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Why a hobbit hole?

As a freshman in high school, I shared a locker with a good friend (her name was, strangely enough, Karyn]. At one point she happened to leave a copy of Tolkien's The Hobbit in our locker. It looked interesting, so I got her permission to borrow it. I was hooked.

I immediately checked out the next couple of books from the library to supplement my Christmas vacation reading material and lost myself in Middle Earth, something I do again every couple of years.

Unfortunately, I had underestimated either my reading speed (easy to do, I'm a fast and voracious reader), or the ability of Tolkien to capture my imagination, because I ended up a few days before Christmas finishing The Two Towers without The Return of the King on hand. Those of you who are familiar with the series will understand that book two leaves Frodo and Sam in Mordor with Frodo captured and Sam with the ring. This was the same torture placed upon TV watchers with the cliff hanger making you come back in the fall! I didn't know how I'd manage until school opened in January. Fortunately, Santa Claus heard my plea and placed a boxed set of the series under the tree for me so I was able to finish the saga.

The series spoke to me on many levels, not the least of which was to do with my height. I'm a very short individual - under 5' tall. The competence of these "halflings" assured me that my physical stature would not ultimately impact whether I was able to "be someone." The temperamental similarities could also not be ignored.

While I admit for a time I might have (like many teens) gone overboard in my love of Tolkien and fantasy, it opened my eyes to an area of fiction I hadn't previously been introduced to. While my reading skills were fine, I think I have to say this was the first literature for adults I had really enjoyed and completely understood.

Thank you, Professor Tolkien, for giving me the Shire, Middle Earth, and Bilbo Baggins. I wouldn't have been the same person without them.