A tale of woe and bathtubs

Today, I share with you the story of how I’ve come to possess 3 (soon to be 4) copies of The Lord of the Rings.

Back in 1998 I started high school, and I was taking journalism with this young teacher named Van Wyk. I absolutely adored Van Wyk, he was  wiry, skinny, vaguely dangerously Russian looking — what I would now refer to as a hipster. I have no idea why he was teaching high school in my podunk hometown, but my life is better for it.

I used to stay after school in Van Wyk’s room. He’d grade papers and talk to me as I dazzled him with the incredibly deep things I thought about as a teenager, which looking back upon makes me cringe.

One afternoon he told me I should really read Lord of the Rings because he was positive I’d like it, and there was a movie being made so I should hurry to read it before the movie spoiled the book.

That year I asked for Lord of the Rings and got it for Christmas. I am about to show the world pictures of this book that will probably make librarians cry. I’m going to preface this sorry display by saying: 1. I’ve read this book 20+ times by this point, and 2. I now know it was probably a bad idea to read a book of this magnitude 20+ times while bathing. Please don’t hunt me down and murder me for crimes against literature.

i actually found the dust jacket for this copy after having lost it for at least 8 years. it doesn’t look so bad from this angle.

My husband’s reaction to me finding the dust jacket: “Well it’s a bit fucking late for that.”

The spine is broken, the back cover not even attached. An entire signature has fallen out.

i mean, look at this shit. i….

…am so…

… ashamed.

For reference, that’s my waterlogged copy next to a brand new copy. I think that’s approaching the thickness of a George R.R. Martin book now.

So for Christmas, my loving husband bought me what is now going to be known as the “non-bathtub copy” of Lord of the Rings. It’s the fancy American 50th anniversary edition.

Leather cover, slipcase, foil stamping (!!!)

Crazy fold out 2 color map of Middle-Earth! It also has full color illustrations by Tolkien inside.

This was my Christmas present to myself. I’ve wanted this Alan Lee illustrated edition since learning that a lot of the frames from Peter Jackson’s movie were pulled directly from illustrations in this edition.

I didn’t realize that this was the “Centennial edition” when I purchased it. It’s by far my earliest edition. I’m looking forward to reading it through and maybe spotting some editing inconsistencies.

Look! iI’s almost exactly the scene from the movie where Frodo and Sam capture Gollum. except Frodo doesn’t have dreamy eyes.

 

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