The latest pick for actor Sean Astin’s book club is a fitting one: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
Astin, who memorably played hobbit Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, selected the first book in Tolkien’s legendary fantasy trilogy for his book club with the social reading app Fable.
“I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy cover to cover three times and I absolutely love the books,” Astin said in a news release. “But I never really experienced this trilogy the way fans do. For me, it was a fast, excavation style relationship with the books, the story, the characters. I was speed mining for details and nuggets to use. It was a bible of sorts as we filmed. But as a reader, I never let go. I never surrendered to the literature, in its purest form.”
Astin launched his book club with Fable in October, with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as the first selection.
The actor said that his club will read the other two books in Tolkien’s trilogy, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, in the future, along with Christopher McDougall’s Born To Runand John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley.
Astin said he was inspired to choose Tolkien’s books because the film adaptations hold a special place in many readers’ hearts.
“One of the most beautiful aspects of the Lord of the Rings film experience was that it created this sort of annual event for millions of families,” he said. “I’d like to do that for us now.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.