Ever since I started studying and discussing stories, I’ve wanted to talk about Tolkien, the author who defined my teenage years and continues to demonstrate the potential and importance of stories and storytelling. I talked about it, mentioned it on various podcasts, enthused about the idea to anyone who would listen — but it always seemed just out of reach.

Now, thanks to our amazing and generous Patreon supporters, I can announce the 18-month schedule that will take us from the Shire to the Lonely Mountain, to the mines of Moria, to Lothl√≥rien and Minas Tirith and even to the Cracks of Doom — and then, of course, all the way back to Bag End. Beginning on January 12th, 2017, we’re going to read The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings together, as well as studying all six of the Peter Jackson movie adaptations — and I can’t wait to get started!

So, here’s how the whole thing is going to work. Every Thursday at 9PM Eastern, I’ll begin a live-stream on in which I’ll discuss the reading for the week. You’ll be able to chat and contribute via the YouTube page, on Twitter using the hashtag #SWAgain, or — if you are a Patreon supporter — via our Discord chatroom. We’ll delve into the text, studying the movement of the plot and characters, the deeper themes and ideas embedded within Tolkien’s work, and the prose and poetry on the page, as well as to share and celebrate one of the most important, ambitious and enduring stories ever told. You can find the full schedule of readings by clicking here.

Most of the live sessions are going to take place at 9PM Eastern on Thursday evenings, but I’m going to try to move around at least once a month, to allow as many people as possible to take part. I’ll announce the date and time of each session well in advance.

Then, after the live discussion is over, the audio will be posted into the There And Back Again podcast feed. That feed isn’t available just yet, but I’ll have a link before the beginning of January, so stay tuned. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live sessions — the whole experience will be available after the fact on YouTube, on, via palant√≠r, or on the magical machine you keep in your pocket.

This series will be accessible to Tolkien fans and newcomers, so if you’ve never read the books before, now is an excellent time to start. If you have studied Tolkien before, then we may not discover much that’s new to you, but I can promise a supportive and fun community, and a genuine passion for these remarkable books.

Oh, and to anticipate the most likely question: we’re reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and that’s going to be enough to keep us busy well into 2018, so we’re not going to study The Silmarillion, the Unfinished Tales, the History of Middle-Earth, or any of the other texts which expand our understanding of Tolkien’s world.

At least… not yet.

So take a look at the schedule, be sure to add new copies of the books to your wish list for the holidays, and prepare yourselves for an epic adventure. If you have any questions, then you can reach me on Twitter @paperbullets, or email me directly at

See you in January!