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WOF 268: What Books Did J.R.R. Tolkien Read?

It’s commonly assumed that J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was an arch-conservative, a backward-looking person, and that he valued nothing that smacked of the modern day. But in a groundbreaking new book titled Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages, the first in our Word on Fire Academic line of titles, Dr. Holly Ordway reveals that Tolkien was a much broader reader than previously believed. He was quite familiar with contemporary writers and books, and those modern sources significantly shaped his Middle-earth stories.

Today, Brandon Vogt interviews Holly about her new book and some of the modern writers Tolkien enjoyed.

Pick up your copy of Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages at

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