The Lord of the Rings
Why this book?
Tolkien’s masterpiece is both an extraordinary act of imaginative storytelling and one of those vital bridges into the world of adult reading and writing. It had me so hooked at the age of twelve I read it three times, especially chapters like "The Race to Rivendale." On the human scale it, of course, contains vital themes of good and evil, but not enough is said about Tolkien’s approach to nature, animals, and the environment. Of course, there are those dark animalistic sides of us, from Orcs to Wargs and Gollum, but Tolkien’s entire ethos is deeply rooted in nature, from the all-powerful Tom Bombardill, to those magnificent if slow-moving trees, The Ents, and that triumphant cry of hope "the Eagles are coming."