‘Wisdom of the Shire’ is a ‘self-help’ book that highlights all sorts of connections between Tolkien’s sub-created world of Middle-earth and our own. In particular it uses examples from Tolkien’s writing to show how much we can learn from the hobbits - their bravery, loyalty, sense of fun, and an appreciation of the simple things in life.
Tolkien himself once said “I am in fact a hobbit in all but size.
He went on to talk about ‘hobbity’ things (trees, waistcoats and mushrooms) that were part of his life, and some others (like French cooking) that weren’t.
It’s probably one of Tolkien’s most explicit statements of just how closely he identified with his own hobbit creations.
Given that The Lord of the Rings has enriched so many people’s lives, I’m surprised there aren’t more books like ‘Wisdom of the Shire’ out there. Not a dry, critical analysis, but rather a light-hearted exploration of Tolkien’s world and how it relates to ours. For some reason it reminds me a little of Eglerio! In Praise of Tolkien or possibly even the quirkier Good News From Tolkien’s Middle Earth (sic), if only for the sense of the author’s great affection for Tolkien’s works.
Noble Smith is an award-winning playwright, video game writer and author of the fantasy novels Stolen from Gypsies. Check out his blog at shirewisdom.com.
Noble was also kind enough to send me a free copy of his book for answering a Tolkien trivia question on Twitter. (Damn those Mewlips!!)
Title: The Wisdom of the Shire
Subtitle: A Short Guide To A Long And Happy Life
Author: Noble Smith
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Year of Publication : 2012
Edition: (Great Britain) 1st ed 1st imp
Hardback with dustjacket