Today J. R. R. Tolkien would have been 123 (beating Bilbo, who celebrates his 111th birthday at the beginning of Lord of the Rings).
While growing up, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were the only books my dad ever read, and I was honoured when he leant me his very battered copy of The Hobbit when I was 11, which looked a little like this (only more creased and worn):
And inside was an even more beautiful message (I won’t embarrass him by writing the more soppy parts, but the beginning is lovely):
I like old books. Simply because they have a history. I like to wonder who over the years has held it, flicked through its pages, who loved and cared for it, or if it just got forgotten, left on a shelf somewhere.
There is something wonderful about an old book. Old messages scribbled on covers capture my imagination the most. For me the book becomes more personal. A token of love and adoration that continues being long after the person who wrote it. It becomes a physical manifestation of an emotion frozen in time.
And so, that is what I am doing here.
I hope this new book becomes an old book.
It’s only had a couple of reads and still looks pretty new, but this book is on its way to becoming an old one, with it’s scrawled message inside preserved for whoever owns it after me.