Caroline McAllister 

The house I grew up in on Fair Oaks Blvd in Sacramento, California was full of books. They lined the shelves in the living room and the dining room. They were stacked in piles by my father’s rocker, and they were even double shelved in cabinets above the fire place. A burglar once broke into the house when we weren’t home and opened all of the cabinets. We had to giggle at how disappointed he must have been to find nothing but books. The books I remember reading or having read to me include Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes and Tennis Shoes, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, and, of course, The Hobbit. The Hobbit was a whole family read meaning my father read from his rocking chair while my sister, my mother and I all lay together on the bed and listened to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. I would get tickled just saying his funny alliterative name. Now, as an adult, I get to take my wonderful Guilford College students to Oxford, England where we visit some of Tolkien’s haunts: The Eagle and Child, The White Horse, and Pembroke College. When I’m not taking students to Oxford, I live in Greensboro, North Carolina with my philosopher husband, and a big slobbery Labrador retriever. My two super smart, super fun daughters have recently left for college, but they are still my first readers and best critics. On any given day you might find me sewing quilts, shopping at thrift stores, cooking chocolate zucchini cake, or playing tennis.
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