On this day each year, March 25, fantasy fans participate in Tolkien Reading Day—an honorary day established in 2003 by the Tolkien Society to encourage fans to celebrate the works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favorite passages.
This year, many will engage by re-reading Tolkien-penned favorites, visiting exhibits, and preparing to see the highly anticipated upcoming film, Tolkien, which will be released May 10.
How will you and your book club celebrate Tolkien Reading Day? Read on for free Tolkien-themed events, details about the upcoming film, and ideas for conducting your own book club (or library!) activities—including a Tolkien toolkit and reading list.
Tolkien: the film
Fox Searchlight’s upcoming Tolkien focuses on an adolescent J.R.R. Tolkien as he develops friendships, builds and deepens his courtship to Edith Bratt, and explores his newfound love for writing. The film, set during the fast-approaching First World War, follows Tolkien into early adulthood, examining how deeply the young writer’s life was affected by wartime Britain, and how these experiences influenced his famous Middle-Earth novels.
The film stars actor Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, The Favourite) in the titular role, with Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror, To The Bone) as love interest Edith Bratt.
Book Club Ideas: Consider planning a book club reading (or re-reading) of a Tolkien favorite—then take your club to see the film in theaters as a closing activity. For a Tolkien toolkit with film activity ideas, along with trivia questions and film posters, email Rachel Breinin .
New Lord of the Rings series on Amazon Prime
Amazon acquired the rights to produce at least five seasons of a Lord of the Rings series. The series will reportedly be a prequel set before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, known in the J.R.R. Tolkien timeline as the Age of Númenor, or the Second Age. Though no official release date has been put out yet, you can keep up with the series’ development by following its Twitter page, @AmazingRing.
Prior to Tolkien’s release, there are other Tolkien-themed events taking place around the world:
• Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (through May 12, 2019) – An exhibition of original Tolkien material. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders. Family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion will all be on public display for viewing at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. Exhibition organized by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York with the support of The Tolkien Trust.
• A Special Evening at the Exeter Phoenix – The Tolkien Society will host a Special Evening at the Exeter Phoenix in Exeter, England, with readings, workshops, and a talk by guest of honor Nick Groom.
Book Club Ideas: Can’t make it all the way to England? The Tolkien Society encourages you to perform your own readings and share to their Facebook and Twitter pages—you can also use this platform to discover and connect with international Tolkien fans!
Fantasy-themed book club reads
Finally, if you’ve flipped your way through the whole of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series (seriously, yay you) and find yourself longing for more, The Portalist has a great reading list to start you off. In addition to even more Tolkien fantasy, this list introduces fans to LOTR prequels, commentaries, and even some posthumously-published Tolkien reads.