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 Hobbit was my introduction to Tolkien’s writing and also the first full book I read in many years. I used to read a lot as a kid, however it has become harder to make time for it lately. I’m glad that this was my first book of his, as I found it very entertaining and easy to follow. It also made me fall in love with Tolkien’s beautifully descriptive writing, although I must admit that it had me looking up many words in the dictionary.
Compared to its three movie adaptations, the book is more fast-paced and is driven by Bilbo’s fantastic journey, rather than epic battles against enemies that I learned were not even part of the original story. This allowed me to focus on Bilbo’s personal growth and character development without getting sidetracked by the distractions found in the films (if you’ve watched them, you’ll hopefully understand what I’m talking about). Personally, I believe this was the original intention of the story.
Even though Tolkien’s writing can become slow at times, especially when he describes landscapes in incredible —but also slightly painful— detail, I honestly think that this is a story that anyone can enjoy. I especially appreciate the way the author sometimes addresses the reader and makes them feel part of the narrative. I picked up the edition of this book that contains illustrations by Alan Lee, and felt they complemented the writing very well.