2 May 2013

The Hobbit

For some reason, the photo uploader's down. I have the 1980 Unwin edition, with a picture of Smaug and his treasure on the front. You'll just have to imagine it!

Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R Tolkien
Year published: 1951
Pages: 285
Time It Took To Read: A few hours

I first read this book in 1997, when I was 12. It was one of the set texts for English that year. Unusually for a set text, I didn't immediately develop a long term loathing of it, or it's stupid author (unlike, say, Ian McEwan), but neither did I ever have any particular need to read it again. My parents bought me Lord of the Rings for my 17th birthday, and I read it annually, even though it's now battered to hell. But The Hobbit remained a vague memory.

I went to see the film earlier this year, in a cinema an hour from my house, because we almost left it too late to catch it before it stopped showing. As it was, we were late and missed the first 15 minutes because the mines of Moria have nothing on the Leicester ring road. I joked to my boyfriend that they'd split it into three films, just to fit in the endless singing, and it would appear that I am about right on that assumption.

Anyway, seeing the film rekindled an interest in reading the book, and as my boyfriend is such a geek he can VIRTUALLY SPEAK SINDARIN, he lent me this copy. I read it over a couple of long evenings getting my children to sleep.I didn't read it to them, though I did resort to reading LOTR to my four year old when he was ill a few months ago. He pronounced it 'boring'. *sigh*
It is very much a children's book - probably ideal for 10 to 13 year olds - but it's still a good read, especially if you're acquainted with LOTR either by film or book. The plot is relatively simple compared to, say, the Silmarillion, but there's enough depth to get your teeth into. The language and dialogue are gentle and there's a lot of humour throughout. Despite the intended audience, the characters are three dimensional. There is no dichotomy of good and evil, and even the so-called good guys have moments of utter prickishness (I'm looking at you, Thorin Oakenshield).
It's an excellent introduction to Middle Earth, and the high fantasy genre in general. Go! Read!

Book count: 25/50.

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