Looking around my Study, June 18, 2020 – after living a full, and mostly happy life following my dream of being a historian (1967 – 1985 in my head; 1985 to NOW as a professional teacher, writer, and editor, of actual historical studies), I realized that maybe now, I have something to blog about. After reading other’s blogs about about their lives, their writings, and who knows what all, I think it seems appropriate that I blog about where I am now as a historian, as a husband, as a writer, as an editor, and as chief cook and bottle washer.
Two concepts immediately come to mind. Laying directly above my keyboard are two paperbacks – the first books I ever bought. Written by someone called A.H. Parr back in ’40s, they encapsulate my reading life. Understand that I am an avid, a rabid, a voracious reader – yet also I am a SLOW reader. The first of the two is “The Hurricane Hurler”, a baseball story, which I did read back in 1959 (3rd Grade). Other than being a baseball story about a high school pitcher, I don’t remember much about it. The second of the two is “The Mountains Moved”, a story about Indians and Calvary – unfortunately a story I never read. But I still have the books, and have carried them from my childhood home in the city to the suburbs, to college dorms and apartments, to the six consecutive homes I have shared with my lovely and loving wife. And now they share an honored – if only half read – place in my Study.
My wife of course brings to mind the other concept mentioned above. One of her framed photos shares a shelf with the other book I wish to write about today. This is the top shelf of a mahogany secretary/bookshelf we bought in earlier days – when we had more money than sense. The book (nor the secretary) are not regrets though. And while not the most costly book in my collection, it is by far the most influential book I have ever had the pleasure to read. It is a single volume edition, bound in red leather, and is the first printing (in this format) of what I consider to be the apex of 20th century British Literature. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. What can one say about this work that hasn’t been said. Here, let it suffice to say that this book in this spot in the Study holds the most revered and honored place. And to share how influential it was, it one of only two books I have read in ONE DAY – the other being To Catch a Mockingbird. Yes, all 1000 plus pages in One Day !!!
And finally, I will end this introduction to the life of a historian and writer with my humble – and now newly revised and greatly expanded – contribution to the corpus of historical knowledge.
This may sound crazy, but do not purchase this one – the newly revised and greatly expanded volume will be out in a few months.