Review: A Dictionary of Tolkien by David Day 

by Rachel Fowler

Inklings Bookshop is proudly named after the literary discussion group that informally met at Oxford University in the 1930’s and 40’s to talk about their latest work and share ideas. This group included the renowned authors J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis among many others. Tolkein, who wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,  and Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, are probably the best known in the Inklings group. At our store we have a whole section devoted just to works from these authors and are always interested in new editions of their books or books about them. This is where I found my new favorite book, The Dictionary of Tolkien by David Day. 

A Dictionary of Tolkien was a fantastic read, mesmerizing in its execution of simplifying and expanding my knowledge on the world of Tolkien’s creation, Middle-earth. The author does an amazing job of enlightening the reader on the scope and complexity of the fully realized enchanting world seen in Tolkien's beloved books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Series.  As Day says himself: 

A Dictionary of Tolkien was written in celebration of this aspect of J. R. R. Tolkien’s genius.

It was compiled and designed as a compact and easy-to-use guide to Tolkien’s world. The purpose is to inform and entertain those readers who wish to use A Dictionary of Tolkien to help them in their personal exploration of the extraordinarily complex invented world and mythology of Middle-earth and the Undying Lands.” 

 This book serves as a perfect companion to the cherished books or as a starting point to understand the books' vast world. I loved reading this book! It is perfect to be consumed in small chunks and I greatly enjoyed my nightly foray into the details of epic battles, highlights of perilous quests and the detailed histories of hobbits, elves and dwarves each night before bed. The book also has the beautiful addition of being sprinkled with capitiving black ink drawings by several amazing illustrators that help show the majesty and beauty of Tolkien’s world. Its gorgeous imation brown leather binding also makes it a truly handsome addition to anyone’s bookshelf. 

I would highly recommend this book as a great gift to any young adult or adult who loves the Lord of the Rings books or movies. It's an excellent addition for long time fans or an encouraging place to start your Middle-earth adventure. Day also has six other books that give an even closer view of Tolkien’s world highlighting topics like hobbits, atlas, heroes, battles, dark Powers and ring Legends of Tolkien, all of which I definitely plan to read to continue my Tolkein studies. While this book is not officially authorized by the Tolkein estate, the author, Day, I feel has done a very amazing job of carefully and thoroughly researching his topic to bring a delightfully informal but beautifully detailed work that greatly increased my enjoyment of one my favorite fantasy series of all time.