One Book to Rule Them All

So here’s the deal.  A couple of months ago, I started reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I’ve mentioned it here before*.  It took me the longest time to read the first book, and I’m still a little over halfway through the second.  It’s the slowest I think I’ve ever been reading a series.  I’m reminded why I gave up all those years ago the first time around.  And yet I keep reading.

I have nothing against Tolkien, mind you.  There’s good reason this series is seen as the greatest epic fantasy of all time.  It’s just that it’s not for me.  It’s a slow series and I’m starting to think I’ll never be done with it.  And yet I keep reading.  Why do I keep reading?

Part of it is certainly because I promised both myself and a good friend that I would.  And part of it is because I feel the need to finish what I’ve started.  Somehow, I really want to know what happens to the little band of travelers.  But I think a big part of the reason I’m continuing with this is because I feel that, as a self-proclaimed book nerd, I have to read LOTR.

After all, this is the ultimate fantasy story.  This is one of the greatest series of all time.  Certainly it’s one of the most well-known series.  Plus it’s basically the epitome of all things book nerd.  In the Venn diagram of things that are geeky (in a good way, as are all things references to geekdom on this blog) and things that are book-related, LOTR is in that intersecting middle part.  So, therefore, I have to read it.

(Ring picture courtesy of Wikipedia. Everything else courtesy of me.)

Don’t I?

I have this problem with a lot of books, a lot of classics that I tell myself I’m going to have to read eventually if I want to consider myself a true book nerd.  Things like 1984 and Lord of the Flies and at least something by Jane Austen.  And it all starts with the Lord of the Rings.

I’m not even sure why I don’t like it, other than maybe the pacing is a little slow and there is too much description.  But that’s to be expected.  Perhaps I’m just not used to reading books like this, which would be true.  These days, though, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not too fond of Frodo.  It all comes from my realization that I’m liking The Two Towers a lot more than I did The Fellowship of the Ring.

Anyway.  The point to this rambling behemoth of a post is this: there are some books that I just have to read, if for no other purpose than to make myself a well-rounded reader and to experience the classics that society says everyone should have a chance to read.  Besides, what’s the point of liking to read if you’re not willing to read new things?  This series is definitely something new for me.

On the other end of the spectrum, should we only read what we like?  Should we forsake boredom and expansion of our literary horizons for the comfort of books that we know we’ll enjoy a whole lot more?  And so now I have a question for you, my lovely readers: What is your stance in this?  Are there any books that you feel you have to read at some point?  And if so, what are they?

Happy reading!


*Remember when I was all worked up over reading this trilogy AND the Inheritance Cycle before Inheritance came out?  Yeah.  Turns out that didn’t happen.


6 thoughts on “One Book to Rule Them All

  1. Indeed, LOTR is the greatest of the bunch. Books that I have to read… Well, it was Moby Dick until I read it, then it was War and Peace until I read it (which is awesome, by the way), now it’s just Dragonriders of Pern. It isn’t slow, however– not at all– it’s just a book/series I have to read because Christopher Paolini liked it a lot. I can see why… Then there’s Jack London’s The Sea Wolf, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and a book I got as a gift from a relative. Of course, I’m under obligation to read that, whether I like it or not.

    • I read a Pern book once as independent reading for school. Since then Anne McCaffrey has kind of been at the back of my mind as an author to check out further at some point. I have a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and I read a few of them, but then I got distracted by other books. 🙂 That happens a lot with me. There’s a good stack of novels in my room that I bought but haven’t gotten around to yet!

  2. That good friend mind you, would also like to remind you, you like gandolf better 😉 I know the book can be slow, but set your imagination to fuill gear and get your head outta the clouds love. (I am typing in accents lol) The world he Imagined is the World you gotta imagine. The beauty of the mental scenery is what keeps you going is it not?

    • Yes, I admit Gandalf trumps Dumbledore. But the Potter series as a whole is still better! And I’m fine with scenery. Just not that much. Don’t worry, though; I plan to finish the book this weekend.

  3. I’m slowly making my way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy myself. I loved The Hobbit, enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring, and got a bit bored with The Two Towers, but I still havn’t gotten around to reading the last book! Like you, I feel the need to read them in order to consider myself a true book geek. I think the reason there so difficult to get though is quite simple. They were written a while ago, and we are used to modern books where things happen more quickly and there’s more action. I do like LOTR but I feel like you get much more of an expirience out of it as seeing it as a film, and the trilogy continues to be my favorite films of all time 🙂

    • There definitely is a barrier there with the time it was written in compared to today’s fast-paced novels (The Hunger Games being a great example). I’ve had the films recommended to me by several different people, so I’m definitely going to watch them at some point after I finish reading them. I make it a personal rule that I read the book before I see the movie adaptation of anything.

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