The Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and The Silmarillion, all by J.R.R. Tolkein, all make for good summer reading, especially for young adults.

Here are some facts about Tolkein’s books that you may not have known:

1. Tolkien’s son drew the book’s maps of Middle-earth.

2. The Lord of the Rings wasn’t supposed to be a trilogy.

3. The book almost centered on the adventures of Bingo Baggins.

4. The first U.S. paperback version of The Lord of the Rings was pirated.’

5. The cover artist for the Ballantine (paperbacks) never even read the books.

6. Tolkien originally pitched The Silmarillion as his follow-up to The Hobbit.

7. Tolkien briefly started work on a proper Lord of the Rings sequel. He even gave it a tentative title: “The New Shadow.”

8. Due to original length of Lord of the Rings Tolkein thought no one would read it though so it was split into three books

Phoenix Books has both new and used copies of Tolkein’s books.

School is out and it is important to keep younger ones reading during summer.

Parents can make reading important to their children by helping them  understand what they read is just as important as teaching them to read.

The bookstore has several kinds of used chapter books for children as well as books for young adults.

“The Independent Bookseller” will be a regular feature of The Westside Express.

Joanne Hoeffer

Joanne Hoeffer, an independent bookseller, has been the owner and operator of Phoenix Books in Los Banos for the past three decades. Her email is