It has been a fun summer of Meet Us Monday features. We pose many brain-teasing questions in our staff survey, but one that yields some favorite answers is, If you could jump into The Lord of the Rings, which character would you be? (Can you spot the trend?)
Archivist John Abbott: An ent.
Trade & Reference President Gary Gentel: Sam Gamgee—his loyalty and devotion to Frodo is awe-inspiring.
V.P. and Publisher (Adult and Reference) Bruce Nichols: Treebeard, just so I would know what his voice really sounds like.
Marketing Manager Hannah Harlow: One of the hobbits because I’ve never met a snack I didn’t like.
Associate Editor Sal Robinson: An Ent.
Senior Business Operations Analyst Kevin Logan: Do I have to be one of the actual fellowship? I think I’d prefer being an extra, sipping a nice mug of ale in the Prancing Pony in Bree, while engaging in some hobbit watching.
And two LOTR anecdotes -
Hannah Harlow answers, What is your favorite HMH book of all time?
My first job out of college was Marketing Assistant at Houghton. I was hired because they needed an extra body to gear up for the first Lord of the Ringsmovie, which was coming out about six months after I was hired. I first read theLord of the Rings in Mexico when I took a semester off from college and found the books in the local library there. Then when I eventually made it to college, I took a freshman seminar all about J.R.R. Tolkien and totally geeked out on him. Later, my, um - let’s call it enthusiasm - for the books helped me land that first job.
A year and a half after starting at Houghton, I decided to move to New York. Harcourt needed a Marketing Associate, so I applied, and as I got ready for my phone interview, I pulled the one and only book I ever took out of the Boston Public Library out of my bag and checked the spine to see who published it, just in case I was asked what I was reading, and it turned out - surprise, surprise - the book was published by Harcourt. The book was Life of Pi - pre-Booker win and general ensuing fame, BTW. That seemed like a sign, and I did end up getting the job.
So I’m going to say Lord of the Rings and Life of Pi, because I do love both those books, and I feel like I owe my career to them in some small way.
Web Content Admin Lexie Winslow shares an office anecdote.
When I got this job, I graduated from my cube in the intern section of the office to a recently vacated cube in the Marketing section. The previous owner had left behind a fine collection of Lord of the Rings memorabilia: Gandalf/Bilbo bookends, a 12” statue of Liv Tyler as Arwen (very realistic, too), bookplates autographed by famed LOTR illustrator Alan Lee. After a while, my coworkers forgot that these items predated me, and now I have the reputation around the office as being our #1 die-hard LOTR fan – a title I respect, but don’t quite deserve. To keep the myth alive, our devious Poetry Girl routinely finds even more LOTR promo items and adds them to the shrine in my cube.