There are some books that are just required…or at least you personally think they are! Maybe it’s a book that changed your view on everything, or maybe it’s just the BEST vampire book ever written. What book do you try to get everyone in your life to read, even the non-readers?
I’m really curious to read other bloggers’ responses to this week’s prompt! If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you probably know what I’m going to say, but here goes.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
It’s the one book I recommend to absolutely everyone, regardless of if they like fantasy or not and even if they’re not readers. The Lord of the Rings has been the pride of my bookshelves for many years now. I first read the books when I was 11 years old and I’ve gone back every few years since – and the best part is that though the story hasn’t changed, there’s something new to appreciate about it, because I’ve changed and I look at it differently each time. While it was not my introduction to fantasy (that honor goes to Harry Potter which I finished reading shortly before I picked this up), it was the book that cemented my love for the genre.
Understandably, many readers are daunted by the size of the book, over 1200 pages (atleast in the combined volume that I have), and it is definitely not an easy undertaking. But the reasons that make it so are also the reasons why I consider Lord of the Rings to be the best fantasy novel ever written and the definitive work of epic fantasy that all others are measured by. It is the kind of book that will force you to slow down and drink in the details so you can truly appreciate Tolkien’s genius. One only needs to take a look at the expansive world of Middle-Earth: there are not only detailed maps of all the regions, but each race present in the story has their own language, culture and history written out, often in beautiful verse, and it is this level of attention to detail that makes this world truly come to life.
Lord of the Rings is very different from contemporary fantasy novels. It’s painstakingly slow – and that’s intentional. It takes its own sweet time getting to the point, even offering the brave protagonists pit stops of a sort to refresh themselves after a particularly dramatic sequence (and giving the reader a breather too) – which I have never seen in any other fantasy novel – it’s always breakneck action as things get steadily more dire for the characters (maintaining the pace, which appears to be seen almost as a necessity these days) – this change in pace is not easy to pull off and I’ve never seen it done in any of the more modern fantasy novels I’ve read. Very few books in recent years tackle a world and plot on such a scale that allows the reader to lose themselves in it as this does. The journey is as important as the destination on this epic quest and the way it is written makes you feel like you are right there beside Frodo, from the green hills of the Shire, each step of the way to Mount Doom.
Lord of the Rings is absolutely worth the read, you won’t regret it. But for pity’s sake, try not to watch the movies first – I adore them, but I could write a whole other post or ten about the subtleties and plot points it has skipped over.
What book would you recommend to everyone? Share your thoughts in the comments below!