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The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey - The…
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The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey - The World of Hobbits (original 1937; edition 2012)

by Paddy Kempshall (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
60,8288418 (4.27)5 / 1934
Member:Gingerbreadman63
Title:The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey - The World of Hobbits
Authors:Paddy Kempshall (Author)
Info:London : Harpercollins, 2012, Paperback, illus, col, map, 48 p.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:The Hobbit, Film Tie In, Hobbits, Tolkien, Middle Earth, Fantasy

Work details

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)

  1. 890
    The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (aang2014, JqnOC)
    aang2014: Starts the trilogy very good, I loved it.
  2. 260
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Percevan)
  3. 306
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (ErisofDiscord)
    ErisofDiscord: Written by J.R.R. Tolkien's friend, C.S. Lewis. Although their styles of writing are very different, I have found both of them to be highly enjoyable and the quality of both of the authors books are unmatched.
  4. 223
    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Death_By_Papercut)
    Death_By_Papercut: Quality, epic fantasy.
  5. 2310
    The Hobbit: Graphic Novel by J. R. R. Tolkien (Percevan)
  6. 197
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (benmartin79)
  7. 90
    Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Michael.Rimmer)
  8. 71
    The Elfin Ship by James P. Blaylock (DCBlack)
    DCBlack: Another quest tale of the reluctant hero who would rather be sitting in a comfy chair by the fireplace than getting mixed up in all sorts of adventures. Full of humor and whimsical charm.
  9. 93
    Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en (DavidGoldsteen)
    DavidGoldsteen: If you like a quest story, here's the real deal. A Chinese classic first that first appeared as a novel over 500 years ago. Monkey is a lively, funny, exciting story.
  10. 41
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (chrisharpe)
  11. 20
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
    sturlington: In addition to Arthur Dent, Gaiman's Richard Mayhew is a reluctant adventurer like Bilbo Baggins.
  12. 86
    The Last Ringbearer by Kiril Yeskov (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Great alternate history version of the Middle Earth saga--told from the 'evil' Mordor side.
  13. 10
    Sprookjes van Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien (Smitie)
    Smitie: Three fairy tales from Tolkien
  14. 32
    Deep into the Heart of a Rose by G. T. Denny (StefanY)
  15. 33
    Abarat by Clive Barker (Death_By_Papercut)
  16. 77
    The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Tolkien was very familiar with this work, certainly from the old translation by J Giles (which in turn probably influenced Tolkien's own Farmer Giles of Ham)
  17. 11
    The Elven by Bernhard Hennen (PitcherBooks)
    PitcherBooks: While I enjoyed The Hobbit a bit more than the Elven, I like The Elven much more than the LOTR. I have yet to read the sequels but Elven had the feel of a fantasy classic to it. Time will tell... Pros: Great world-building and characters, mostly action, adventure and magic with only the last tenth or so devoted to the obligatory war. Since I'm not big on wars this was a major plus. Con: The Hobbit was shorter, more endearing and faster moving. Elven is a lengthy tome but the characters and adventures held my interest even so.… (more)
  18. 12
    The Prophecy of Zephyrus by G. A. Hesse (OccamsHammer)
  19. 23
    The Whale Kingdom Quest by Ming-Wei (Rossi21)
    Rossi21: This is a alternative science fiction type of novel, very interesting
  20. 1012
    The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis (Death_By_Papercut)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we musn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means.”
– Umberto Eco, The Name Of The Rose

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is one of his landmark pieces, which is part of Tolkien’s legendarium. Tolkien’s legendarium revolves around the world of Arda.

Unknown to many, The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as fictional mythology about the remote past of Earth, in which Middle Earth is the main stage.

The Legendarium is composed by phenomenal fiction such as The Lord of the Rings and also The Hobbit, as previously mentioned. But also, the Legendarium features works such as The Silmarillion, The History of the Middle-Earth, The History Of The Hobbit, and more.

Undoubtedly one of the most significant books in the 20th Century, The Hobbit takes us through the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, whose life early on echoes predictability, comfort and simplicity.

However, after an unexpected party, Bilbo’s life changes most auspiciously. After repeatedly stating he was not interested in being privy to an adventure, Bilbo was tricked into going by his guests, the dwarves, appealing to Bilbo’s more adventurous side – his Tookish side. There in the adventure begins.

