One thing about working in a library is the very obvious factor that I’m always surrounded by books, the majority of them with wonderful twisting plots, deep narratives, beautifully crafted characters with mystery, good and bad intentions, murder, romance and adventure in mind, non fiction full of instructions, guides, instruments for teaching, behaviour, choosing a second hand car, animals, music sheets, encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibles, fables, history books, poetry, maps and I don’t want to go on further with the thought of you wanting to switch off and turn to a different blog because you know what a damn library is, so I’ll stop there. The point is, it can be quite intimidating with all these books staring back at me and screaming,”READ ME, READ ME, READ ME”. I swear, the f–king things chase me in my sleep and I wake up in torturous cold sweats thinking of all the literature that I haven’t read yet and how I feel I’m cheating and being unfaithful if I pick up and start reading more than one book. The pressure and stress is immense . . . . and then along come the students and teachers and projects! You know my anguish! I desperately want to read the Savage Detectives by Bolano and the Bible pops up and then Robinson Crusoe and I want to scream, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Hailing from Hall Green in Birmingham, I’m very proud to say much of my childhood was spent wandering around Tolkien county, the neighbourhood where Tolkien also grew up and they say based some of his ideas of the Shire on. I think he spent some unhappy years there, as it was this period of his life when his parents passed away. I was given an A* in my A Level media studies course at Bournville College for making a documentary about Tolkien’s life in Brum around the time the Lord of the Ring movies were released. Many thanks have to be given to my parents who drove myself and a very idle, workshy and I think slightly stoned classmate who I won’t name for legal reasons, up to Edgbaston Reservoir and the Oratory to film. I loved it to be honest. However, I have a dark, shameful secret that Pamela kind of picked up upon while watching part two of The Hobbit in the cinema a couple of months ago. She kept asking more awkward questions that I couldn’t answer and then she gave me that knowing, shocked look and exclaimed in the middle of the cinema, “You’ve not read the book!” and then did the loser sign on her forehead, aimed at me. And the worst thing is, she is right. I’ve not read one word of his literature.
Well, this is all about to change thanks to Pammie’s colleague Elizandra who gave me a beautiful vintage hardcover copy of The Hobbit. I absolutely love it and it makes me feel nostalgic seeing the drawing of Tolkien’s face on the back cover, reminding me of the small but refined little museum at Sarehole Mill. Thank you Elizandra, if you’re reading this.