This is part of a series of wrap-up posts I’m doing to cover books I read after I started noting down ratings for books, but before I started noting down when I read them, or write detailed reviews of them. This post covers the Tolkien books.
Publisher: George Allen & Unwin
Released: September 21, 1937
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. The text in this 372-page paperback edition is based on that first published in Great Britain by Collins Modern Classics (1998), and includes a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson (2001). Unforgettable!
I borrowed The Hobbit from the public library, probably on the recommendation of my mother, and I remember it being quite a revelation. At the time I was mostly borrowing, and reading, Goosbumps books, which were entertaining enough, but this was something else. The Hobbit was my first venture into fantasy, which, as much as it sounds as a cliche, opened up a whole new world of books to me.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Released: July 29, 1954
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
There is probably, just about literally, nothing I could say about The Lord of The Rings that hasn’t been said before. I’d define this as the first properly grown up book I read, and… it took me a while. I don’t think my first attempt is when I finally read it though – I borrowed it from the library, in Norwegian, shortly after reading The Hobbit but never got past the opening stages of it. Some years later I got a collectors set with Lord of The Rings, in English, split up in seven books. That’s what it took for me to properly get into it, as I could have a manageable-seeming book next to my bed, and read it in parts. There were parts which I definitely recall feeling very long and slogging, but eventually I did make it through – and I’m very glad I did.