I found this little book in Adventure Book in Oamaru and was going to save it for the trip home but I knew it would be ok to start. Tolkien in his scholarly form tends to be… hmmmm… dense reading?
I got to the introductory page though and was sat back in my chair by this:
[writing about the two pieces in this book]…Also they were written in the same period (1938-39), when The Lord of the Rings was beginning to unroll itself and to unfold prospects of labour and exploration in yet unknown country as daunting to me as to the hobbits. At about that time we had reached Bree, and I had then no more notion than they had of what had become of Gandalf or who Strider was; and I had begun to despair of surviving to find out. — J.R.R. Tolkien, Introduction to Tree and Leaf