One book to rule them all?

This month’s debate over at the Classics Club was:

‘Contemplate your favorite classic to date. When was this book written? Why would you say it has been preserved by the ages? Do you think it will still be respected/treasured 100 years from now? If it had been written in our own era, would it be as well received?

My favourite is without doubt Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.  Published around 1954?  Written as a sequel to The Hobbit it is apparently the second best selling novel ever written (according to Wiki that is) and had a massive impact on not only fantasy in literature but also in artwork, gaming and film playing a major influence on future fantasy works.  Whether it would be as well received if it was written today is difficult to say although I like to think it would.  This book had such a major impact on the fantasy genre that without it it would be interesting to see how fantasy would have developed.  Perhaps another author would have come up with something similar or maybe something in a totally different vein that would have steered this genre in a different direction altogether.  Oh for a time machine!

The books are still very popular and seem to attract new readers all the time – I dare say that in more recent years the popularity of the film franchise has added to the books readership.  In terms of looking ahead I still think the book will be popular.  It doesn’t have anything to really ‘date’ it after all.  It’s a fantasy world – it’s not trying to predict what things will be like in the future and is set in a mediaeval type world that won’t really age.  The story – it’s an adventure, being undertaken against massive odds, to save the world!  What’s not to like??

For me, the writing is just lovely and descriptive, which some people criticise but I actually enjoy.  The characters are amazing.  The author came up with a different language for goodness sake not to mention enough appendices to fill another small book (he’s thorough that’s for sure!).  But ultimately it’s just an excellent story about the fight between good and evil.  I think the added appeal to this is the creation of middle world which along with fantasy creatures such as orcs, wizards, elves, goblins and tree herders also contains regular humans!  I have no idea what the first ever fantasy book is but for me LoTR is my number one classic.  I still love it. It’s preciousss.



12 Responses to “One book to rule them all?”

  1. Michael

    For me, that one classic book is To Kill A Mockingbird.

    Part of it could be that it was never a required reading book during my school days. I kept moving and missed it being part of the curriculum. So, I sought it out and read it for myself and loved it. I’ve read it several times since and each time I fall in love with it just a little bit more.

    • Nathan

      This and Huck Finn are probably the classics I have read more than any other. Well, most Twain.

      • lynnsbooks

        Mark Twain is good – not read any of his books for years – I should perhaps have a reread.
        Lynn 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Michael – you may not believe this but I’ve actually not read To Kill a Mockingbird! How bad is that!! I will do at some point, I simply need to fit it in.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Cathy746books

    I hate to admit it, but I have never read Lord of the Rings. The shame! The good news is that it is in the 746 so I’m going to have to get round to them sometime!

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I don’t think you’re on your own! They are a large undertaking – but they’re good. I suppose you have to like fantasy, not to mention a lot of world building and description.
      Lynn 😀

  3. jenclair

    There is no better fantasy than Tolkien’s. I love many genres and many authors, but fantasy is a favorite, and Tolkien is the best. In more recent fantasy, I love Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, the first in the Farseer Trilogy.

    • lynnsbooks

      Assassin’s Apprentice was a great book. I have nos 2 and 3 waiting to be read and I’m really looking forward to them.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Delia (Postcards from Asia)

    One of my favorite books and my favorite movie! It’s good the movie wasn’t made until now when we actually have the technology for all those wonderful special effects (I remember the walking trees, lovely). Can you imagine a movie made 20 or even 30 years ago?

    • lynnsbooks

      I love this – books, and strangely enough, I equally love the films and you’re right, it’s lucky that they got made now with all the special effects technology. Actually there was an animated film made of LoTR quite a long time ago (and also one of the Hobbit). Unfortunately the LoTR film only lasted until Helms Deep and didn’t continue – maybe it wasn’t popular enough – although it was quite good.
      Lynn 😀

  5. jessicabookworm

    Great minds have similar taste. I chose The Hobbit as my favourite classic. While I love Lord of the Rings I find I don’t re-read it so often as I do The Hobbit.

    • lynnsbooks

      Haha, I don’t think anyone would reread the LoTR too much – it’s too big isn’t it! i do love it and reread it a couple of years ago. And, yes, great mind to have similar taste and think alike. 😀

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