On Bilbo’s quest to the Lonely Mountain, he and his companions traverse through Rivendel, the Misty Mountains, the dark forest of Mirkwood and even Lake Town, before anchoring at the Desolation of Smaug for the apex of the story.

On the way, Bilbo and his gang run into all sorts of folks: elves, humans, eagles, wargs, orcs, and even intricate characters such as Beorn and Gollum, all of which serve to make this phenomenal fantasy into one of the most intriguing mental escapes any fictional book has ever accomplished.

Throughout the epic, Bilbo’s journey mirrors that of the readers in the time which Tolkien published the story in 1937. Just as Bilbo was reticent of going in the journey, being rather conservative, and being comfortable in his rather run-of-the-mill cookie-cutter everyday life, so were the people of the time of Tolkien a bit reserved about venturing on a journey into the realm of epic fantasy. Mainstream folks weren’t interested in fantasy, and some even felt askance to it. This was the reason why Tolkien used Bilbo as an analogy for the reader to familiarize itself with this Universe.

In fact, as medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

“Bilbo’s initial perspective is so narrow, so domesticated, that being made late for dinner apparently counts as very serious hazard. When Gandalf suggests sending him on an adventure, Bilbo runs into the house in panic.”[1][Emphasis On Original]

That’s how reticent Bilbo was!

These very circumstances, which mirror those of the readers of the time, are best exemplified by the following words:

“Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century. He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels. In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself. We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons. In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations. Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[2]

And yet, no matter what Bilbo thought on the surface, deep down inside part of his deepest self was quite intrigued with the prospect of an adventure. This insight is best viewed in the following passage, which takes place right when the dwarves begin an impromptu musical performance at his abode:

“Bilbo “forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill”. He is transported into the land of the dwarves, and their song even brings him to share for a moment their own perspective and experience. As they sing, he “felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.” For a little while, Bilbo is moved by the music and the poetry of the dwarves, and he steps imaginatively out of his little world and into their story. At this moment, “something Tookish woke up inside him,” and Bilbo finds that there is a part of him that desires adventure after all.”[3]

Once Bilbo’s imagination is unleashed it was like Pandora ’s Box, and there was no putting it back.

The contrast within Bilbo is best noticed when compared with Gandalf, as each represent two sides of the same coin.

As Olsen elucidates:

“Bilbo’s settled, Baggins life is like prose, plain and businesslike, and the magical world of Gandalf and the dwarves is more like poetry, full of wonder and marvels, but also strange and sorcerous like Gandalf’s smokerings. Bilbo may adhere to the Baggins point of view, but his Tookish heritage does give him a tendency toward that other, adventurous life, a tendency that is lurking beneath the surface when Bilbo meets Gandalf.”[4]

This tendency towards what’s intriguing and portentous is what helps Bilbo grow throughout the journey as he finds the core of his Tookish side, and uses it to help himself and his newfound friends in this journey.

Intriguingly, as Bilbo grows accustomed to the wondrous and imaginative changes that magic brings about, so did the readers of the time.

The best part of this The Hobbit is that it’s so in depth and profound that there’s much to be had from it.

Truth be told, as Louis Markos Ph.D. notes in his book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis:

“So greatly did The Hobbit delight adults and children hungry for the lost realm of fairy tales that the cried out for a sequel. In response, Tolkien spent the next decade and a half crafting a far richer and more mature work that would ratchet up its predecessor from a humble fairy tale to a full-scale epic in the tradition of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Beowulf.”[5]

The Hobbit is truly an upper echelon book. This book resides within a class of books that belongs in an entirely different realm. Some of the greatest books of all literature treat life as a journey, and this book is no different. Moreover, not only that, but the book is so in depth, and offers so many subtle themes, that people for ages will be learning from it.

Touching upon this very subject, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren speak about these type of books in their own touchstone piece, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading:

“There is a second class of books from which you can learn – both how to read and how to live. Less than one out of every hundred books belongs in this class – probably it is more like one in a thousand, or even one in ten thousand. These are the good books, the ones that were carefully wrought by the authors, the ones that convey to the reader significant insights about subjects of enduring interest to human beings. There are in all probably no more than a few thousand of such books.”[6]

The Hobbit offers many profound lessons of life. Through fantasy fiction Tolkien creates a story which is analogous to what each of our own journeys are individually. And just as life offers us countless lessons from which to learn from, so offers The Hobbit many germane gems of wisdom that are for the taking which are woven throughout the story.

