On alternate Tuesdays, Jerry and I meet for an inexpensive dinner with “The Judies” – his sister Judy and her friend Judy, both single ladies. They live in a town nominally 15 miles west of us, and we figured having a meal together on a regular basis was a good way to stay in touch. We’ve done it now for about 2 years and it has worked out well. We all know the menu so well we don’t even have to look at it to place our order.But imagine our surprise when last week we saw a new menu – one I would never, ever expect to find in a place like Denny’s restaurant. All I can say is that whoever heads their creative department sure had a good idea this time. Everyone knows “The Hobbit.”
But I have to confess that while I know “about” them, I have never read the book and couldn’t give you a list of their names if my life depended on it. At my house, crossword puzzles that have squares for Hobbit information go empty and will stay empty. I am not the least bit interested in reading fantasy.
However, that was not always the case. In 1972 the book Watership Down came out. I picked it up and absolutely couldn’t put it down. It was a fantasy. You don’t remember it? Here’s what Barnes and Noble shows:
Fleeing the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their ancestral home, a band of rabbits encounters harrowing trials posed by predators and hostile warrens — driven only by their vision to create a perfect society in a mysterious promised land known to them as Watership Down. First published in 1972 to world-wide rave reviews and now a modern classic, this is a powerful tale about the destructive impact of our society on nature.
Now you have to admit that is fantasy. Were I to re-read it now (which I won’t), I don’t know how I would feel about it. Maybe at this stage in my life, I’m just not “into” it. I used to read science fiction when I was in Junior High School, my favorite author being Robert Heinlein. But it’s like that phase ended and I’ve moved on.
EXCEPT, I do like time travel stories, and as yet they are still in the “fantasy” category. The first one I can recall reading was called “Lady of Hay” (Hay being the town of Hay in Wales on the Wye River). In 1988 we were in Hay and the book was recommended to me there. It had been published in 1986. It too was one that I couldn’t put down, although a second reading some years later didn’t “grab” me like it did the first time. Ah well, that happens.
Since then I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the movie “Kate and Leopold”, the books “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “Her Fearful Symmetry.” All fall into the realm of fantasy but I guess the difference is that a) the latter deals with people as opposed to animals or weird beings, and 2) the “fantasy” part is different – although I really do think “different” is really almost the same.
Anyway, I am not apt at this stage to read The Hobbit, although to add to what cachet I have I probably should. I do put it in a different class than The Harry Potter series; I saw the first movie and decided life wasn’t long enough to bother messing with all that fantasy, people or no people involved.There may be some part of my brain that inexplicably is turned off by all fantasy except time travel. I don’t know why. I do know that I won’t be ordering anything remotely close to Hobbit food off the Denny’s menu. I may be missing out on something WONDERFUL!! But so be it. Seeing such a charming menu is close enough!