The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Since it seems everyone knows the LOTR story well, I will not give my own summary. Instead, let me tell you how I read it: I found an audio version on YouTube and followed along in my own book. The narrator used dramatic voices, sounds, and music, and there were times I was scared out of my wits. I could not have accomplished that in my own head had I read the book alone; so the audio was definitely effective. I am not a fan of adventure or fantasy fiction, so this was the perfect way to read the book, making the story feel alive.
I have read articles or op-eds about why this is a preposterous way to read, and should not be considered reading by any measure, but I also have to admit that sometimes -- not often -- I read books with classical music playing quietly. Yes, it does enhance the emotional value of the story, especially Tolstoy, and I rather enjoy that; however, I understand how and why it may diminish or limit my own ability to imagine on an emotional level.
Nonetheless, I have to make an exception with this story, and I probably will continue doing it with the remainder of the series. So there!
Let's say you are like me, and you never read LOTR, and you are not confident you will like an adventure or fantasy story; well, this is more than an adventurous story. There is something bigger to tell in LOTR that makes it significant. What is it, I need to learn.
For example, as with most essentially written stories, The Fellowship of the Ring has goodness and righteousness verses wickedness and evil, light against darkness. There are many unique characters, each with special attributes and weaknesses - some wise, some brave, and some extremely loyal - sent to help the reluctant protagonist. Most importantly, the protagonist is being called to have courage, be valiant, and do what is right and necessary. He must rise to the occasion, knowing the forces against him are deadly. It is a frightful decision one has to make, which is how this first book of the trilogy ends.
The Fellowship of the Ring is full of conflict, uncertainty, fantasy, a little humor, loyalty, and companionship. I am ready to find out what happens in the next book, The Two Towers, and most of all, I am hoping to discover the underlying ideas in the story as I venture further into Middle-Earth.