‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’― J.R.R. Tolkien.

I read Tolkien’s 1937 classic The Hobbit as a teenager and over the years I’ve tried and failed to conquer The Lord of the Rings. I made a promise to myself that 2016 would be year I succeeded.


Twenty books have come and gone on my Goodreads book challenge but LOTR  remains stubbornly on my currently reading shelf. I’m on page 719 and with only a few weeks left of 2016 I’m asking myself: why don’t I love these books?

Both my parents were devoted fans of both Tolkien’s books and Peter Jackson’s extraordinary films. With an estimated 150 million books sold and taking in over $2.9 billion at the box office (and that’s not even including the Hobbit movies) Mum and Dad clearly weren’t alone in their dedication.

Tourism New Zealand is certainly still expecting pilgrims to middle-Earth. Check out the 100% New Zealand site which boasts a brilliant which middle-Earth character are you quiz which is accompanied by a suggested travel itinerary.

LOTR was instrumental in popularising the epic fantasy genre, which I love, so I feel very indebted to Tolkien. My first experience of ‘on demand’ entertainment was waiting for the next instalment of David Eddings’ Belgariad to arrive at our local library. Yes, these books are  ‘light’ in comparison to LOTR but I loved them. Truth be told, I still do.


I want to like LOTR, I do … the prose is beautiful and fantasy is one of my all time favourite genres but maybe it’s the lack of female characters, or just that I already know the story, or the ‘hype’ that’s preventing me from obsessively devouring the books as I generally do.

I found Dad’s copy of the Hobbit in my son’s room. Maybe the LOTR obsession will simply skip my generation and move on to the next. I hope so.

Happy reading!