book review: THE HOBBIT by Tolkien


I have ticked off one of my ’30 things…’ and finished reading The Hobbit. It was a good read and I can see why it’s a well-loved novel. It is interesting the way its third person narrative definitely makes you feel as though you are taking a peek inside another world. The way it is written makes you fully aware you are reading a story rather than immersing you in the story thus making the characters tantalisingly distant and this struck me as a rather intriguing aspect of Tolkien’s writing. Bilbo wrestles with his desire to stay within the comforts of his own home and the side of him, supposedly inherited from a particular family member, that wants to experience more. More of the world, more of life – a true adventure. We know of this inner battle but we aren’t in his head seeing things from his point of view. It makes for the character of Gandalf to be rather mysterious, always leaving us with the feeling there is more to him, more he is doing behind the scenes and more he knows that we don’t.

My favourite chapter is Riddles in the Dark where Gollum is introduced. He is an ingenious creation and fascinating in how vile and cruel he is, yet humorous and sympathetic. Not many villains will give a painful wail when they are outdone by the hero of the tale and not many are portrayed as immature and vulnerable through the way they speak and talk to themselves. He is another character that leaves me feeling there is more to be told and of course there is.  The version of the book that I read was a special gift set that Joe had and it included postcards with maps and pictures, two of which I have photographed and included in this post. It also has a disc with a recording of Tolkien reading my favourite chapter, which I hope to listen to at some point!

The Desolation of Smaug
Conversation with Smaug
I have started watching the first of the three films… I couldn’t quite believe it had been made into three as I was not interested in watching them when they came out so did not take much notice. I did enjoy watching it though I felt the typical it’s-not-like-the-book frustrations. Especially since extra elements not present in the book have been added, which I’m sure has left many people asking the same question: if you need to add bits, why are you making three epic movies?

Anyway, I am thinking I should read The Lord of the Rings etc. but I am interested to know anyone’s recommended books? Partly for my list of books to read but also from a writing point of view – it’s good to know what people enjoy and why… So I would love it if you would take the time to comment and tell me a book or several that you loved reading – also would be nice to know who else is reading my blog!


Add Yours
  1. Jo

    I have started reading the harry potter series again, I also like reading the shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, I read a book about every couple of weeks!


  2. Ruth

    I have just finished reading a couple of good books, I do wonder where I find the time sometimes, but just read a book in 24 hours. I was called ‘How I lost you’ a novel about a woman who was accused of killing her son and was told she had pnd. I still believe some of the best books I have ever read are the ones by Khaled Hosseini, there’s 3 now. I do enjoy the light humour of Sophie Kinsella. Always good for a giggle and the extreme of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there’s a series and I have read them all and just bought the new one. I’m always on the look out for suggestions for new authors so throw some this way too please


  3. Nick

    J.R.Tolkien , C.S.Lewis (and more recently Phillip Pullman )in my mind stand like literary gods… and I use the word advisedly for they – like God – create from one mind the complexity of worlds, the majesty of mordor mountains , the midsummer-night-dream of Revendell, the warming folk-music-homely Shire and Brie, the unobserved multiverse keys of Subtle Knife and Wardrobe… and within all this, the good, the bad and the ugly of sentient beings within a spectrum ranging from mighty kingdoms to village under a hill . A most memorable moment for me was once in Oxford, having time to kill waiting for my daughter Emily, and so slipping into a Pub for a pint. I was in the Rabbit Room of The Eagle and Child and as I sat sipping alone at an old small table I read on the wall beside me that CS Lewis and JR Tolkien sat here each week and talked through their ideas… and suddenly that little tale became as significant as knife and wardrobe. Had I not been alone I would have been poor company for a good few minutes as I considered the lambent high altar of this old wood board. Here also at one weekly evening meeting of The Inklings (their literary group) CS Lewis came along and handed out drafts of an idea he had… which he said he was thinking of calling ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. At the end of the humdrudgery of an office desk, I like nothing better than multiverse key of turning the pages of a good book into a startle of wonder – The Hobbit being one such world. [for more on the Eagle and child, can click on: ]


  4. Nick

    The book trilogy: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and finally ,The Amber Spyglass. Each leads on from the other…and for me… each is deeper and more intriguing than the one before.


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