Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Welcome to Book - The Hobbit

Welcome one and all to our February readalong of The Hobbit.

The 21st of September 2017 will be the 80th anniversary of the publication of  J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit or There and Back Again.

My edition for this reread of The Hobbit is the 1997 illustrated hardback produced for the 60th anniversary. The illustrator, Alan Lee went on to become one of Peter Jackson's artistic consultants for the 2001-03 movies of LOTR. His images of Middle Earth have become iconic in the Tolkien world.

Tolkien initially said that he wrote The Hobbit for an audience of children, although as Jane Chance says in her book, Tolkien's Art (2001), a more accurate description would be that The Hobbit appeals to the child in the adult. 

The Hobbit also reflected Tolkien's interest in Norse mythology and along with the LOTR trilogy, became an archetypal work of high fantasy.

The original publication of The Hobbit was amended by Tolkien after he started work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gollum's character in particular, was significantly changed to conform to events in LOTR. This is now the version we all know and love.

But what is it all about?

My jacket blurb says,
Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.  
Although quite reluctant to take part in this quest, Bilbo surprises himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar!

Essentially, The Hobbit is a road trip book and coming-of-age story wrapped up in one. Although Bilbo is not a child at the beginning of the story, he is child-like. His quest or journey is not just a physical one.

Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast smoking an enormous long pipe.

Whilst reading The Hobbit, watch out for examples of animism (giving inanimate objects human qualities), WWI analogies, the use of the omniscient narrator, fairy tale-like elements, examples of greed and selfishness, safety versus dangerous, heroism and humour. 

If you'd like to write your own Welcome to Book for The Hobbit, you can leave your link in the Master Post. You could tell us about your relationship with The Hobbit or share any titbits of information you may have gleaned over the years.
Please be mindful of first time readers until we get to the end of the month, where we can then assume that the book has been read by all participants.


You can read The Hobbit as quickly or as slowly as you like throughout February. You could even read it multiple times if the fancy takes you.

I will write a check-in post for the middle of February to see where everyone is up to.

But now it's time to say 'yes' to adventure and turn our eyes towards the Shire and a little hobbit hole on the side of The Hill.

The #HLOTRreadalong2017 Master Post is here.

8 comments:

  1. I'm still in January here...so when I wake up tomorrow the journey starts!
    The house painter start too...and I hope he will get about the his work without
    bothering me too much!

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  2. Excited to finally get this started :) Happy reading, everyone.

    (find my Hobbit rants at AnotherBook.blog)

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  3. I love The Hobbit. Looking forward to following along (without the reading part)!

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    1. Nick & Rick have been posting some fascinating 'how to read The Hobbit' posts on their blogs. Links are available on the master post.

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  4. I finally got my signup post done! And I started the Hobbit last night. :)

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    1. Wahoo! Glad to have you along Jean.

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  5. This is absolutely fantastic Bron! I'm glad we are on the same level of fandom for LOTR/The 'Habit'. Fergus - Peribo

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    1. Thanks Fergus! Those hobbits are habit forming :-)

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