The Hobbit; or, there and back again

December 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm (Reads) (, , , )

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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I hadn’t planned on re-reading The Hobbit.  I had never finished reading Lord of the Rings (I had made it through The Two Towers, and then stalled out on trying to listen to the audiobook for The Return of the King, specifically when I got to the parts about the characters’ lineages), and had planned on re-reading the first two books as a prelude, but I made it as far as the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring before I figured I needed to go whole-hog and read all four books.  It didn’t hurt that the prologue spent a good deal of space summarizing what happened in The Hobbit to inspire me.

I’m really glad that I did re-read the book, because it’s an extraordinary read.  I don’t recall thinking much of it the first time I read it, but I was surprised to find a well-paced, well-told, well-developed story written as far back as 1937.  Books that old tend to have a certain feel to me, and tend to be somewhat tiresome to read, if not utterly boring.  This book, though, has charm, wit, humor, and adventure, and never felt that it was dated.  It probably helps that the book is fantasy (there’s nothing modern or futuristic to put it in a specific time-frame), but even the style of the prose felt like it could have been written within the last decade.

I can see why this book is sometimes classified as a book for young readers (the edition I read was, apparently, one specific to that group, which I didn’t realize until looking at the verso page after I had finished reading it), but it’s also an excellent book for those who are young at heart.  Folks who take themselves seriously might find too much frivolity and fantasy to lose themselves in the story, but those who appreciate story for the sake of story will find a great adventure yarn here.

Seriously, it’s hard to say anything new about this book that hasn’t been covered in the last 79 years.  If you haven’t read it by now, then you really should.

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