Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Book 82 of 2012: The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a much loved favourite of mine, I reread it every year although normally I'd read it before The Lord of the Rings, knowing that I'd be wanting to see the film before it came out, I decided to hold off reading it for as long as I could this year.

For those not in the know, it follows the story of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit from the Shire who finds himself the reluctant participant in the adventure of a band of Dwarves who are off to try to reclaim their mountain from the dragon Smaug who has taken over. They're helped part of the way by the wizard Gandalf, who leads them through escapades with trolls, takes them to meet the Elves, and sees them safely through Goblin invested tunnels where Bilbo picks up a small golden ring which probably isn't anything too important.

As I was reading this I couldn't help but wonder what they were going to do with bits of it in the film. If anything it's made me more excited, because while I was reading it I kept on imagining what the film version might be like, kind of merging it with the pictures I already have in my head. I'm equal parts ridiculously excited and rather nervous. I'm sure it'll be great.

I've got about four different editions of The Hobbit and this was the first time that I read this particular copy, I've got an old favourite that I normally turn to, occasionally reading the big illustrated edition if I don't have to take it out of the house with me while I read. This copy came from a charity shop and has a lovely inscription on the front page: 'To Rosalind, Merry Christmas 1988 Lots of love, Nigel. (I'm sure it's a good book).' It seems pretty well read so I like to think that Rosalind liked it. This copy has Tolkien's own illustrations through the book as well which is a nice touch. I think it's really interesting to see how the author himself pictured the scenes he was writing, I've not seen many of those pictures before so it was nice to see that lots of times what I was imagining was similar to the pictures he'd included.

This is another book that I can't wait to share with my kids for bedtime stories. Each chapter is more or less a self-contained little adventure within the overall story; Bilbo meets the Dwarves, Bilbo leaves on his adventure, they all meet the trolls. It's nice and simple, and I love the descriptions in it as well. It's written in a lovely way, definitely one of my favourite comfort books. The only problem is, as soon as I finished it I wanted to go on ahead and read The Lord of the Rings!

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit..."

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