Monday, May 17, 2010

The Tolkien Family Album - John & Priscilla Tolkien

The Tolkien Family Album
John and Priscilla Tolkien
Copyright: 1992

The Tolkien Family Album is a short (96 page) biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, written by two of his children (or so the family tree in the front cover of the book strongly suggests). As the title suggests, the book is set up in such a manner as to mimic a photo album, and it's the photos and other pictures that really make the book shine for people of all ages. Photographs, handwritten notes, drawings and more are all there, displayed on the pages.

Textwise, you're not likely to find much new material on Tolkien himself if you've read the Humphrey Carpenter biography of J.R.R. Tolkien (which many regard as the gold standard), but the two authors have included quite a bit about Edith Tolkien, and a number of their own rememberances of their father. The text in this book also seems to be rather geared towards children, perhaps nine to twelve years old, but it's still a charming, if quick read for any fan of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The other item of significance is that the Tolkien Family Album was put out for the centeniary of J.R.R. Tolkien's birth in 1892. I have to say the book is lovely. Well laid out, with what feels to be quality paper on the pages, and the binding is stitched (at least all this is true of the copy I have).

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