All the Time in Our World, The Lord of the Rings and Louis L'Amour

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I wonder if any publisher would touch "The Lord of the Rings" today? Those of us who are die-hard fans of the original books (I've read them through 6-8 times now and have friends who have read them once a year for three-plus decades) have probably all tried to talk a friend--even a "reading" friend--into reading them and been rebuffed. The usual reason I get is, "They're so slow!"

"The Hobbit" starts with a knock on the door. Then a whole lot more knocks on the door. Then some dwarves. This is going to be GOOD! But then, they spend several pages eating.

"The Fellowship of the Ring" starts with, in theory, a party. But it's a while before they really get to the party and, even when they do, not a whole lot happens at the party--from the persepctive of many readers. Not me. I pick up "LOTR" and start reading a single sentence and before I know it I've been there for over an hour and have read several chapters.

But I have come to the conclusion that I am an anomoly. Mark Twain said a classic was something, "Everyone praises but no one reads." Nothing could describe "LOTR" better. Even before the movies, I knew a lot of people who could talk for hours about hobbits, orcs and what-not, but had never actually read the books. Or, at least, not all of them. They had seen the cartoons, had read a couple chapters for high school Brit Lit, and had heard enough from nerds--I mean, "astute readers"--like myself to carry a conversation about "LOTR" but they had never actually read it because--when they tried--they were bored. These were not necessarily stupid people. I'm sure some of them were; it's the law of averages. But some of them were college grads and doctors and other learned people, but they only liked "LOTR" in theory, not in practice. The reason being, always, "It's too slow."

For a LOTRphile like myself, that's part of the attraction. A Louis L'Amour book is an evening or two in the country, but LOTR is a vacation. For the evening or two that it usually takes me to read a LL, I am happily transported to the frontier, but for the couple weeks it takes me to read LOTR, I am on an extended vacation in Middle Earth. I'm standing on Amon Sul and gleaning tidings from Dol Amroth. I'm slogging through the Dead Marshes and wandering the caves behind Helm's Deep. I like that. I don't want it to go any faster. In fact, I want to stay another night on the barrow downes or give the Redhorn Gate another try.

I'm saying all this to clue in my readers: if the Garison Fitch stories are LL, then [while I don't consider myself a master on par with LL or JRRT] "All the Time in Our World", is LOTR. That's the pacing I was shooting for. If you go into the book with that in mind, I think you'll like it better and, maybe, even come to enjoy it more than Garison Fitch.

(Go, right now, and order "All the Time in Our World" on Amazon. Part 1 is $2, you can read it right on your computer, and--maybe you'll get a few minutes of vacation [in the land of Nid!].)