Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book 149: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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

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. :)


  1. I find it so interesting that the preconceived notion with sci-fi/fantasy is that only male readers can enjoy. Isn't that so silly? I first read The Hobbit as part of my school's curriculum in 9th grade along with Ender's Game and loved it - along with every other girl in my class. I hate literary gender wars! Glad that you're spreading The Hobbit love!

  2. I feel this way about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is wonderful to have fond memories over a book, that still makes it special and loved many years later. And yes, sci-fi/fantasy is not just for boys!

  3. I read LOTR first, so by the time I cracked the spine on The Hobbit, I felt a little let down. It's less developed than the chunkster LOTR. However, after having seen the movie, I do want to re-read. I think its been long enough that I'd feel differently about it.

  4. One day I will make it through this book!!!

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  6. There are some books that make me feel nostalgic and happy. LOTR is just like that for me and I can't wait to read The Hobbit (I can't believe I haven't read it yet!) Great review!

  7. I knew you would love it; it's just perfection. I am planning to reread it again this year :) .

  8. What a coincidence! I've just written a post about The Hobbit myself :)
    I love this book and hope to create similar memories with it over the years. Although I've only just read it for the first time it already feels like a part of me; perhaps because Middle Earth will always feel like home.

  9. I re-read this one in 2012 and like you said, I was comforted by the familiarity of the characters I loved so much.

  10. I can't believe I haven't read any Tolkien yet. I'll have to change that soon- and speaking of which, which do you recommend for my first Tolkien, The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?

    Ah, I love cracking open an old favorite and remembering all the places where I read it. You're right, if only every book had such a strong effect on us.

  11. I finished my reread in early January. Sometimes rereads disappoint, but not this one. Full of the wonderful characters I'd first met many years ago. Wonderful.

  12. I just reread this in the fall as well. At first, I didn't love it quite as much as previous reads, but by the end I was completely entranced all over again. It's wonderful that the book brought back such lovely memories for you!