As much as I hate to sound like a broken record, I have to say that, without a doubt, The Lord of the Rings was the most important book I have ever read. Why? Well, it was certainly important to me because it led me to a lifetime of reading and writing, of finding self-expression and entertainment and hope amidst words on a page. On a larger scale, the books were influential in modernizing epic fantasy, paving the long road between Beowulf and Harry Potter, and exploring topics such as the nature of evil, cultural and societal variance, and the importance of myth on a level that anyone can understand and enjoy. Tolkien also succeeded in setting a high standard for future works of fantasy; it’s not good enough to be good–it has to be epic.