Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Book 149: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I'm pretty sure there is nothing new or insightful I can say about Tolkien's The Hobbit. It is everywhere and there has been so much conversation about Tolkien's Middle Earth that anything I DO say will just be swept under the rug.
Instead, I can tell you about my own experiences with the book, in hopes that my personal relationship to the book and Tolkien are enough to get you to read further, and perhaps, comment below. :)
I was obsessed with fantasy and science-fiction as a teenager. I discovered the genres in middle school, and quickly flew through some amazing series and examples of each. Then I ventured off to high school and learned that apparently, girls don't read those genres, let alone LOVE them. So I swept them under the rug in my first year and attempted to read "girly" things and books that would convince my Honors English teacher I was smart.
Eventually (and thankfully) I grew out of that stage and realized that it didn't really matter and that I loved fantasy. I purchased The Hobbit and read it for the first time (and later The Lord of the Rings, which I wrote about in this very early post on my blog). I fell in love with Tolkien's world and was convinced that there was nothing greater than Middle Earth.
I've read the book numerous times since then. In the Mystery/Science Fiction/Fantasy class that I took as a junior in high school, The Hobbit was part of the curriculum. I adored the whole unit (and the class), and we even watched the very old school animated version of the book. It was my own nerdvana, and I loved it.
Since high school, I've revisited the book from time to time. In fact, when I cracked open my battered copy on this most recent reread, all the memories of reading it came back-being in my mom's car, carrying it to school to read after a test, reading favorite parts in college as a break from other books, and lugging it in my move out of my parents' house and into our current apartment. It is a very well-loved book and holds so much comfort for me.
There is something to be said about that-finding comfort in a book and remembering not only the characters, setting, and plot, but also that places that you have been while reading the book. I wish I had the same strong feelings about each book I read.
As far as the story, it was everything I remembered. Since I read this in the fall, you can assume that I read it before we went to see the new movie (which I loved). On this most recent read, I really tried to focus in on the dwarves and Gandalf's role. I noticed only a few new insights and was happy to see that the new movie built on a lot of the back story (and hello, Radagast. He is awesome).
In any case, I loved the book, loved the memories it brought me, and I can't wait to read it again. :)