In sum, the best reason to read this book is encapsulated in the following words by Markos:

“All ages at all times need stories, but our needs them so much more…The stories that we need are precisely those that will beckon us to follow their heroes along the Road; that will embody for us the true nature of good and evil, virtue and vice, and then challenge us to engage the struggle between the two…”[7]

And The Hobbit, for those very salient reasons, and more, is just one of those stories.

__________________________________________________​
Sources:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 21.
[2] Ibid., p. 35.
[3] Ibid., p. 24.
[4] Ibid., p. 23.
[5] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, pp. 13-14.
[6] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, pp. 332-333.
[7]Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, p. 187.
  ZyPhReX | Apr 25, 2017 |
This book by J.R.R. Tolkien is a classic! It is the story of Bilboa Baggins and his adventure through middle earth. It is full of fantastical creatures such as Elves, Dwarfs, Orks, Wizzards, and Hobbits. I think that this book would be a great book for a student who is interested in fantasy and magic. I believe that this book would also be a great book to read aloud to your older students because I believe they would be more involved in the story.
  kristenbnoble | Apr 20, 2017 |
I really enjoyed reading this book. I hadn't read a book for pleasure in a long time, but this book had me hooked and got me back into reading. At 300 pages in length, the book isn't too difficult of a read. The content of the actual book was very engaging, as it introduced the reader to many magical, and fantastical creatures and events. Another aspect of the book that I really value is how the author was able to make each character feel individual and had plenty of personality. There were no "filler" characters and everyone is introduced for a reason. I think the authors purpose for writing this book was to expand the readers imagination in order to entertain. ( )
  mbalte1 | Apr 5, 2017 |
I was trying to remember when I first read this because I know I already had when we did it as a class in Grade... Four I think? Possibly Six, my classmates were by and large illiterate. I then realised that this is one of those books I distinctly remember my mom reading to me and it's probably one of my earlier still-very-clear memories. All of this to say that this book is an old, old favourite and I just re-read it in anticipation of the film that's in progress. I think this book is more perfect than the sequel-trilogy that is more lauded. The pacing of adventures, the superiority of our more glancing sightings of the world of Middle Earth, the amount of humour in our protagonist Bilbo, and oh my god the length. I was done it in the space of a few hours and loved every minute. I've got nothing against long books, really, and like anyone when I enjoy a work I'd like it to last just a little longer, please, but this is perfect for and adventure novel of light spirits. I also find it just fantastic for the main cast. We're following thirteen dwarves and a hobbit. Hardly the most romantic heroes you could think of. It's a rather unusual choice for protagonists, but of course that is the point. (As a side note, the thirteen dwarves were the reason Jackson half-dreaded making the film, and no wonder.) ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
This book would best be used as an independent read for a high school student. This book is a tough read, it has a lot of made up names and places and without good comprehension, it would be very hard to follow. It would be best as an independent read because not everyone would enjoy this book, but some would so they could choose this to read. it is very good and well written and would fit very well into a classroom. ( )
  TimGordon | Mar 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 783 (next | show all)
The original edition of this book was my absolute favorite as a child. My father (who was one of the first people in America to red LOTR --he read the first volume and was so eager for the rest that my mother had copies of the later volumes set over from England) gave e a copy for Christmas when i was one, and read it to me before I could read myself --I cans till see him and hear him doing it in my memory. This specific copy came out much later when LOTR had become an industry It is very pretty, with a leather binding, nice clear print and a slipcase, but of course it is the second edition, and when I read the opening (which I had practically memorized) I can still catch changes --where the original said hobbits were "smaller than dwarves but very much larger than Lilliputians" this says simply they were smaller than dwarves. Where the original said that it was said one of the Tooks had married into a fairy family "the less friendly said a goblin family" the second edition simply says a fairy family and adds "that was, of course absurd" though I think myself the idea of elvish blood in the Tooks was nice. The major change, of course, is the revision of the story of how Bilbo got the ring;I really preferred the first version and still do, and I do not like to think of Bilbo lying to the dwarves about it. I think Tolkien may have changed it to make the point that Bilbo got the ring while showing mercy, and that was why it did not ruin him as it ruined others Those changes are why I rate this version 4.5 stars; I would rate the first edition at 5.
 
