Thursday, May 3, 2012

another gap filled...

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I know, I know--how the heck could I have lived for 48+ years without reading The Hobbit?!! I've never claimed to be well-read, and here's a prime example, huh? And you know what? This wasn't even one of those instances of "too many books" but instead was an instance of avoidance. I've just always had it in my head that it wasn't a book I'd really enjoy...

Despite the fact that I've never heard *anyone* say a bad word about it.

Despite the fact that people whose opinions I very much respect, and tend to generally match up pretty well with when it comes to books, love this book.

Despite the fact that I was afraid of The Lord of the Rings, and found I positively adored it when I finally dove in.

Still I doubted.

But then that darling husband of mine put it on his list for my happiness project. Combine that with the fact that I thought it would be a perfect choice for a school read with Gray *and* it's as perfect a choice for Once Upon a Time as likely exists...yeah, it was just time.

As everyone else on the planet has already read The Hobbit, it seems pointless to summarize or analyze or any other -ize it. (Okay, it's not really the pointlessness of it that is stopping me, but rather the fact that I suck at it and don't much enjoy doing it. :P )

But as for my expectations...well, they of course were proven wrong. I *did* enjoy this book. A great deal. Still, there's a few things I wish: 1.) That I'd read it as a kid. I have a feeling that I would have been positively captivated then, as multitudes of children have been over the years. And 2.) That I'd read it before The Lord of the Rings. Not because of the fact that the story takes place before those books, but because in some ways it felt somehow "less" than those amazing books. The Lord of the Rings has so much more depth and more darkness. I felt far more immersed in it than I did in Bilbo's story. (And yes, this begs the question--why have I never got around to reading The Return of the King. Another glaring omission in my reading. I don't know--I seem to have a problem with completion. I haven't yet read the third book in His Dark Materials either, another trilogy I'm completely in love with. /tangent) Anyway, while it's impossible to miss the similarities in the stories told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I think it's also impossible to miss how very different they are as well.

Bottom line: I'm grateful that Rich "forced" me into finally reading The Hobbit (and I'm grateful that I decided to use it for school, because Gray is loving it!). I found it to be absolutely delightful, and in many ways the timing was perfect for me--escaping to Middle Earth was a great stress-reliever. And while I may not be as fond of it as I am of The Lord of the Rings (what I've read anyway :P ), it is a definite mark in the WIN column.

(Projects progress: happiness project, Rich's list of books
AND 50x50, #39-Read 50 classics
AND of course, it counts as a Once Upon a Time read)


DesLily said...

I wrote a long comment and blogger ate it wanting a mobile phone and I don't have one!
I am proud you read the Hobbit!!! I loved loved loved it!! I read it when my kids were teenagers and they are in their mid 40's now lol.

onward and upward to finish the two trilogies!!

Bookfool said...

I haven't read anything at all by Tolkien for much the same reasons you avoided this one. Feel better?

Susan said...

Woohoo! You read The HObbit! I love this book, and LotR - read many times. Sometimes I feel like a freak because I've read them so often - and the Silmarillion, and even a few of others. Now you can get all excited for The Hobbit coming out in December! lol

Really though, I am thrilled you did enjoy it. It was written for children, whereas LotR is more for adults, you are right. It's all about The Ring, isnt' it??

Kailana said...

I have to admit I liked the trilogy more than this book, but it was still worth the read.

Debi said...

Hmmm...what the heck is that mobile phone thing about, I wonder. Sorry your comment got eaten though--that is so damn frustrating, isn't it?
I'm thinking about reading The Hobbit aloud to Max--maybe during next year's OUaT. I think he'd love it, but reluctant reader that he is, I doubt he'd ever read it on his own.

LOL--yes, as a matter a fact it does! :D

Annie read the Silmarillion a few years back and loved it. But for some reason I just doubt that I'll ever try to tackle that one. Ummm, and Susan, you definitely are *not* a freak, my dear! :)

Yep, I say that about sums up my feelings too. :)

Carl V. said...

Although part of me regrets not having read LOTR as a kid, I truly am glad that I didn't discover it until after I had seen the films. I was able to enjoy them both that way and I get so much more out of LOTR as an adult. I'm with you, however, as regards The Hobbit. I too wish I had read it as a child. I would have fallen deeply in love with it, I am sure. As it is, I read The Hobbit before the film version of Fellowship of the Ring came out so that I would have that background info. And I enjoyed it very, very much. But it isn't as cherished a work for me as is LOTR and The Simarillion. Still, it is an awfully good book. I'm glad you enjoyed it.