Obsessive about Books
Okay, so the blog title is a bit of “duh” for anyone who knows me. Yes, I am totally obsessive about books. But at least I work in publishing, where it’s a bit more normal than the rest of the world, where – I’m convinced – no one actually reads anything anymore (which will in turn cause problems for the publishing industry, so I should enjoy my job while I can). A bit of a tautological leap there, but moving on!
Right now I am interested in re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien. But first I have to state a few things: 1) I passionately loved the books. 2) I only saw the first movie. 3) I hated it. Not because it was a bad movie, but any means – it was amazing and creative and visually stunning … but it’s not MY version of the story.
I read the books for the very first time when I was in third grade (in Mrs. Severson’s class). I can still point out to you what shelf in the library they were kept on (on the low shelves under the window by the hallway, in the second section from the left on the top shelf). (Yes, I am a freak.) These books had a big impact on my life. I was only 9 years old, but I “discovered” this amazing new world – no one else I knew of had ever read or heard of Tolkien (remember this was back in the 80s) – it was long before the movies were even a twinkle in Peter Jackson’s eye. I think I re-read the books at least every year since thing (until the movies came out, anyway) – so at least 10 or 12 times. I would periodically mention them to other people, and most just rolled their eyes or called me a geek for liking such arcane/weird/British things (and yes, those are three were synonymous to that particular social group).
You can tell that I have a very personal connection to the tale, and when the movies came out I was really heartbroken because suddenly this special little thing that was just all mine was POPULAR – and wildly so. I felt a bit like my favorite band had sold out, except on a more personal level. My private diary was open to the world – MY elves and dwarves and hobbits were everywhere, but I didn’t want to share them! ARGH!! I tried to keep an open mind when I saw the first movie, but really I was disappointed because I had pictured things just a little bit differently. Gandalf was nice, but in my mind he was scruffier. Frodo was okay, but he should have been more tubby. Samwise was faithful alright, but I thought he was made of sterner stuff, both physically and emotionally. I decided NOT to see the second two movies, and I won’t be going to see The Hobbit if it ever comes out, because I want to try and preserve my imagination and how I read/experience the books.
Which brings me to my current obsession. I want to re-read the trilogy, but I only want to read THE SAME VERSION that I read for the first time. Crazy? Obsessive? Yes. I know. I acknowledge and take full responsibility for that. BUT … what if a different version/copyright of the books HAS A DIFFERENT ENDING? As an editor, I know how much gets changed in an edit. And I’ve seen how books get altered for the American or UK markets. So what if the version I read now is different than what I remember? Have you ever thought of that? The only way to make sure you have the same experience is to read THE SAME BOOK. Literally. (At this point I’m debating if I need therapy.) So short of calling my elementary school and begging them to see if they still have the copy from 1989 (which I doubt), I turn to the internet to find out. Obviously I didn’t note the publisher or ISBN from when I read it in third grade (now THAT would be crazy!)
But I do have a remarkable memory, and I can swear to you that I read the edition with these covers:
Now my mission begins – to find out who published this edition, when, and how I can hold of a copy! Any suggestions?
UPDATE: it’s the 1988 Hougton Mifflin edition, and I’ve just ordered the complete set from abebooks.co.uk! Yay!
Posted on 25/10/2011, in Book Review and tagged Frodo Baggins, Gandalf, Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, publishing, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.