The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

What can I possibly say about The Hobbit that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before?  Literally, nothing except that this little ditty gets my full praise and highest recommendation.  If you’ve been on the fence, hop off onto the side of reading Tolkien’s classic adventure before the movie hits theaters December 14!  Hobbits will be your new best friends.

I’m fairly certain this book needs no synopsis or introduction.  Pretty much a rather ordinary hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, gets sucked into helping some dwarfs steal back their treasure from a dragon named Smaug.  On the way to face the deadly fire breather, many adventures, fantastical creatures, and unexpected heroes are met and made.

Forced to read The Hobbit in high school, I never really fancied re-reading until recently.  While I didn’t hate Bilbo and his hero’s journey, neither was I enamored.  Only recently have I found myself really craving well written high fantasy and The Hobbit began to seem like an obvious choice.  I ordered the Annotated edition which I can’t recommend strongly enough and thoroughly enjoyed learning about Tolkien and his writing process.  Understanding how many literary sources he drew from and where his ideas and inspirations originated was like being at school but way more fun.  I was shocked to learn Tolkien’s first vision of Gandalf came from seeing a postcard depiction of an old man in a red cape.

The Hobbit’s story unfolds at a very naturally swift pace.  You never feel like you can’t keep up or that you might fall asleep – hidden dangers lurk around every tree.  Bilbo can be frustrating at times with his sour attitude and his wishes of being back at home, but wouldn’t we all be a bit reluctant to fight trolls on the first night of a road trip?  Watching his character grow from uncertain follower to unexpected hero is delightful and could be the literary definition of character growth.  You’ll also find yourself absolutely in love with the dwarfs – they kick the Snow White dwarfs’ asses!

Tolkien’s novel is also perfect to share with your children or as a family.  Especially during this holiday season, just cuddle up together around the fireplace and take turns reading aloud.  I know kids can be squirmy, but the trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and elves should have them mesmerized!  Plus, there are pictures.

I’m awaiting the film release with barely bated breath.  Martin Freeman promises to be the best Bilbo and my lovely dwarfs look perfectly cast and costumed.  For further immersion into Middle Earth, I bought the Lord of the Rings films during the Black Friday sales and watched them back-to-back-to-back this weekend.  I’d NEVER seen them before and still haven’t read the books, but wanted to get an idea of Tolkien’s bigger picture before seeing The Hobbit in theaters.  Loved the movies and thought they were properly made epics showcasing so much talent from all the creators involved.

Off to the Shire you go!

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Another book knocked off my Classics Club list!

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9 thoughts on “The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. I read this when I was younger and remember loving it while not liking the LOTR books. I also saw the cartoon Hobbit movie. (Quite dated, I’m sure.) And the LOTR movies was one of the few times I thought the movies were better than the books! Blasphemy!

  2. I’ve read it twice (both as an adult as I didn’t like classic fantasy as a child) and each time I feel like I should be reading aloud. Something with how Tolkien’s style makes it sound like a story to be read to someone while near the fireplace, with tea or hot cocoa.

    The 6th graders at the school where I teach read this for English class. The language is a little hard I think because quite a few of them don’t like it. But I’m glad they do read it because once they get to high school, classic fantasy is relegated to leisure reading. 😦

    • Sixth grade might definitely be a bit too young. We read as freshmen along with Ender’s Game and The Martian Chronicles which was awesome amazing. But yes, I read many sections out loud this go around – such a perfectly lyrical novel.

  3. Pingback: The Classics Club: Wherein I Cave and Join… | The Blog of Litwits

  4. Exactly what I thought as I started to read The Hobbit: “I have to read this to my kids!” (Even my four- and five-year olds are going to love this.) I cannot wait to watch the film; but first I have three more chapters to finish and then a reread w/ the kids. I think a second time around will be even better.

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