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  • Ryanne Harper

Showing Gratitude: The Hobbit

It's time for Thanksgiving, y'all. I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. And it's only, like, ninety-three percent about the food. So, what better way to celebrate than by talking about books that have impacted my life, books that came along at just the right time. Books that, ultimately, I'm thankful for.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Of all of Tolkien's books, The Hobbit is, and always will be, my favorite. My mom's copy, specifically. She has the illustrated edition from 1989. My first introduction to The Hobbit was her reading it to me while I stared in wonder at the pictures of Gollum who, even as a child, I pitied. The gorgeous drawings of Smaug. Gandalf and his killer smoke rings. And Bilbo, our reluctant little hero. I adored Bilbo and, to this day, he is my favorite character from Middle Earth. I relate to Bilbo in that I do enjoy eating multiple times a day and I get flustered when company comes over unexpectedly.

While I love and adore this book, I chose it because what I love most about it is the memories of my mom reading it to me. Sure, the story is fantastic and engaging, but she knew that, at seven-years-old, the illustrations were where it was at for me. I have since reread my old paperback copy of The Hobbit many, many times. And I always, always wish it was my mom's illustrated copy instead.

I was introduced to reading at a very young age. We spent a good amount of time at the library when I was little. So much that, when I did actually own books, I made check out cards for them and crudely pasted them into the front covers. Because I thought all books should have check out cards. Then I would pretend check them out to myself. This is what only children do. They pretend to be multiple people and just reenact events from their lives. At three, four, five-years old, my life experiences were limited, so I played library by myself all the time.

The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition is my first memory of "reading" a true grown-up book. Sure, I was reading chapter books on my own, but nothing so massive as The Hobbit. So, I guess, what I'm actually thankful for is my mom instilling a love of books and reading in me at a very young age. She also let me me make my own decisions about what books I chose to read. Sure, there was some guidance but, for the most part, I had free reign. It's really stuck with me and, now, reading, writing, and shelving books part-time at the library is my actual career. A dream come true for a kid like me who was, and continues to be, obsessed with books.

#thankful #TheHobbit

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