Oh, Martin Freeman. You are so Hobbit-y.

That's right, friends, September 21-27 is Tolkien Week!  (It's also the best because it's Banned Books Week, but Jessi will get to that later.)  There are plenty of amazing writers in the world.  And some day in the future I would love to start Neil Gaiman Week or Robin McKinley Week or something.  But one of the only ones (if not the only one) who has his own week of celebration is J.R.R. Tolkien.  And it is well deserved.

Man, books used to look so awesome.

Man, books used to look so awesome.

I've talked plenty on this blog about what makes Tolkien such an important author and I don't want to bore you, so here's the SparkNotes version:

  • Though the fantasy genre has existed pretty much since the dawn of fiction (especially if you consider ancient epics like The Epic of Gilgamesh and Beowulf to be fantasy), Tolkien's works of the early to mid 20th century gave meteoric rise to the genre's popularity and inarguably made possible the publication of literally all popular fantasy works since.  Seriously, there is not a single writer in fantasy today who doesn't owe a huge debt to Tolkien.
  • Tolkien's works not only defined a genre, but they also exemplify one of the most difficult and important aspects of fiction: world creation.  The completeness of Middle-earth and its inhabitants, down to such details as histories that have no direct bearing on the plots of the major novels, so specific that Tolkien's languages are equipped with all the trappings of linguistic maturation including etymologies and even dead languages.
  • Tolkien's works and he himself were largely concerned with mythology.  Because of this, his work is not not merely telling a story for its own sake, but recognizing and celebrating a story's significance to the people who told it.
  • This list could literally be infinite, so I'm going to leave it at that for now.

This Tolkien Week, we'll be having our usual Tolkien Quiz contest!  Come in and take the quiz!  The highest scorer will win a fabulous Tolkien-related prize and everyone who takes the quiz will be entered in a raffle for a $20.00 KU Gift Certificate!  So even if you know nothing about Tolkien, you could still win big!


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So, what do you think?