Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Concerning The Hobbit

Note: Beyond the map below lie some spoilery thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. You’ve been warned.


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December 17, 2012 Posted by | Current Affairs, Film, geek | , , , | 2 Comments

The Shadow of the Past, part 2: The Lord of the Rings Paperback Flashbacks

I’m happy to finally complete a trilogy of posts born a month ago out of an afternoon spent hanging out at a local comic show with Adam, at which I bought a Starlog magazine featuring a cover piece on The Star Wars Holiday Special, and this Ralph Bakshi interview about his Lord of the Rings movie.

I also couldn’t resist this paperback boxed set of The Lord of the Rings:

Lord of the Rings boxed set

Adam remembered these editions with their colorful triptych of covers as the ones his family had owned when he was growing up –

Lord of the Rings paperback covers

Click the photo to see a bigger version.

– but I’d never seen them before and loved them instantly, both in color (although I can’t stand the dead-center placement of the Houghton Mifflin logo on The Fellowship of the Ring) and as the black-and-white wraparound art to the slipcase.

I still have the boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which my Uncle Rob gave me when I was in first grade:

Lord of the Rings gold Ballantine boxed set

There are are three different kinds of tape holding these together. Two of the covers (which, as I had completely forgotten until working on this post,  featured the paintings of J.R.R. Tolkien himself) are missing, replaced by sturdy black posterboard. The pages (and while a very few of the introductory pages and maps are missing, all the actual story pages are still here) are worn soft like a child’s blanket at the corners and edges.

Hobbit and Fellowship covers

Two Towers and Return of the King covers

The slipcase to these books was covered in shiny gold paper and decorated on the sides and top with symbols associated with LOTR figures and civilizations:

Ballantine gold Lord of the Rings slipcase

Click the photo to see the entire set of scans and pictures.

And I loved these books.

Not just the stories within, but these actual objects: I loved having this relatively massive set of books that looked so different from anything else on my bookshelves when I first got it. I loved feeling like reading these books was, by nature of the number of pages and the small type and the lack of pictures, something of an epic quest in itself.

(Digression: When I was a fourth-grader, as part of a reading awareness week, our entire class at Lake Elementary School participated in a vote to rename our school for one week in honor of a favorite author. No one seconded my nomination of Tolkien, and it was really no surprise when we wound up as students of Judy Blume Elementary after the balloting.)

When I got the books out to scan them for this entry, I found two things I had forgotten. First, a bookmark which I kept in this set of paperbacks, and second, this artwork inside the slipcase:

My preciousssss.

Though I got through The Hobbit pretty easily, it was a couple years before I really buckled down and got through The Lord of the Rings, and I vividly remember finally reading that last page, sitting in the den of our house – the room which had been my youngest brother’s room as an infant, and which had once been decorated with blue shag carpet and wallpapered with cartoon caricatures of old fighter planes and pilots.

Finishing The Return of the King marked the first time I remember completing a book into which I had been so thoroughly drawn that I felt off-kilter for awhile, like I had to re-adjust to the world around me, akin to the feeling you get returning home after a long trip. I still get that feeling from time to time, and when I do, it also takes me back to that afternoon in the den of the house where I grew up.

July 24, 2011 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, Fiction, geek, Uncategorized, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

From a trusted source.

I was reading to my daughter Kelsey since before she was born. We’ve covered a lot of ground together, from the neighborhoods of Richard Scarry’s busy world to the road that passes through a Phantom Tollbooth. Been beneath the Misty Mountains with a certain Hobbit and ridden the train to Hogwarts over and over again.

Click to read the related GeekDad post at

As she grew into an independent reader, I loved suggesting books to her like Donuthead, Whales on Stilts and Zoe’s Tale. Of course, she also found a ton of stuff on her own, and has shelves full of books in which I have no interest at all – and that’s more than OK. The fact that she’s piling them up at all is fantastic.

All this is part of the reason why writing my latest GeekDad post brought me a really special kind of joy, not because it’s about a couple books I really enjoyed, but because this time around, the books were Kelsey’s discovery, and it was my turn to say, “Hm. Okay,” and then, later, “Wow! Thanks!!!”

They get some prime real estate on the memory shelf.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | Books, Fiction, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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