Tree and Leaf by

I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure.

This, in many ways, is the perfect book for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge as it contains fairy tales and myth and fantasy. It is a collection of shorter works by Tolkien, and begins, not with a story but, with an essay, On Fairy-Stories and surprisingly, I found this the most interesting aspect of the book. Tolkien writes about the origins of fairy stories, why he believes them necessary. He also defines what he means by a fairy story. A very different thing from the tale relegated to the children’s nursery, although somewhat related. Possibly the first defence of the fantasy genre.