Book Review

hobbit“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.”

Can you write a finer opening paragraph than that? I can’t, and believe me I’ve tried. Had I been the one struck with the inspiration to pen this wonderful novel, it would have gone something like this:

The hobbit was small and lived in a sort of house thing, but more like a tunnel dug in the ground not unlike the tunnels that small animals might dig in the ground to live in except that in the hobbit hole you could actually like live in it because it was nice. It was warm and cozy and had low ceilings upon which a visiting wizard might bump his noggin.

I’m reading several books at the moment but because it’s October, one of them is definitely The Hobbit. I’ve read it (and its sequel) every year since 1992, preferring to do so between September and December. Yes, it is pathetic. With a thousand books out there on my to-read list, I keep coming back to these over and over again.

Anyway, enough about me. On with the book review!

The book opens with An Unexpected Party. Tell me, how many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting around minding your own business, smoking your own pipe, eating your own seed cakes, when out of nowhere thirteen dwarves show up! Boy, if I had a nickle for every time this has happened to me, well, I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing blog posts. Apparently, the dwarves are upset at losing seven hundred billion dollars to a great red-gold dragon named Smaug and are intent on getting it back. A full frontal assault is out of the question, so with the help of Ian McKellen, they settle on burglary. And that’s where our hero Bilbo comes in.

Without so much as a pocket handkerchief, he sets off on a series of adventures: getting caught by trolls, visiting the elves, escaping goblins, drinking heavily, getting arrested after a minor altercation in a casino. etc. Eventually he and the dwarves find their way to the Lonely Mountain and … well, I don’t want to give it all away. Suffice it to say Bilbo does appear in the sequel.

It’s a wonderful book, and in the words of Rayner Unwin, “should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9.” I would amend the second age to read “99” and you’ve got it. I highly recommend it.

If you’re not the sort who likes to read, don’t worry: a film version is on the way, now that all the nasty little legal problems have been sorted out. If you are the sort who likes to read, but have already read it, I invite you to enjoy some more of my own original work:

The rain came down in buckets so heavily that you could not see two inches in front of your nose when Joe the Bartender locked up his tavern for the night. He smelled the ominous smells of the night as he walked down the slick, dark, city streets which he knew so well as he had grown up there since before he was in high school. It seemed like an ordinary night but there was nothing ordinary about it — even his new boots knew something was wrong…

6 Responses to “Book Review”

Megan said
October 8, 2008 at 5:14 am

Can you believe I have never read this book? However, with your incredible writing style, you have lured me into wanting to go pick up a copy ASAP!

HangryPants said
October 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

AND hobbits have second breakfast!

Charlie said
October 8, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Ooo! Good point HP. I can’t believe I didn’t say anything about that.

johngl said
October 11, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Germans have had zweites Frühstück (second breakfast) for ages.

I agree with Gollum on this one: They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!

M.P.D (female) said
October 18, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Second breakfast? Damn. I guess all their excess weight goes to their feet.

Fleeing the Nazgul said
November 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

It’s one of the greatest books of all time when you just want to escape.