Some customers showed an interest in knowing with whom they were dealing, to know the face behind The Tolkien Shop/Tolkienwinkel. Cannot imagine why, but here it is..
I first read Tolkien when I was 12 years old in the year he died: 1973. I had just finished the library of my father (mainly war novels) and while I was browsing through the bookcase of my elder brother my eye was caught by three thick, white paperbacks: the Dutch translation of The Lord of the Rings. My brother recommended that I first read The Hobbit.
To be honest with you, I found The Hobbit rather slow and boring, and that Bilbo character annoyed me to no end. And after reading all those books on WWII battles I thought the Battle of the Five Armies was a major letdown. But I plodded along, encouraged by the tempting prospect of reading the sequel I really wanted to read.
The Lord of the Rings (or to be precise, In de Ban van de Ring) started ominously for me; oh, no, not Bilbo again! But then the nazgûl appeared, the book took a different turning and I was hooked.
I started to hunt for other books by Tolkien. In the early Seventies there was not much translated into Dutch, but a few years later I had learned English and far more books became available to me. Wanting to read all the books by Tolkien slowly expanded in collecting editions, translations, calendars, posters and such. A quarter century on, and the collection is about 1,500 books large...
The picture shows me in front of part of my Tolkien collection, while the others shows one of my price possessions: a signed and autographed copy of The Fellowship of the Ring (not a first edition, but one cannot have everything).
Besides Tolkien I also collect Sherlock Holmes and signed SF and fantasy books. Running the Tolkien Shop is not my only means of income. I am a freelance writer and reviewer on SF and fantasy, I give lectures, make translations and organise literairy events. Somehow 24 hours in a day is not enough for me. Yet, I gladly find some time to process your order...
My Facebook-page is at Rene van Rossenberg and on Youtube are a few tv-interviews with me (search with my name). A piece on my shop in a newspaper at http://www.to10.nl/hotspots/key-to-leiden-the-tolkien-shop/