Yes, it's a movie tie-in cover. I know there are haters out there who refuse to buy books with movie covers, but I am not one of them. I bought this on the first day of my college Christmas break back in 2001, a few days after I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring and first fell in love with Middle Earth. This book was on sale for $10 at a big-box book store, exactly what poor college student me needed. I love that cover -- the deep blue, the silhouette, the gold writing. Marvelous.
The first time I read through it, I didn't mark anything. It took me three years to read it the first time because I didn't want to know what happened before the next movie came out. So I read only The Fellowship of the Ring that first December, stopping where the movie stops (which is a couple chapters into The Two Towers, but who's counting?). The next December, I read The Two Towers once I'd seen the movie. And the December after that, I finally read The Return of the King after seeing the movie.
And then I didn't read it at all for a year. But then I read the whole thing in 2005. And again in 2006 and 2007. My son was born in 2007, so I ended up skipping a year and not re-reading it until 2009. And then I somehow skipped several years (probably due to the arrival of two more small time-monopolizers), and this read-along is my first time through the books since 2009. I know, because every time I read it, I mark it in the back of the book.
As you can see, I use a different color of pen each time, and that's the color of pen I use when making my notes in the book that year. Yes. I write in my book. A lot. I underline, I make notes, I cross-reference stuff, I draw little symbols in the margins. Which means some pages now look like this:
|(Hmm, guess who's speaking there, that he gets 5 colors of underlining?)|
I think that page has all five colors of ink on it! Not sure how many are like that -- most pages just have one note, maybe two. Many pages have none.
Why do I mark up my copy like this? Well, it makes it easier to find parts I love. If I see stars or hearts, I know that's something I think is important or that I love.
This particular smiley heart marks the first mention of Boromir:
And I mentioned cross-referencing. Here's how that works. When I read something that reminds me of another part, I go find that part and write down the page numbers on the corresponding pages.
See how that works? It's coming in so handy for this read-along, but it always fascinates me to see how Tolkien weaves all these different threads together, sometimes hundreds of pages apart. In that example above, an idea gets mentioned on pages 50, 356, and 861 -- that's a lot of pages in between! I'm very in awe of that, as a writer.
Finally, this is the bookmark I'm using this time through.
I have two other Boromir bookmarks, both official merch from back when the movies came out. This one is made of metal, the picture is somehow printed on, and it's magnificent. Gets a little fingerprinty once in a while, but a quick swipe on my jeans makes it perfectly shiny again. Got it on Etsy, love it a whole lot.
So... what does your copy look like? Is it yours? A library copy? Do you write in it? Do you have a special bookmark you're using? Please share! Comment here, or even do your own blog post if you like, and link back to it here.