The Father Christmas Letters by JRR Tolkien

Title: The Father Christmas Letters
Author: JRR Tolkien
Genre: Children’s Book
Length:  111 pages
Rating Out of 5: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Children all across the world write letters to Santa every December. But how many kids get letters back? If you happen to be the children of beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien, you receive a letter every year from Father Christmas himself.

Father Christmas writes to the Tolkien children throughout the 1920’s and 30’s, telling them tales of the bumbling North Polar Bear, the logistics of traveling all around the world in just one night, and the ever present threat of goblin attack. Each letter is accompanied by wonderful illustrations of the adventures (and sometimes misadventures) of Father Christmas and his helpers.

Opinion:The Father Christmas Letters is a must-read for Tolkien lovers and anyone else who loves a good adventure!

Bodleian Library

On the fourth of July we traveled to Oxford, England to visit the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Oxford has been one of my favorite places to visit so far. Oxford was the stomping ground for several of my favorite authors including: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and more. Also a few Harry Potter scenes were filmed at the Bodleian and we got to see where the scenes were filmed and hear some stories from the staff.

Ok, but back to the Bodleian. The Bodleian Library is one of the world’s best libraries. It houses over 11 million items and they only recently got a barcode system! Since 1600, they have received a copy of every book published in Britain. They have four copies of the Magna Carta and a special collection of 250,000 titles. The collection grows by 3,000 items a week receiving magazines, newspapers, fiction, and nonfiction. They are astoundingly about half-way through digitizing the collection. Thankfully they are working with Google to put all the text out of copyright on the internet.

Once they finish the refurbishment of a nearby building, the “new” Bodleian will house 3 million of the library’s texts in a central location. Additionally, they’ll have a public exhibition space, which will be phenomenal because the Bodleian is not a lending library. The library impressively employs 500 staff members, 40 in the restoration department, all with a £6 million budget. These numbers are a far cry from the library’s beginning. The library was originally founded through a donation of 250 manuscripts by Prince Humphrey. Above the Old Divinity School, they built a library to hold what was at the time a very large collection. But, soon a little thing called “print” came into fashion and the library of manuscripts was neglected. Then Mr. Bodley came along. Thomas Bodley asked the chancellor if he could refurbish the library (with his own money!) and the chancellor agreed. Sir Christopher Wren worked to reinforce the library’s supporting arches and Bodley created the first floor to ceiling shelving in England.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the library, but here are a few I snapped from the outside:

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