My reading habits have changed drastically since I started college. I initially applied with the intention of studying History and English to work in journalism, but quickly I ended up changing my professional track drastically, keeping my history major but having psychology as my primary major and main focus. I have always liked literature, and even outside the classroom I used to read overly complicated and serious books, many of which are known as "classics" of literature. In university though, I began reading less and less as my academic duties took over most of my spare time, and having reading intensive majors, I didn't really feel like reading when I had time to myself. Consequently, most of my reading is limited to my holidays, but now I have found that the only serious books I want to ready are psychology books, and my reading for entertainment is largely dominated by fantasy literature I am probably too old for, historical fiction or silly romances.
As fantasy books remain one of the few aspects of my reading habits that haven't changed over the years, I decided to read some classics of this genre recently, such as Lord of the Ringsand The Hobbit. I don't know if its because of my age, or the fact that I fell in love with other more recent fantasy books before reading J. R. R. Tolkien, but I think I had quite a different interpretation of the series than other people, or at least a different interpretation and feeling than I usually have while reading fantasy.
For starters, although I really enjoyed the series, I didn't find it addictive and compulsively read it until I reached the end. Rather, I found it relaxing to read, appropriate for right before going to sleep. The books read like fairytales to me, with repetitive aspects such as in The Hobbit, when the author constantly writes that Bilbo missed the comforts of his home, or when the dwarves arrive in doubles to Bilbo's house in the beginning of the tale and the again to Beorn's house later on in the stor , or how the third person narrator talks directly to the readers, which makes it seem as though the narrator is reading us a story out loud, and thus puts readers in the position of a child listening to a bedtime story.
The Lord of the Rings series offers readers an escape from reality due to these aspects, but most importantly due to the richness and completeness with which J. R. R. Tolkien creates a whole world within these books. Few authors have managed to create a world so complex and detailed as Middle Earth, and this undoubtedly was an important factor for consolidating the Lord of the Ringsas an all-time fantasy classic.
Somewhat paradoxically though, is the fact that while J. R. R. Tolkien so carefully creates all details of this world, he doesn't really give his characters much personality, with the exceptions perhaps of Bilbo and Sam. Whilst reading The Hobbit, I constantly forgot which dwarf was which, and I can't for the life of me remember who exactly made up the fellowship of the ring. In this aspect, I thought the movie version of the Lord of the Ringswas more effective, as it did focus more than the books did on the relationship between the various characters on the quest to destroy the ring.
For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the movie version of a book more than the book itself, and this undoubtedly was one of the reasons. Another factor was probably that the film was faster paced. While I appreciate the richness of detail in J. R. R. Tolkien's writing, at times I had to force myself to get back to my reading. This could have happened because I didn't take a break in between the three parts of the Lord of the Rings, but then again I don't usually take breaks in between books of the same series.