Penn State

W. Travis DeCastro - associate director for production, College of Arts and Architecture

Book Title: The Lord of the Rings

Author: J.R.R. Tolkein

Book Description:

A difficult decision. Since there are no quality books in my field I can't say that academically I was influenced by any one author. My father passed away early in my life leaving me with three older sisters and my mother. Needless to say I did not have a lot of male influences in my life. Several of our neighbors were sure to include me on as many father/son activities as they could but there was really no substitute. I first read this book in the fall following my father's passing. I was taken by the world that Tolkein had created. While I did not fashionably identify with many of the heroes of the book, I was most impressed by Gandalf and his wise choices, sometimes hard choices. I read the book every fall for around seventeen-plus years. Even today I will pick it up and read some favorite passages.

I find I continue to seek Gandalf's wisdom in the decisions I make in life. Sometimes the hardest decision is the right one to take at the time. Never hasty, I choose to try to really think through a problem and not take the first solution that comes to mind. While I admire many good yarns, especially with a career in the theatre, it is this yarn that has helped shape my life today. While they made a passable series of movies out of the tale, you should really read the book. The depth of the characters and their relationships with each other really define the work.  Enjoy.


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