Author: JRR Tolkien
First Read: 6 or 7 years old.
I can’t remember when I first read the Hobbit. I do know when I first read LOTR. It was when I went with my mom to the eye doctor. She started reading it to me, and when she couldn’t continue because of the eye drops, I started reading it on my own. About four years later, I received my own illustrated copy of the Hobbit (with Hague illustrations, so he is my first LOTR artist), and then a few years after that, I brought my own copies of Fellowship, Towers, and King. When the movies came out, I caved and brought hardcover editions of the trilogy. Additionally, it is one of the few books where I own multiple versions – not only physical books, but kindle version, audio cassette versions, and Audible files.
And that’s not counting the movies.
But let’s not count those because I will keep bitching about the lack of a thrush.
I have read the books so many times, that I got a little po’ed when I reviewed the kindle version of LOTR and somebody thought it was the first time I read the books.
When I first read the books, I found everything before the Council of Elrond boring and after the first two times I read the story, skipped it for a bit. I liked the bit at the Ford, but the Council of Elrond was where it was at because it had Elves. I loved Elves because they had bows like Robin Hood. Flynn’s Robin Hood was the first movie I saw, the Pyle version of Robin Hood was one of the first books I owned. Bard was my favorite character in the Hobbit because he had a bow. You see how it goes. I also couldn’t figure out why Arwen married Strider because she didn’t do anything but sew.
While I agree with Pratchett -that if you think LOTR is the greatest book every, you haven’t read it enough, I love this book. It isn’t perfect, but it holds up well. And yes, there are parts that don’t quite fit – Tom Bombadil for instance, but their friendship and bonds that run though the novel are the joy of the novel.
As I got older, I grew to love the Arwen story at the same time I got angry with how it set such a standard of elven maiden giving up immortality to marry a human man, something in reverse that you tend not to see too often. I realized that there are aspects of the Prof in many characters, perhaps mostly in Eowyn when she complains of being left to burn in the hall when men have more use for it.
What the Prof did was not only give Britain a saga, a story that Milton wished to do. He didn’t just simply set the standard for world building or create a template that writers like Terry Brooks would “borrow” (or steal) for years to come.
It’s humanity. Really.
Old Faves in New Flavors
The Hobbit Graphic Novel
The novel stayed true to the book. However, I wasn't too impressed with the artwork. It could have been more attractive. Given that I've just finished reading Monstress, it is no surprise that everything else looks almost dull in comparison!
Words that have always made me sad and touched my heart:
Outtakes from the Grave
This book is solely for the readers who have loved the Night Huntress series. It contains deleted scenes and different versions that were scrapped for various reasons. It was a good way to revisit the duo that we'd all miss now that the series has ended. Since I have added books from the two spinoff series to my TBR recently, I'm guessing I'll come across Cat & Bones there too.
X-Men: Magneto Testament
Since I read this first, I didn't realize how heavily inspired it was by the book, Night by Elie Wiesel. Even so, I loved it, both for the content and the art. A scene that stayed with me was about the girl Magneto is trying to save. She is found among dead bodies and is found to have survived because she remembered what he had said to her & had hidden herself in the pile.
What I liked about this book was that the author wasn't interested in getting people to feel sorry for them. Instead, their objective was to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. That is one of the reasons why the book felt much more authentic to me than The Book Thief ever did. Of course, the fact that the author lived through the events has a lot to do with that, as well.
I think this quote from the book says it all:
Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction
Find my mini-review here.
Monstress, Vol 1: Awakening
Everybody has been talking about this, so I'll just say that you might wanna check it out for yourself.
Asimov's Science Fiction
Detailed review here.
February was a good month. I read more graphic novels than I usually read and it is always good to try new things.
With the many fantasy books on the market these days, it is easy to forget where it all started. Reading Tolkien for me is like going home. The Hobbit was one of the first fantasy stories I read, so it may have an unfair advantage on my sensibilities. But I believe the characters, the action, the details of the world Tolkien created- all still hold up against the best that has been written in the field. For this and many other reasons, I include The Hobbit as one of my classics.
Continuing my Tolkien re-read.
The Hobbit sees the titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins scooped up by a pack of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf to go on a Quest to rescue the dwarves' gold from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Along the way they meet goblins, giant spiders, hungry trolls and more.
Most of it I found absolutely charming: there's a lovely fairytale vibe to the quest parts, a sense that there are all kinds of magics lurking just around the corner, and actually I wish we had more of this Middle-earth as well as the very different Middle-earth of The Lord of the Rings, which is wonderful in its own way but much less mysterious and much heavier.
I got bogged down in all the politics when the party actually get to the Lonely Mountain where the treasure is hidden, but then I think I always do. The ending chapters are specially lovely, though:
"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending."