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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
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The Hobbit (original 1937; edition 2002)

by J.R.R. Tolkien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
69,6939558 (4.27)6 / 2033
Member:kevinmconroy
Title:The Hobbit
Authors:J.R.R. Tolkien
Info:Graphia (2002), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 920
    The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (aang2014, JqnOC)
    aang2014: Starts the trilogy very good, I loved it.
  2. 290
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Percevan)
  3. 326
    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. 2510
    The Hobbit {graphic novel} by Chuck Dixon (Percevan)
  6. 227
    Beowulf by Beowulf Poet (benmartin79)
  7. 110
    Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Michael.Rimmer)
  8. 92
    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. 70
    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.
  10. 40
    The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (chrisharpe)
  11. 85
    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. 31
    Deep into the Heart of a Rose by G. T. Denny (StefanY)
  13. 31
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
    sturlington: In addition to Arthur Dent, Gaiman's Richard Mayhew is a reluctant adventurer like Bilbo Baggins.
  14. 10
    Sprookjes van Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien (Smitie)
    Smitie: Three fairy tales from Tolkien
  15. 33
    Abarat by Clive Barker (Death_By_Papercut)
  16. 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)
  17. 12
    The Prophecy of Zephyrus by G. A. Hesse (OccamsHammer)
  18. 23
    The Whale Kingdom Quest by Ming-Wei (Rossi21)
    Rossi21: This is a alternative science fiction type of novel, very interesting
  19. 78
    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)
  20. 1012
    The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis (Death_By_Papercut)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (892)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (9)  German (8)  French (7)  Finnish (7)  Danish (3)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Serbian (1)  Polish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (954)
Showing 1-5 of 892 (next | show all)
I had to read it in high school the same as you, but I've read it a dozen times at least since! ( )
  Amelia1989 | Jun 10, 2019 |
The story (and history) of this book is well-known; it drew heavily on the author's academic research, his wartime experiences and spawned a far more serious trilogy of blockbuster fantasy novels that themselves threw off seemingly a thousand imitators. What can be said about this novel that's not been said before?

Well, I would contend that were it not for the circumstance of its origin, it would be fairly unremarkable. The style betrays its origin as a tale told to children in the 1930s, because there are recurrent authorial asides that a father would use. British readers of A Certain Age should think of the BBC's 'Listen with Mother'; these asides have a similar condescending tone to them. Many of them would not survive a modern editorial blue pencil; they don't just speak directly to the reader, they tell the reader exactly how they are supposed to think and feel at that point.

Description is otherwise good and only slightly archaic for the modern reader. Characterisation is a different matter. I first read this book more than fifty years ago and had not picked it up since. But I had seen the Peter Jackson films, and they made it impossible not to see the characters as the depictions from those films. So I came away from the novel thinking the dwarfs excessively petulent, argumentative and unpleasant to each other as well as to Bilbo, something the films improved upon.

Other differences I noticed were that the narrative in the films was adjusted to 'retcon' The Lord of the Rings. I see nothing wrong in this; this novel represents a far earlier vision of Tolkien's Middle Earth than the later trilogy accessed, Having made a detailed film version of the later books, Peter Jackson could not have filmed The Hobbit as is; too many pointers to later events exist in the earlier book. Anyone coming to The Hobbit from the films has to understand this.

One thing that I noticed - and this is possibly my science-fiction reader's critical examination of world-building coming in here - is that I kept seeing signs throughout the book (but especially in the Hobbiton segments) that somewhere there was a reasonably high-technology society hiding in full view. Because Tolkien started this tale as a story for his children, he kept putting into the descriptions of everyday life things the children would have been familiar with - kitchen utensils, crockery, kettles and all the other manufactured things that we take for granted in most normal houses. I thought this might just be in the films, but they are there in the novel as well. We have no idea where Bilbo Baggins gets his wealth from, either, but we are not supposed to think that he is stupendously rich - he is depicted as fairly solidly middle class - and he has the things that any middle class household would have, crafted in reasonable quantity and quality. Dwarvish or Elven metalsmithing is talked about often, but that ls reserved for making swords, chain mail and high-value fine craft objects. Elven swords, indeed, are sufficiently rare as to be given names, suggesting that they have been created by individual masters like Japanese katanas; but everyday items seem to exist in quantity and made at a reasonable price (though Bilbo's silver spoons do become an item of contention with his socially aspirational relatives!).

If we look at hobbit society, there are a number of trades that can only reasonably exist in a fairly well-established society where there is surplus income; there are butchers who sell bacon and pork pies (instead of mere vendors of meat), there are solicitors and there are auctioneers. And as for the existence in Middle Earth of coffee...

There are also a number of scenes in the book which would never have made it to the screen because there was just too many effects needed, even for Peter Jackson's vision; Gandalf's obsession with blowing multi-coloured and highly mobile smoke rings would have required too many effects inserting for no good reason; perhaps more noticeable were the scenes where the Dwarvish Party try to gatecrash the Wood Elves' alfresco feast, only to have it vanish and reappear in a different part of Mirkwood, which may have been too much effort to depict for their role in the narrative, or possibly would have made the pacing too disjointed, being partially interleaved with the spider scenes. This may equally be the reason why the Jackson films - all of them - rather back-pedal on actually showing Gandalf as a powerful magic user; watch the films at all objectively and you begin to wonder just how much magic Gandalf actually uses, whereas in The Hobbit, there are plenty of instances where he demonstrates his abilities; though to be fair, Tolkien does not use Gandalf's powers as a "get out of jail free" card.

There is much use in the novel of the folkloric tropes of shape-shifting and communicating directly with animals through speech, either the animals using "human" speech or certain characters understanding animal speech. This is barely mentioned in the films, and possibly only alluded to. Perhaps we are now too literal-minded to accept this as the legitimate use of a folkloric device.

The films also re-used visual effects and designs from the later trilogy; in particular, the Wargs were a different creature altogether in the films, whilst the goblins are rendered as orcs to a greater degree. Overall, it ended up with the novel giving the impression of being a sketch for Tolkein's later work. Some of the later characters amongst the Men of Laketown are little more than walk-ons in the novel, but are fleshed out in the films; and the Battle of the Five Armies is described in about five pages in the novel; it occupies about the last quarter of the third film.

So after all that, what do I think of The Hobbit? I'm glad that I've re-read it, and I shall look forward to re-reading The Lord of the Rings in due course - but I'm not going to rush to push LoTR any further up the reading pile. And I don't expect to re-read The Hobbit soon. If it were not for its fame, I would not really have had this on the 'to be read' pile at all and I doubt I would have felt I'd missed much. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | Jun 8, 2019 |
Not my kinda book....I have to keep writing so that the review will stick in the mind of the computer that makes such decisions. Made a pretty good movie. ( )
  buffalogr | May 30, 2019 |
sempre un capolavoro. ( )
  elerwen | May 29, 2019 |
I first read this book when I was 10, and liked it. Then I reread the book when I was 40, and I loved it. One of my favorite things is the well hidden or snuck-in social commentary of Gandalf's "Good Morning" go around when he first sees Bilbo. Very nicely done.
Shira
Wiliam-James-MEOW Date: Wednesday, July 11, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 892 (next | show all)
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
 

» Add other authors (31 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
Balčienė, BronėTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barcia, Moises R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciuferri, CaterinaTranslatorsecondary 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
Krege, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary 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, WalterTranslatorsecondary 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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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, frequently bound in three Volumes, as follow:
  • 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.
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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 46 descriptions

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HighBridge

2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

Editions: 156511552X, 1598878980

HighBridge Audio

2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge Audio.

Editions: 1598878980, 1611749085

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