Speaking of re-reading classic books, I recently re-read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I watched the movie and it really motivated me to re-read the book. Now, I have read the book (and the Lord of the Rings triology) many, many times since I first read them in my childhood. But I don’t think I had re-read The Hobbit for many years.
It hasn’t lost its appeal. It just seems like one of those books you can read periodically and get more enjoyment out of; like an old friend – at the risk of sounding cliché. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. And yes, even though I enjoyed the movie as a chance to enter that world through the big screen and see the characters come to life, the book is better.
I obviously knew the story arc and the ending but it was great to read the details and to immerse myself in the world Tolkien introduces. As many reviewers have noted, the movie plays up the dark side of the storyline with the ring and much else. The book is much more playful and doesn’t include the tension and portents about the ring. Bilbo uses it a lot and no one seems to think much about it at all. Oerall, it has as simpler more playful tone and style than the movie; which makes it great fun, IMO.
One aspect that was something a surprise to me was all of the tension regarding the dwarves, elves and men at the end and Bilbo’s role in trying to broker some sort of peace. I recalled the battle but not the politics if you will. It was another interesting lens into Bilbo’s character and his unique development; the “thief” become something more.
It really is a fun and engaging story about how what seems like an ordinary hobbit becomes, or is revealed to be, not quite so ordinary. A great read for all ages. I can’t wait until my kids get a little older and I can read it to them (might make for a good vacation audio read).
I don’t have anything more profound to offer, but it was good to know that you can return to one of your favorite books from childhood and still enjoy it.
P.s. I have to say that reading it on the Kindle was great. I took on vacation with me, read it and bed, and pretty much took it with me everywhere. I have sentimental feelings about the beat up paperback I read when I was young, and still have on the book shelf, but the Kindle was very convenient.