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Wisdom of the Shire: A Book Review

b2ap3_thumbnail_wisdom.pngA new book has come to the shire filled with all the wisdom one could want to live a Hobbit-like life. It's called, Wisdom of the Shire: A short Guide to a Long and Happy Life, by Noble Smith. At first glance it looks like another marketing ploy to get a piece of the Tolkien money-pie, but with a second glance, you can see Smith delve into the principles of a good life that Tolkien envisioned, that can ultimately be evoked today. 

For the Pagan audience, it's a treasure of ideas to continue cultivating a connected life with the natural world, for eating local foods, for gardening and sharing in community and honoring the seasons. 

In chapter one, "How Snug is Your Hobbit-Hole?" Smith explores the tight-knit community in the shire, pointing out how everything was made by hand. Smith asks, "When did we all become so helpless that we stopped learning how to make or fix the simplest things?" But change is right at our fingertips, whether through Upcycling, the trend of making useable goods out of waste products, or by making your home a little more Hobbit friendly. Ultimately, the wisdom of the shire teaches us that "your true home is inside your heart and stays with you wherever you go ..." 

As the book progresses, the reader is delighted with reminders of Tolkien's Hobbit 
and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while picking up on some of the deeper little gems of wisdom that Tolkien may've tried to impart. It's almost like cutting away the story, and having a "how-to" guide on living a good life, not unlike the one in the shire. Some of the gems include: "Let your moral compass point your way through the world of Big People, and do not compromise the core of who you are," or "May the star shine on the hour of your meeting a new friend, and continue to light up the long path of your friendship." 

Other highlights include, "the Party Tree," a reference to the big tree at the south end of Bag End where Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party was held. or "Sing like a Hobbit," which encourages us each to find a voice, and "sing the story of your life."

For the Tolkien enthusiast, Wisdom of the Shire is a gentle book that will remind you of all the things you love about Tolkien's work, with practical ways of making them part of your everyday life. Wasn't Tolkien trying to shed light on the dangers of war, consumption, deforestation, and so on? For the Pagan, this book is a great thread to the simple things in life, the reminder of the importance of balance and community in our lives, and ultimately, the manifestation of harmony, which Tolkien envisioned. 

To learn more about Wisdom of the Shire, visit: http://www.noblemasonsmith.com/

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Hunter Liguore, a multi-Pushcart Prize nominee, earned an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in History. Her work has appeared internationally in a variety of journals. She is the editor-in-chief of the print journal, American Athenaeum, which is dedicated to publishing "voices" that ultimately inform our times. (To view current submission guidelines: www.swordandsagapress.com.) She revels in old legends, swords, and heroes.

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