"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." – G. K. Chesterton

I already used up Gone with the Wind for my favorite female character, and I’m determined not to include any book twice.  The Princess Bride became one of my favorite movies, but I don’t like the book.  I guess I’ll go with this:Some folks like The Lord of the Rings, some don’t.  I’m among those who do.  I find the book to be majestic, very well written, and highly creative.  I can easily see the reason why it became the basis for almost all adventure fantasy of the past fifty years, as well as inspiring who knows how many pieces of art, TV shows, movies, games, and more.  On the other hand, I can also see why some folks find the book obtuse, wordy, and boring.  The Lord of the Rings is surely an acquired taste.  However, it’s one that a whole lot of persons have acquired.

J. R. R. Tolkien, we must understand, was not an ordinary man.  He was a professor at Oxford in the early part of the twentieth century.  His topic was ancient languages and literature.  Thus, his academic career involved immersing himself in archaic texts and works that most of us have never heard of, sometimes written in languages that most of us have never heard of.  Perhaps it’s not surprising that he was mildly eccentric.  However, if he didn’t fit with the modern world, that may tell us more about the modern world than about Tolkien.  He tried to be a model of the type of English gentleman that was disappearing in his own time and has totally disappeared now.

That such a man should produce was is possibly the most famous entertainment of the twentieth century is surprising to say the least, almost as unlikely as a carpenter becoming the most influential person in history.  However, if one reads Tolkien’s books it becomes a little bit less surprising.  If nothing else, he did immerse his readers fully in a fictional world.  No other fantasy author can provide such amazing wealth of detail, can allow us to fall so completely into the landscapes, the social scenes, and the battles of a world that never existed

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