My visit to Northshire Bookstore: Cakes designed to look like books and a mysterious comment left unexplained

A couple weeks ago I visited Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont, as a part of my recent book tour for The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs.

Northshire is one of my favorite bookstores in the world. My wife and I take an annual pilgrimage to Northshire in the spring and always love our weekend spent in the bookstore. They certainly didn't disappoint this time around, either. I spoke to a warm and engaging audience, and after my talk, there was a cake auction to benefit children who need books in the home. 

Cakes were designed to represent books. Here are what a few looked like:

After the talk, I was approached by a woman who said, "You are a lesson in contradiction, sir."

Before I could ask her what she meant, she was gone. But she bought two of my novels on the way out, so I'll assume it wasn't meant to be too bad. 

Northshire is also the only bookstore that I have visited that has a special case for the pens that authors use to sign books. I like it. Made me feel very important despite my actual import. 

I had problems with the ending of The Lord of the Rings, but it had little to do with Frodo and Sam’s fate.

Quora recently asked the question:

Would the Lord of the Rings have been more satisfying with a different ending. Specifically, what if the eagles hadn't rescued Frodo and Samwise from Orodruin after the destruction of the One Ring?

In other words, should Frodo and Samwise died after destroying the ring. 

J.R.R. Tolkien was a firm believer in "eucatastrophe," or the sudden, unbelievable, positive turn of events, and the appearance of the eagles was certainly that. The debate is interesting and worth reading, but I have always disliked the appearance of the eagles at the end of the book for one simple reason:

If the eagles were able to rescue Frodo and Samwise from the Orodruin, why couldn’t they have simply brought the hobbits to the mountain in the first place? Why risk so much (including the loss of the ring) on a dangerous and seemingly impossible quest when an eagle could have simply flown Frodo over the mountain and allowed him to drop the ring therein?

It’s always bothered me.


It’s bothered others as well. Perhaps Tolkien himself. He later said of the books:

"The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major, but being unfortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again, he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short."

I’m not sure how I feel about the fates of Frodo and Samwise. I’m happy that the hobbits lived, but I can certainly see the literary merit in the death of Frodo and Samwise.

But the sudden appearance of those eagles made all of the struggles of the three books seem a little silly in light of the overwhelming air superiority that the forces of the white seemed to possess in Middle Earth.