There and back again
When I was a kid my dad used to read to me and my sister before bed. Mostly he'd read Roald Dahl, The Worst Witch, The Water Babies, Narnia and many other children's classics. I have a vague memory of him reading us the Hobbit and when we (my sister and I) asked for more about hobbits he read us an abridged version of Lord of the Rings (he made up himself). When I was about 8 and my sister 12 I got my own bedroom. My sister thought she was too old to be read to at this point and I was already reading books meant for teenagers. So that was it, no more bedtime stories. At the time I didn't think too much about it but now I think how great it was that my parents really tried.
When I was 11 in my first year of High School (in England High School or Secondary School runs from the age of 11-16), I only had a few friends and thus spent most of my time reading loads and loads. It was then I came across my Dad's copy of 'Lord of the Rings' I think I read the whole thing morning, noon and night for a week. It was totally different to the way I'd remembered it but it was genius. I've never in my life, been more engrossed in a book. I have read it ever year since then, always starting in September (As the book starts and ends in September) and each time I spot things I'd never noticed before. I still read that battered copy of my Dad's, with the pages tapes back in and the corners folding up, its now faded to a deep creamy yellow colour and I look forward to it every year. I do have it in hardback but any other version wouldn't be the same. I have read hundreds of books since, some I love, some I hate, many were awful, a few were funny but nothing else comes close to this. When I open that copy I actually feel like I'm one of the characters getting ready to set out on the journey...and if I don't keep my feet there is no telling where I'll be swept off to.