In this new year I’ve started to re-read The Hobbit. I had hoped to read it to my five-year-old twin boys, thinking they would like hobbits, dwarves, wizards, dragons, and such—which they do!—but after trying to read the first chapter with them I don’t imagine they will have the patience to make it through. I am going to press on, however. While reading last night I came across the following sentence. It struck me that maybe Tolkien was predicting the 24-hour news cycle to which we have all grown accustomed.

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.