1. Steadfastly avoid Middle Earth for 28 years. Middle Earth is not for you.
2. During the latter part of those years, start a book club with your friends and listen to them tell you how great Tolkien is and how you really need to read Lord of the Rings or you can’t really call yourself a good, upstanding human.
3. Do not read Lord of the Rings. Do not even read The Hobbit.
4. Continue to get nagged. Continue to not get a lot of their jokes. Continue to not really know what a Hobbit is.
5. Make a pact at the beginning of 2012 with the only member of your book club that has not read Harry Potter: you will read Lord of the Rings and he will read all seven Harry Potter books.
6. Buy a copy of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.
7. Continue to not read The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring.
8. Watch as your friend reads and enjoys all seven Harry Potter novels by April.
9. Start to feel sort of guilty.
10. Four months later, begin to see ads for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The fact that it stars Martin Freeman (who you really like from the series Sherlock) does not escape you.
11. Start to think that The Hobbit looks like a pretty cozy sort of movie, and it’s almost Christmastime. You like cozy things. Especially at Christmas.
12. Buy another copy of The Hobbit because it is new and cuter than the first copy you bought.
13. Start reading The Hobbit. Enjoy every minute of it. These Hobbits eat two breakfasts, just like you. These Hobbits go on adventures. You love going on adventures. This book features a dragon. You like dragons.
14. Finish The Hobbit – you’ve loved it. Remain skeptical about the trilogy.
15. Go to see the movie of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure on opening day with some of your friends during Brooklyn Christmas celebrations. Your suspicions were right, it’s an extremely cozy movie. Especially when you bring a 1 liter thermos of piping hot coffee to drink during the 10am IMAX showing at Lincoln Center.
16. Decide to download the audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring, narrated by Rob Inglis, because Rob Inglis’s voice is cozier than a mug of cocoa. Listen to him read to you as you read along in your paper copy, of which you’ve also bought the new version.
17. Devour all 3 books and audiobooks during the 2012 Christmas holidays, which after all is the coziest time to read high fantasy.
18. Buy the boxed set of the movie trilogy on Bluray.
19. Develop an alarming crush on Viggo Mortensen.
20. Buy a button from Etsy that says “I brake for second breakfast.” Pin it to your bag. Acknowledge that you can never go back. Middle Earth is for you.