I read Lord of the Rings every year. Usually around Christmas, I get the urge to pick up the well-worn, tatty books with the tea-stains and dog-eared pages and scuffed covers and indulge myself in Tolkien-esque joy.
I go for a coffee and a gossip with S from my old job every week – there’s a Café Nero in our Waterstones that’s always quiet and does a pretty good cup of tea. Both being writer-types, we then proceed to nose around the bookshop, S in the poetry section and myself dipping into the guilty pleasure of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. The last time we went; after rummaging around the 3 for 2 tables (noting that Room by Emma Donoghue is on offer), I went to the back corner of the shop. Nestled between Fiction and Crime, Sci-Fi and Fantasy doesn’t occupy too much room, but it is a little piece of treasure.
And here is the treasure I found! Mr Bliss by J.R.R. Tolkien. Written and illustrated by the great man himself for his children, it has never before been published. It tells the story of Mr Bliss, who wears very tall hats. I know it’s technically a children’s picture book and I shouldn’t be so excited about it, but I really am. I love this book! It’s so