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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
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The Hobbit (original 1937; edition 2011)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
53,4176878 (4.26)5 / 1521
Member:marek2010
Title:The Hobbit
Authors:J. R. R. Tolkien
Info:HarperCollins (2011), Edition: 70th Anniversary, Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Novel, Fantasy, British literature, Reread, r 2012, 1930s

Work details

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien (Author) (1937)

1930s (1)
Unread books (1,477)
  1. 870
    The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (aang2014, JqnOC)
    aang2014: Starts the trilogy very good, I loved it.
  2. 230
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Percevan)
  3. 286
    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. 213
    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Death_By_Papercut)
    Death_By_Papercut: Quality, epic fantasy.
  5. 2410
    The Hobbit: A Graphic Novel by J. R. R. Tolkien (Percevan)
  6. 197
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (benmartin79)
  7. 80
    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.
  8. 102
    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.
  9. 60
    Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Michael.Rimmer)
  10. 50
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (chrisharpe)
  11. 95
    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.
  12. 20
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
    sturlington: In addition to Arthur Dent, Gaiman's Richard Mayhew is a reluctant adventurer like Bilbo Baggins.
  13. 43
    Abarat by Clive Barker (Death_By_Papercut)
  14. 87
    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)
  15. 32
    Deep into the Heart of a Rose by G. T. Denny (StefanY)
  16. 11
    Sprookjes van Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien (Smitie)
    Smitie: Three fairy tales from Tolkien
  17. 1112
    The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis (Death_By_Papercut)
  18. 13
    The Prophecy of Zephyrus by G. A. Hesse (OccamsHammer)
  19. 49
    The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (DeathByPain)
    DeathByPain: The first book in Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series
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Showing 1-5 of 630 (next | show all)
Yesterday -- or, by the time this goes live on my blog, the day before yesterday, the 22nd -- was Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, so naturally that constituted the final bit of excuse I needed to reread Lord of the Rings. And it never quite feels right without starting with The Hobbit. It doesn't have quite the same cleverness that I enjoy with Lord of the Rings -- Tolkien hadn't come up with, or didn't see the need to explain, his complicated text provenances, for example -- but I still enjoy the narration, the sense of being told a story, and the fact that he expects you, dares you, to be on the ball. As a kid, I didn't notice some of the flaws in Bilbo's plans at all, but Tolkien's narration gives you the benefit of the doubt there. Self-deprecating, almost.

I think the reason I dislike the Hobbit films so much is because they are adapting the book I love to blend with the films they've made already. I can see why they're doing that, and why people enjoy it, but I don't feel the desperate need to rationalise the difference between the tones of the two books. I like my dwarves goofy, the hero's journey a little less blatant; I like that Bilbo makes his way through all the adventures because he's a hobbit, with hobbit-sensibilities, not just a hero in hobbit form. I love that hobbits are basically Tolkien taking aspects of himself and letting them run around in this fantasy world without the illusion that of course he'd be the heroic type. It's still wish fulfilment, but it's a kind of wish fulfilment where the hero probably would be better off as a grocer or something else quiet, and manages despite that.

I mean, I bet a very small percentage of self-insert fanfics have the sense to admit that in reality, they're more like the hobbits than the typical heroes. I really enjoy that Tolkien quite blatantly did that with his layers of authorship and the characteristics of hobbits as a race, and didn't give in to the urge to over-romanticise it -- while still making hobbits endearing, funny, brave, worth reading about, still pulling out aspects of character from even the most countrified bumpkin that could make them a hero.

And, let's be honest, I just don't understand people who don't see the skill in Tolkien's writing, in the way he builds up the world. Even here, where it isn't taking the main character very seriously, he still takes the world seriously, shadowing it with the threat of the Necromancer, the Ring, the great alliances of the orcs -- hinting at twisted dwarves and the complicated history of the elves, deftly bringing in little bits of lore so that they're natural when we come to them in The Lord of the Rings. Not because he was planning it, but because he knew his world and knew how to show it to the reader. ( )
  shanaqui | Nov 23, 2014 |
As a 12 year old, I called this book "Greedy Little Midgets." Harsh, but hey--I was 12.
I didn't enjoy this book as a kid. Sacrilege, I know. When I read it, I wasn't into SF/F yet, so the verbose, lengthy descriptions bored me.

As an adult fantasy reader, I can appreciate the rich language and world building that Tolkien put into the work. Definitely one of the classics and worth the read.

Read the full review here: www.ravenoak.net ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
I haven’t read this book for many years, because I didn’t like it. I read it after Lord of the Rings, which I loved, and still read often. I had it in my head that I didn’t like Bilbo, thinking him pompous and silly. I realise now I have been enormously unfair, and I apologise to you, Mr Baggins, and trust you will find it in your good-hearted nature to forgive me.

J R R Tolkien says this is a children’s book, and so it is. A great deal of it is written in the same style as Lord of the Rings, with sweeping narrative and marvellously evocative description. Then it suddenly turns into somewhat patronising, to my mind, first person insertions by the narrator, sometimes suggesting what will happen later, and at others telling you, dear reader, what is happening or about to happen, such as “as you will see”. I think this is what put me off the book so whole-heartedly when I was in my teens.

It is entirely possible that this narrative structure makes it easy to read to children. I don’t remember being read to, although I’m sure I was. Professor Tolkien read it to his children (or maybe he told it, then wrote it). I’d like to know whether it is read aloud by today’s parents (or elder siblings, or anyone else) to young children. Some of the sentences are very long-winded. My personal view is that it’s a read-to-oneself book, but I’m happy to be told otherwise.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, more than I expected, but I did find the final part after they establish themselves at the Lonely Mountain to be somewhat dull. Most of the action does not happen to Bilbo and is done in flashback when we hear what he missed. It’s like a vast epic has been condensed into a short afterthought since it’s the only place the story can be fitted into the Middle-Earth timeline. But the few things that Bilbo does at that stage show, as do his earlier adventures, what a warm-hearted, ingenious, morally sound person he is.

I take my hat off to you, Mr Baggins. But I don’t like the Professor’s style in this book. I’ll stick to other tales of Middle-Earth. ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
I read this story about 30 years ago. I loved reading this just as much the second time. ( )
  stevealtier | Oct 26, 2014 |
I found this book much better the second time I read it, as I could understand the various references, and take my time appreciating Tolkien's writing. ( )
  Shea42 | Oct 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 630 (next | show all)
The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them.
added by ed.pendragon | editSunday Times
 
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
 
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.
 
For it must be understood that this is a children’s book only in the sense that the first of many readings can be undertaken in the nursery. Alice is read gravely by children and with laughter by grown ups; The Hobbit, on the other hand, will be funnier to its youngest readers, and only years later, at a tenth or a twentieth reading, will they begin to realise what deft scholarship and profound reflection have gone to make everything in it so ripe, so friendly, and in its own way so true. Prediction is dangerous: but The Hobbit may well prove a classic.
 

» Add other authors (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barcia, Moises R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figueroa, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, EricIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, ToveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeronimidis Conte, ElenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauzon, Danielsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ledoux, FrancisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parcerisas, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitkänen, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajamets, HaraldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajandi, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Fernanda PintoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skibniewska, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szobotka, TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vrba, FrantišekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zetterholm, ToreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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.

Publisher's editors
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:22 -0400)

(see all 18 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 46 descriptions

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