Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

Rating: 4 stars

I started reading this slowly, at the beginning of the year, in the hopes of savoring it until the movie arrived. I have to tell you, it started out all rainbows and nostalgia until someone told me that the movie was going to be split into three parts. I spent the remainder of the book angrily wondering how Peter Jackson planned to successfully pull that off without pissing off fans. It's a small book! Written as a young adult novel! Yes, there are many adventures along the road to the Lonely Mountain, but nothing that packs as much punch as the actual ending of the novel. There aren't any real clear starts and stops that - to my mind - make three separate, yet cohesive movies.

Anyway - film making aside - I first read this book when I was in middle school, so it's been a long, long time. Fifteen years, maybe? Perhaps a bit more. I was surprised by how many details have stuck with me over such a wide span of years. This time - knowing and loving Bilbo well, rather than having just been introduced to him - I was able to imagine that it was Bilbo himself writing the tale. The writing style is so vastly different from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that it isn't difficult at all to replace Tolkien's voice with Bilbo's. It's much more humorous and has the tone of a folk-tale - you can almost imagine Bilbo around a campfire, enacting his tale to a captive audience. Also - there's a lot less walking.

I'd say the 4-star rating of my memory holds up with my current reading of the novel. Middle-earth is a place I wouldn't mind continuing to visit time and time again.

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  1. I'm listening to this on audiobook right now and I must say, I find it incredibly boring. I think that that's partly because it does read as a children's story (with a smoking, drinking, sword-wielding child at it's center) and I don't have the childhood memory of the story to support that! I do feel like it could be broken up though. There are some victories the parts could end on - defeating the trolls, escaping the wood-elves. I'm excited to get done and move on to the Lord of the Rings - I read the Fellowship in high school and enjoyed it, so I know that I have good things in store. man, I feel like I just wrote my whole blog post about The Hobbit - oops!

    1. I enjoyed it for the most part. But you're right, it was a little boring. As soon as I decided to stop savoring it and just read it, it felt like something I was forcing myself through.

      I'll still read your post. =)

  2. I'll probably read this one soon! (I know I've said that before. But really this time!)

    Maybe. :)

  3. I am reading this right now for the very first time! Life is forcing me to read it slower than I usually would, but I am enjoying it much more than I anticipated. I am kind of kicking myself for not reading it years ago, when my dad first thrust a copy into my hands!! But - a 3 part movie? COME ON Peter Jackson! -Sarah

  4. I just read this (also for the first time, like the commenter above me!) and really enjoyed it. I'm with you on the movies, though -- how can there be THREE!? I've heard they are planning to pull some back story from some of Tolkien's notes and the Simarillion (did I get that right?) to bulk up the story, give Gandalf's story more time (in The Hobbit, he pretty much goes away and then comes back, and we don't know where/why).

    I'll still see the movies, if for no other reason than a) they look pretty and b) I want to see how they make it into 3 movies.


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