Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Wisdom of the Shire ~ Review

Title: The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life

Author: Noble Smith
Source: Library - but I am going to buy it!

Goodreads Summary:

In The Wisdom of the Shire, Noble Smith sheds a light on the life-changing ideas tucked away inside the classic works of J.R.R. Tolkien and his most beloved creation—the stouthearted Hobbits.

Drawing on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other tales of Middle-earth, Smith shows how a snug Hobbit-hole is actually just a state of mind and how even the smallest person can have the valor of a Rider of Rohan. He explores subjects dear to a Halfling's heart, such as beer, food, and friendship, as well as more serious concerns, such as courage, living in harmony with nature, and good versus evil.

How can simple pleasures such as gardening, taking long walks, and eating delicious meals with friends make you significantly happier? Why is the act of giving presents on your birthday instead of getting them such a revolutionary idea? And how can we carry the burden of our own "magic ring of power" without becoming devoured by it? The Wisdon of the Shire holds the answers to these and more of life's essential questions.

My thoughts:

You know those conversations you have with close friends and family, late at night or on a long car ride, where you start talking about everything and anything? Like the one you might have had with your brother and husband, about what race of character would you be from The Lord of the Rings? Would you be an Elf, a Hobbit, a Dwarf, or a Human? Well, I always thought it would be cool to be an elf in Middle Earth, while my husband and brother always chose Hobbit. I would laugh and ask why. Why Hobbit when the elves had that cool language and had that communion with trees thing and lived in forests? Well, after reading Noble Smith’s book, The Wisdom of the Shire, I would like to take back my answer. I would definitely choose Hobbit.

The movement to eat local and organic, to simplify our lives, live in a sustainable and responsible way is huge right now. Thoreau knew it all those years ago, and wrote about it in Walden. But that seemed like a meager and hard existence. It appears Tolkien had a similar idea, but he shaped this idea, warmed it up, made it cozy and homey, and gave this life to the Hobbits in the Shire.   Smith interprets this way of life for us, and the when I finished his book, I really wanted to move to the Shire. Although I can’t do that, I certainly can take his lessons and apply them to my life.  

The Wisdom of the Shire implores us to take more walks, eat local, plant a garden, get enough rest, make your home a refuge, a place filled with love you want to go back to. To “eat like a Brandybuck, and drink like a Took, “with simple, delicious, nourishing food and, yes, beer. Lol. We learn to love like a Hobbit, and about courage and joy. We learn about giving gifts on your birthday instead of receiving. Smith had a Hobbit birthday once – Hobbits find gifts for others among their own belongings, and wrap them up and give them away on their birthdays. Smith did this one year and he loved it. I think this is something I would like to try next year. 

I really enjoyed this book. I loved all the Hobbit life lessons, and feel that I am going to implement this way of life into my own life. I think it is a worth a read, even if you are not familiar with The Lord of the Rings. And I am totally going to plant a Party Tree and a Hobbit garden.


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  2. Thanks for that awesome review! And how come your Twitter feed is gone? Tried to follow you.

    1. Wow thanks for taking the time to read my review! I really did love your book - I had to laugh at the part where you talked about making your suburban room into a Hobbit hole - it sounds like something I would do! I have told so many people to read your book, I even took it with me to Thanksgiving dinner to show my family. :)

    2. Oh, and I am now following you on Twitter! :)


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