"The old that is strong does not wither": An #OpenBook

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

Time for another round of "An Open Book" linkup via Carolyn Astfalk!  I've already made a new acquaintance in the blogging world through this linkup, so I'm looking forward to another round this month.

If you didn't guess from the quote, I've returned to an old favorite: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  My copies, a gift from my parents in pre-teen years, are starting to wear.  The paperback covers' plastic layer is peeling at the edges, and the pages are yellowing.  After I first devoured these books, I read them religiously at least once a year until highschool.  Then, new literary discoveries and many musical obligations, followed by a cell phone and college applications, combined to distract me from picking the trilogy up again.  College killed my reading habit until senior year, so it's taken me until now to rediscover the beauty of this epic adventure.  And it has been quite a good experience reading the books again after four years of training in literary analysis and the liberal arts!  

With all due respect to my good friends who couldn't get through Tolkien, and to all the other fantastic authors who I heartily enjoy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy still takes first place in my list of favorite books.  There are many reasons: Tolkien's craftsmanship and world-building, for one; his use of language; the God's-eye-view that gives you a thorough understanding of a wide variety of characters; his take on the ultimate battle between good and evil.  There are gems of quotable wisdom on almost every page, and some scenes that I just keep turning back to time and again.  I think what I love the most, though, is the fact that after the fifteenth reading of these books, I discover new layers and new depths of truth and beauty amidst a just-plain-exciting story.

In non-fiction, I'm close to finishing Lisa Hendey's The Grace of Yes, which I've been delighted with.  While I've yet to figure out why the cover features a goldfish, I've learned a lot about myself through Lisa's perspective on self-giving.  When I went to college, and lately as I've been facing the challenges of the independent life, I've discovered just how much I am wired for service.  What I need, though, and what Lisa's book has helped with, is to discover how I can hone my natural impulses to serve God and my neighbor in the best way possible.  I'd be curious to see the same theme dealt with for young adults, since Lisa writes from a more mature, motherly perspective.

What's on your reading list?  Join the linkup!


  1. I've yet to read Lisa's book, but one can never go wrong with Lord of the Rings. :)

    The Starving Inspired

  2. Thanks for linking up - and so happy to hear you found a new blog acquaintance though it. Yay! I admit to having only read a third of the LOTR trilogy. Eventually I'll return to it. And The Grace of Yes I very much enjoyed. The goldfish - Lol! Not sure of its significance either, but I think they came up with a name and hashtag for the little critter.

  3. I tried reading LOTR in 3rd grade. Again in 6th. Again in 8th. Again in high school. Again in college. It wasn't until my late 20s, when the movies were threatening to appear, that I forced myself to finish all three books. It was... rough going. Frustrating, too, because in all my writing pursuits at the time, I was assaulted with, "show don't tell," and here was JRRT doing loooooooots of showing. In the end, though, they gained a place in my heart and on my "keepers" bookshelf.


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