Books

Book 161: The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Hobbit[To see an updated review of when I re-read it in 2014 as part of my 30×30 project click here.]

What is there to say about this wonderful book that hasn’t already been said in some way or some form? Not much honestly, so this isn’t much of a review. It’s more a response/regurgitation of my immediate thoughts having finished reading it Wednesday evening.

I’m glad I squeezed in a re-read of The Hobbit this year for a couple of reasons: it’s the 75th anniversary of its original publication; I haven’t re-read it since high school; the first of the films comes out this year; and there was an awesome panel at the 2012 Boston Book Festival about the book, the movie, the previous adaptations and the associated artwork.

What I enjoy most about The Hobbit is that it’s a tale told as a story. Tolkien tells the story as if you are one of his children snuggled up in bed waiting to find out what adventures happened from the night before and you can hear and experience this in the writing. And this is one of the things that makes me want to perhaps try an audio version of this book.

However, at the same time that this makes the tale magical, it also detracts, only minimally, from the story. The writing at times isn’t as concise, clear or powerful as it could be because I believe Tolkien sacrificed some of this for simplicity and spoken voice. But, as I said, I am perfectly okay with this.

The only other thing which bothers me, and this is about all of Tolkien’s works that I’ve read (so just the four), is the lack of female presence in general. I mean women do appear, but only in passing, most often in terms of mothers and wives, but that’s about it. I know his writings are a product of the time, the 1930s, and the audience, his young sons, but come on societies were never really that gender striated all the time!

Having not read the story since High School, before the release of The Fellowship of the Ring, on film, it shocked me how much I remembered. Rereading, I convinced myself one thing should be there but wasn’t: Tom Bombadil; and I only completely forgot one, sort of major important thing: the battle of five armies. So that’s pretty impressive.

I am, of course, very excited to see the film and have intentions of seeing it for my birthday next Friday! Although Jackson strayed in various parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and has already admitted to embellishing and adding to The Hobbit I believe he has done a stunning adaptation and the scores are phenomenal.

Recommendation: A MUST READ! It doesn’t matter what genres you enjoy or what books you generally read, The Hobbit is a fun tale which isn’t difficult to read and provides amazing action and adventure for all ages!

Opening Line: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Closing Line: “‘Thank goodness,’ said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.” (Whited Out.)

Additional Quotes from The Hobbit
“There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.” (19)

The thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steal;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.” (77)

“‘Merry is May-time!’ said Bilbo, as the rain beat into his face. ‘But our back is to legends and we are coming home. I suppose this is a first taste of it.'” (298)

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5 thoughts on “Book 161: The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien”

  1. I’m just finishing up a re-read of The Hobbit also. The story telling structure of it jumped out at me too, particularly how much of it is divided up into distinct episodes. I’d also forgotten how funny it is!

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      1. I’m almost a little worried of the opposite of that. It looks like they’re going to try and make it very dramatic when the tone of the book is quite light-hearted. I’m sure I’ll love it either way, though.

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