Interview – Holly Ordway, writer of Tolkien’s Modern Reading

One of 2021’s most interesting new releases has been the fascinatingly analytical work Tolkien’s Modern Reading by Holly Ordway. We reviewed the book in May and overwhelmingly enjoyed the book, finding it to be a comprehensive work that explored a rarely discussed facet of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien – his contemporary reading habits.

For Dr. Ordway, the project had been a long one. She’d worked for the better part of a decade doing the research on the book, reading dozens of books and picking through Tolkien’s letters and writings for clues about what he was familiar with. More importantly, she does the important work of exploring how ideas and themes from dozens of eclectic writers from the late 19th and early 20th century slowly dripped their way into The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Holly Ordway Ph.D. is a fellow at the Word on Fire Institute, as well as a visiting professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Doctorate in English and previously wrote the book Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms which regards her conversion to Catholicism.

She was kind enough to join us this week to talk about Tolkien’s Modern Reading, discuss how the project came together, and even mildly rebuke one of my assumptions about her motivation for creating the book (all in good fun).

You can check out our full discussion below or here on YouTube!

Tyler Hummel

Born into the unexplored residential backwater of Chicago, Tyler Hummel is a graduate of Tribeca Flashpoint College where he studied Sound Design for Film and Interactive Media. When he isn't hosting his public access talk show The Fox Valley Film Critics or collecting DragonBall Z figurines, he enjoys writing and directing short films. As with Rick from Casablanca, "he's a man like any other man, just more so!"

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