Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Father Christmas Letters by JRR Tolkien

When JRR Tolkien's children were young, and they wrote letters to Father Christmas, he thought to play a game with them and have Father Christmas write them back. This began when they were very young and Tolkien continued this over some years until they became too old do to it; until the fantasy wore off. However, the letters from both parties were kept as what was written in them had begun to shape into a story for the children to follow. Tolkien had included drawings and detailed descriptions of Father Christmas with his Reindeer and where he lived during the year. This is a very special book to have in any collection of a Tolkien fan; particularly if you have the hardcover green book (which is sadly out of print now). However, I've been able to find 5 copies on with prices ranging between $31.00 and $300.00 all in fine condition. But all is not lost! You can acquire a miniature 3-book lot of this book in its own case wrapped in plastic (which I received a few years ago; and I've kept it in its wrappings to keep it in good shape).

I'm a very big fan of JRR Tolkien and have been collecting his work over the last decade or so. In coming posts, I will review a few books that have been hard to find or were a limited print run so you know what to look out for in case you wish to take up the thrilling - and rather addictive - hobby of hunting for rare and out of print books.

JRR Tolkien (1892-1973) was a major scholar of the English language, specialising in Old and Middle English. Twice Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, he also wrote a number of stories, including most famously The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in a pre-historic era in an invented version of the world which he called by the Middle English name of Middle-earth. This was peopled by Men (and women), Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and of course Hobbits. He has regularly been condemned by the Eng. Lit. establishment, with honourable exceptions, but loved by literally millions of readers worldwide.

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