Thursday 25th March is Tolkien Reading Day 2021 and the theme is Hope and Courage. What will you be reading?
What is Tolkien Reading Day?
Tolkien Reading Day is held on the 25th of March each year. The date of the 25th of March was chosen as the date on which the Ring was destroyed, completing Frodo’s quest and vanquishing Sauron.
It has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. We particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events.
What will you be reading?
The theme for this year’s Tolkien Reading Day is Hope and Courage. You can, of course, read any works by Tolkien – fiction or non-fiction – that you personally enjoy.
Call for local events
For 2021 the Tolkien Society is sending out a call for teachers, lecturers, and librarians around the globe who would be interested in running one or more Tolkien-related activities in their school or library. The Tolkien Society is preparing a series of educational resources that will be emailed to any teachers, lecturers, or librarians who make contact. The resources will allow for them to run a one-off session on Thursday, 25th March 2021 or to organise a series of events throughout March.
Beyond giving young readers an opportunity to engage creatively and critically with Tolkien, there is also an opportunity for schools and libraries to promote the work produced from these events. For 2021, we are partnering with the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow and will be hosting three live Zoom events throughout the day where fans can share what Tolkien means to them.
After the 25th, we are hoping to create a commemorative video that will feature as many diverse voices as possible. It will consist of fans sharing readings and reflections on Hope and Courage in Tolkien’s work and how Tolkien has inspired Hope and Courage in their own lives.
If this is something that you would like to be a part of then please contact the Education Secretary, Will Sherwood, for more information. In your email please mention the name and address of your institute and your role within it.
How else you can participate
Share you stories and photos in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or by following us on Twitter and using the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay. But, most of all, we’d love to see videos of you reading!
Although we are currently facing our own enemy in the shadows, there are ways in which we can continue to enjoy the works of our beloved Tolkien. As the Tolkien Society we do not encourage or condone piracy or breaches of copyright in any way. We advise that any links that are shared on social media pages are those that are legal. Below is a list of possible ways you can enjoy reading or listening to Tolkien this Reading Day.
Whatever you’re doing, take the opportunity to enjoy Tolkien’s works.
1. Library e-book loans
Many libraries are now granting e-book loans (university, college, school and local) so it may be worth contacting them or looking on their websites to find out what you can be loaned. Also liaise with your friends and your closest Smial members about your local options.
Audible houses many Tolkien works, not just The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but other works such as The Fall of Gondolin, The Silmarillion, and Humphrey Carpenter’s Biography. The website also offers a great offer whereby if you set up an account, you can access the website for FREE for the first 30 days as a trial. Your account can then be cancelled on day 29 or 30 (unless you have fallen in love with their services).
The 21st century has given rise to the podcast. In some podcasts, the hosts read out extracts from Tolkien’s texts and discuss them. Perhaps the most well known is The Prancing Pony Podcast – who, additionally, has been providing Reading Day Specials since their first year. However, there are more: The Tolkien Professor and The Tolkien Road to name just two. Tolkien Gateway and Player FM both provide lists of podcast and links can be found on their websites.
4. Amazon’s ‘Look inside’
Amazon is unlike any other. It allows potential buyers to view the ‘first pages’ of a book. This can be done with a whole host of Tolkien books! If you’ve never encountered this feature before, simply locate a copy of the book you wish to read and on the top-right corner of the book cover will be the words ‘look inside’. If you click on the cover, it will open up the book and you can read a small portion of the text. 100% legal. 100% safe.
5. Talk to a friend
This may sound simple, but arranging a call with a friend can be enough just to share your favourite passages and thoughts from Tolkien.