ADVANTAGES

One book on the list that caused me to do that was The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. When I read the trilogy for the first time as a grade-schooler (I can still vividly remember pulling the ornate leather-wrapped books from a corner shelf in my small-town library), it spun my head around. Here was a story that appealed to everything adolescent in me—it had heroes and swordfights and goblins and elves and magic—but that also had me pondering very adult notions: the nature of friendship, loyalty, family, compulsion, power, greed, and ultimately, good and evil.

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