A unique, unprecendented, and altogether remarkable book.

This was a long-awaited rereading. I know The Lord of the Rings very well, having read it many, many times in high school and quite a few times since. In recent years, I' ve avoided revisiting familiar works too often, lest they grow worn, so this rereading, planned in anticipation of the movie, was a special treat, prolonged by a resolution not to read more than one chapter a day.

What is striking is that every character has a unique dialect (and some more fluidly between two or three). Frodo's language is not Merry's or Pippin's; it's subtle, but it's there. When hypertext researcher Hugh Davis explained to me what a Hampshire accent was, I immediately knew it because I recognized The Gaffer.