Tolkien treasury № 2

— Clare Moore

30 June 2021 | Amon Hen, № 289: June, 2021, 15

I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was in third grade, but I won’t tell you how long ago that was. My family owned a three-volume copy paperback set illustrated by Alan Lee. You know the ones. When Peter Jackson’s films came out, my aunt gave me a mass-market paperback set with movie stills on the covers. Another Christmas my mother gave me a one-volume edition that became the copy I read every year and filled with notes. When I moved from California to New York City for college I left all of my books at home and soon missed them so much that I went to The Strand and bought another copy of The Lord of the Rings to have in my dorm. When I went to Oxford for the first time I bought another set so I would have an edition from the source.’ By the time I settled in Washington D.C. I had acquired a small library of Tolkien books, including multiple copies of The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and reference books about Tolkien’s world. It was quite the collection, though I didn’t view it as a collection yet. I just thought I had a lot of Tolkien books for one person. Then I started a job at a library whose mission is to collect and preserve the books and papers of George Washington, America’s first president. To be clear, I am not a librarian, let alone an archivist, but every day I watch these experts hard at work in our library. They search for new titles to acquire, preserve each volume, help researchers handle them properly, and educate the public about the importance of this collection and others like it. It makes me wonder: what is the difference between a bunch of books and a collection? …

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date recorded 📅2022-01-27
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