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An Unexpected Gift, by Tiffany Grimm

Library Assistant Tiffany Grimm reflects on the precious bonds created by a favorite book. This post is part of 805’s “My Home Library” blog series that features posts by writers and artists enjoying their home libraries. Since 805 is published by the Manatee County Public Library System, and since many libraries are closed due to the pandemic, we hope this blog series will help people show off their home libraries, find comfort in books, and feel a connection to the library during this difficult time.

Once upon a time, roughly 80 years ago, a man named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien published a book titled The Hobbit. It achieved critical acclaim, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and was awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction.

Green leatherette slip case and book binding with gold and red foil imprints on spine and face.
The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien

Many years later, my father found The Hobbit and read it. He fell in love with Tolkien’s work and like many teenage boys in the 70’s, he devoured the books. He was swept away in the high fantasy stories written by a linguistic genius. Tolkien not only managed to create whole worlds and characters but whole languages.

Sometime after 1989 my father found the most beautiful copy of The Hobbit. How I loved to look through the book! It was the epitome of beautiful in my eye. It evoked old fantastical libraries from far away lands. A perfect cover for a book that swept one away to a fantastical far away land.

Then, in 2001, a little movie called The Fellowship of the Rings was released to movie theaters. As one who does not enjoy going to the movies, I was reluctant to go–even if it was Tolkien. My father persuaded me, and we sat in utter captivation as the movie played.

Imagine my surprise and utter delight when my father gifted his copy of The Hobbit to me! I read it to myself, to friends, to family.

It’s funny how a single book can connect so many people. Even on the smallest scale that lovely green book drew a thread from J.R.R. Tolkien to my father to me through to people they will never meet. How many people left my reading aloud of the story and passed it on to others? How far will and has the story travel?

But isn’t that the point of stories? To weave us all together, connect us through universal hurts and hopes? If so, then Mr. Tolkien managed it. Not just on a universal scale–but within my tiny circle of family and friends.


Tiffany Grimm is a library assistant with Manatee Libraries. She's lived all over the US, is an avid reader, a hopeful writer, and obsessed with tea and chocolate.


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