I got this book out of the basement this morning. Haven’t seen this copy for years. I read “The Hobbit” (and all of “The Lord of the Rings”) regularly, but this particular copy has been overlooked. What a shame that was. Look at it — worn, beaten up, stained. In other words, loved.

Books should not be pristine. They should show that their owners have read them — sometimes over and over and over, until pages are falling out. “The Hobbit” is probably my favorite book of all time (and no, the Peter Jackson monstrosity never happened, much like the “Star Wars” prequels. Let’s just move on). No other work captured my young imagination like that one, although I also loved “The Hardy Boys” and the Sherlock Holmes stories growing up. Not like “The Hobbit,” though.

What a wonderful legacy Professor Tolkien left us. His words were magical.

Hmm. Maybe that’s why I write…