A flawless masterpiece
added by GYKM | editThe Times
 
A finely written saga of dwarves and elves, fearsome goblins and trolls ... an exciting epic of travel and magical adventure, all working up to a devastating climax
added by GYKM | editThe Observer
 
Mucho menos pesado que el resto de libros del Señor de los Anillos, más facil de leer.
Culmina las tres grandes obras del Señor de los anillos de Tolkien.
added by martinmuniz | editEl hobbit
 
This is one of the most freshly original and delightfully imaginative books for children that have appeared in many a long day. . . . a glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible.
 

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agøy, Nils IvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Douglas A.Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barcia, Moises R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooley, StevenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ensikat, KlausIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figueroa, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, EricIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hehn-Kynast, JulianeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huwendiek, RolandCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, ToveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeronimidis Conte, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalka, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauzon, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledoux, FrancisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meinzold, MaxCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parcerisas, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitkänen, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Popkema, Anne TjerkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajamets, HaraldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajandi, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Fernanda PintoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scherf, WalterÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sis, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skibniewska, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swedenmark, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szobotka, TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trebels, RüdigerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vrba, FrantišekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zetterholm, ToreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Important events
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit"
Quotations
"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!"
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession; and Smaug was no exception.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
J.R.R. Tolkien's complete work The Lord of the Rings consists of six Books, normally bound in three Volumes, as follows:

Volume I: The Fellowship of the Ring, consisting of Book 1, "The Ring Sets Out" and Book 2, "The Ring Goes South";
Volume II: The Two Towers, consisting of Book 3, "The Treason of Isengard," and Book 4, "The Ring Goes East"; and
Volume III: The Return of the King, consisting of Book 5, "The War of the Ring," and Book 6, "The End of the Third Age," with Appendices.

This LT Work consists solely of The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again, a precursor to The Lord of the Rings; please do not combine it with that complete work, or with any part(s) thereof, each of which have LT Works pages of their own. Thank you.

This is an edition of the full text of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, illustrated by Alan Lee: ISBN 10 0007611625; ISBN13: 9780007611621. It can and should be combined with the original work.
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Book description
[R.L. 6.6] The story of hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he travels across middle earth with a group of dwarfs and a wizard. He faces trolls and dragons. Meets elves and shape shifters. And hopes to acquire great treasure as his adventure continues.
Haiku summary
So I'm a thief now.
What I really should have took?
Comfortable shoes.
The dwarves had a plan.
They didn't say anything
about hungry trolls.

(Carnophile)
Nasty Bagginses
stole the Precious, yess, and we
hates them forever!
(ed.pendragon)
A ring in a cave?
I’ll take it. I doubt that the
owner will miss it.

(Carnophile)
Wizard at the door?
Twelve dwarves too? You'll be telling
me a dragon's next!
(ed.pendragon)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618260307, Paperback)

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a "little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves." He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf the Grey stops by one morning, "looking for someone to share in an adventure," Baggins fervently wishes the wizard elsewhere. No such luck, however; soon 13 fortune-seeking dwarves have arrived on the hobbit's doorstep in search of a burglar, and before he can even grab his hat or an umbrella, Bilbo Baggins is swept out his door and into a dangerous adventure.

The dwarves' goal is to return to their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountains and reclaim a stolen fortune from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, they and their reluctant companion meet giant spiders, hostile elves, ravening wolves--and, most perilous of all, a subterranean creature named Gollum from whom Bilbo wins a magical ring in a riddling contest. It is from this life-or-death game in the dark that J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, would eventually spring. Though The Hobbit is lighter in tone than the trilogy that follows, it has, like Bilbo Baggins himself, unexpected iron at its core. Don't be fooled by its fairy-tale demeanor; this is very much a story for adults, though older children will enjoy it, too. By the time Bilbo returns to his comfortable hobbit-hole, he is a different person altogether, well primed for the bigger adventures to come--and so is the reader. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:16 -0400)

(see all 19 descriptions)

Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 42 descriptions

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