With precious few weeks left before the year is out, and having set myself the task of reading at least 10 of the BBC Big Reads before 2014 draws to a close, after finishing Emma I soon began The Hobbit. Chosen largely because of a number of recommendations and partly because of its length; at around 250 pages it promised to be a fairly quick read – especially next to some other novels on the list.
When I began reading the BBC’s Big Read, I essentially did it to challenge my reading habits and try new genres; something I have undoubtedly done. Were it not for working my way through the list, there are a number of books – many of which I have absolutely adored – that I wouldn’t otherwise have read. Falling under the genre of fantasy – one that I tend to avoid – it certainly wouldn’t have made its way onto my reading pile under normal circumstances.
Having managed to avoid any of the films based on Tolkien’s work, I had little knowledge of the plot, other than the name of some of the characters; namely Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins. Based on the bedtime stories Tolkien used to tell his own children, and first published almost eighty years ago, The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he embarks on a quest to retrieve the treasure stolen by Smaug the dragon. Accompanied by thirteen dwarves and Gandalf, a wizard, they encounter a number of obstacles along the way, all of which they eventually manage to overcome.
An entertaining read that brilliantly fuses fantasy, magic and adventure, The Hobbit has certainly whet my appetite for reading Lord of the Rings – the novel which took the number one spot in the BBC Top 100 Reads.
About The Hobbit
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.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
About J R R Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .
Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959.
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