Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien
Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
J.R.R. Tolkien famously penned The Hobbit and the 3-volume novel The Lord of the Rings. Known as “the father of modern fantasy literature,” his writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire genre. In this Christian Encounters biography, learn how Tolkien’s faith was an intrinsic element of his creative imagination, one that played out in the pages of his writings and his life.
I have read much of Tolkien’s works, from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit to the Silmarillion to Roverandom and the Lays of Beleriand, even Sigurd and Gundrun; I have a firm basis in the primary texts of Tolkiendom. But I haven’t read many biographies about him. So when I saw this book on the Booksneeze list, I jumped at the opportunity.
My first surprise about this book was the size. It’s only a little wider and taller than a mass market paperback, and a good deal thinner—easily carried in a purse or backpack. The flexible end-‘papers’ make excellent bookmarks in a pinch, and the text, though small, is easy to read.
The content was also excellent, a well-rounded perspective on one of the great minds of speculative literature, if not the patron saint of Christian fantasy. Covering Tolkien’s life from his childhood in South Africa to his rough courtship with Edith and into his creative life at Oxford, this book is accessible for Tolkien-philes and newcomers alike. It even ends with a chapter covering his legacy among modern culture.
Four of Five stars
Although you probably don’t care, I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their BookSneeze program in exchange for writing and posting an honest review. I was not required to praise the book.