I have, of course, read the book many many times since then, though I think it has been 15-20 years since my last reading.
What is it about this book that makes it worth multiple readings? Is it the story? Partly Is it Bilbo's growth over his "There and Back Again"? Partly But there is just something that grabs me, just as it grabbed me 25 years ago. Once again I eagerly traveled from Bag End and the Unexpected Party to Rivendell, to the Halls of the Elven-King, to the Lonely Mountain. Yes I knew what was coming. But still it is worth reading. It is, after all, a classic.
Now I just have to find a way to convince the girls to let me read it to them.......