|This is the version of the paperback|
that I'm reading to Joy right now.
As I have recently noted, I've been reading the story to my little three year-old daughter, and while that reading has been fraught with its own set of challenges, it's been fun and enlightening for me, too. Passages that, when reading to myself, I would've quickly read over and moved past, I've found myself having to dwell over to explain, and it's generated a new appreciation and outlook on the book that I previously did not have.
I also think I can safely say that, without The Hobbit, I'm not sure that I would have gotten into role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons specifically, or even fantasy in general.
I remember first reading The Hobbit over the Summer while spending a long "vacation" at my grandma's house with my mom and sister. I had brought the book with me, which actually belonged to my older sister but which she had long-since abandoned, and read it late at night using a flashlight.
What I don't remember is how I heard of The Hobbit originally, although there's a chance it may have been the Rankin-Bass animated version that aired on TV in 1977. I would've been between six and seven years old then (depending on when exactly it aired, which I don't remember). I also don't remember why my sister had the book and who bought it for her.
In any event, reading The Hobbit helped to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation of fairy tales and fantasy in me. I spent the next few years in school, in 4th and 5th Grade, devouring Greek mythology, Aesop's Fables, and the legends of King Arthur, along with, of course, Star Wars. So, a couple of years later, in a completely different city and state, when I met a group who was into stuff like Conan, John Carter of Mars, Heavy Metal (the comic), and D&D at my school, I was hooked. The D&D game fit right in with my sense of fantasy as originally developed by the good Professor.
It's fitting that today, September 21st, also marks my birthday, so I raised a glass of ale to good Professor Tolkien at lunch today with my daughter and my mom, and thought a bit about how his simple story of a hobbit "in a hole in the ground" helped to shape a lot about my current life - I would not have the same strong group of friends I have today had I chosen not to spend my evenings squirreled away at my Grandma's house reading The Hobbit all those years ago.
Hanging: Home office on borrowed MacBook Pro
Drinking: Eagle Rock Double IPA at lunch about an hour ago
Listening: "Road to Benares" (Bombay Dub Orchestra Remix) by Thunderball