October 30 is a day our family has been waiting for a year. Our youngest son Noble’s book, The Wisdom of the Shire, will be released today in the US. Editions in the UK, Brazil/Portugal, Finland, Bulgaria, Spain, France and Italy will soon follow. it’s a big deal to get a book published by a major publisher. An even bigger deal to sell foreign rights and have the work translated. So, we are proud as punch.
Prouder still of the content of the book because it has real value. The Wisdom of the Shire could be the guidebook for the entire Transition Town Movement. Briefly, the Shire wisdom speaks to the lessons to be learned from the small creatures (Hobbits) created by JRR Tolkien in his much read and reread book The Hobbit and elaborated in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Most people see The Hobbit and TLOTR as a fantasy/adventure packed with amazing heroes and villains and imaginative settings. Tolkien created an entire world, even languages, and piqued the imagination of generations of readers.
Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious but Noble has shown some real genius in distilling life lessons from the behavior and habits of the Hobbits that would benefit all of us if we would pay attention and apply them to our own life. In a series of short essays, Noble details how Hobbits “walk the walk”—quite literally as Hobbits love to walk. They are connected to their environment and their locality (the Shire), to their food which they grow themselves, to friendship and community, to hearth and home. Chapter 1 is titled, “How Snug is Your Hobbit Hole?” You can read it here.
The Wisdom of the Shire tells us that “Your true home is inside your heart and stays with you wherever you go, but a nice snug room is a lovely thing to come back to.”
The Hobbits can teach us many things about integrity, dealing with others, managing our obsessions (“Bearing the Burden of Your Ring”), singing, partying and dealing with the more powerful.
In his introduction, well-known fantasy writer and acknowledge Tolkien expert Peter Beagle writes: “The Wisdom of the Shire reminds the reader that our world isn’t—or doesn’t have to be—all that removed from Middle-earth, the Shire and the Party Tree.”
You’ll find value in The Wisdom of the Shire whether or not you are a Tolkien fan. And, if you’ve been confused about what I’ve been trying to get across in this blog, Noble’s book will explain whatwe need to do as a individuals and a community to make ourselves ready for an uncertain future.