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Quest for Tolkien Collectible

A first edition of a book can have many shadings of value. Hardcover? Paperback? United Kingdom edition, or the one released in the United States? And it goes on from those basic questions.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien was first released in 1954 and is the second volume in the beloved trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Randy White, owner of The Book Barn in Niantic, says he sees a first edition in this condition "every five years or so." Cost is $1,265; call direct to see if the book is still available.

Book lovers will delight in the more than 350,000 books on site at The Book Barn, a peaceful haven for readers of every stripe. The main barn is chockfull of books sorted by category, organized, warm and comfortable for browsing. They even have coffee and snacks. The smaller sheds and nooks are scattered about the property. The business celebrates its 20th year in Connecticut (it opened in April 1988). Don't miss the downtown Niantic storefront location, a short drive away from the main barns on Route 1, locally called West Main Street. Inventory at both is constantly changing. Books and bought and sold; call for details and an appointment.

As White says "you never know what treasure you may find" on a visit. Those seeking for a particular title may call ahead to check inventory. The Book Barn staff? Knowledgeable, helpful and prompt with returning calls. These folks know books and love them.

The Lord of the Rings was originally published as 3 separate volumes due to post-World War II paper shortages and size and price considerations.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien lulled his oldest son (who had trouble falling asleep) to by telling him stories about a boy with red hair who "climbed into a cuckoo clock and went off on a series of strange adventures."

J.R.R. Tolkien, a scholar of the English language, specialized in Old and Middle English, and was twice Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford. Other than The Lord of the Rings trilogy, his most famous work is The Hobbit (1937).