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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review
Book Review of
The Hobbit written by J. R. R. Tolkien
By Scott Koors
The Hobbit is a very interesting and exciting book. The main character, Bilbo, is a little dwarf person that doesn't wear any shoes that they call a hobbit. Bilbo and a great wizard, Gandalf, set out on a great adventure together. The two of them overcome some unbelievable hardships...
Published on April 16 2004 by Scott Koors

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 70th anniversary edition rather disappointing, go with ANNOTATED HOBBIT instead., October 24, 2007
[This is a review of the 70th Anniversary Edition, not so much of THE HOBBIT itself. I've reviewed the book proper elsewhere, and would rather focus on the actual edition itself.]

THE HOBBIT is one of those few books that I have felt justified to buy multiple copies over the years. It is a book I have read and cherished, and a book I dearly love. THE HOBBIT is...
Published on Sept. 1 2012 by Mike London


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5.0 out of 5 stars In a hole in the ground, Sept. 11 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." J.R.R. Tolkien first scribbed down the opening line of this book on an extra sheet of paper.

And years before "Lord of the Rings" was seen by anyone outside Tolkien's circle, Middle Earth was first introduced to readers. "The Hobbit" is simpler and less epic than the trilogy that followed it, but Tolkien's brilliant writing, magical world and pleasantly stodgy hero bring a special life to this early fantasy classic.

Bilbo Baggins lives a pleasantly stodgy and dull life, in a luxurious hobbit hole under a hill ("it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort"). He's the picture of dull respectability.

But his life is turned upside-down by the arrival of the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves, led by the exiled king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield. They want to reclaim the Lonely Mountain (and a lot of treasure) from the dragon Smaug. Why do they want Bilbo? Because Gandalf has told them that he'd make a good burglar, even though Bilbo has never burgled in his life.

So before Bilbo is entirely sure what is going on, he is being swept off on a very unrespectable -- and dangerous -- adventure. The quirky little band ends up battling goblins and spiders, nearly getting eaten, and imprisoned by Elves, while Bilbo finds himself in possession of a magic Ring from the treacherous Gollum. But even with a magic Ring, can he defeat a monstrous dragon and win a war against multiple enemies?

Tolkien had been crafting his mythos of Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and ancient Men for years before he ever came up with Bilbo's quest. But it's fortunately that he did, because while "The Hobbit" is overshadowed by the epic sweep of "Lord of the Rings" and the "Silmarillion," it's still an entertaining story that lays the groundwork for his more famous works -- especially the magical Ring that Bilbo finds in Gollum's cavern.

Tolkien's writing is swift, light and full of songs and poetry-laden descriptions, such as interludes in the shimmering, ethereal Rivendell and the cold, terrible Lonely Mountain. The pace in this is much faster than in most of his other works -- not surprising, when you consider it was originally a bedtime story for his children.

Most of the book's action is about Bilbo trying to keep himself and the dwarves from getting eaten, torn apart, or rotting in elf dungeons, but with some quiet interludes like a night at Beorn's mountain home. And the last chapters hint at the epic majesty that Tolkien was capable of, as well as the idea that even little people -- like a mild-mannered hobbit or a bird -- can change the world.

This book also first came up with hobbits -- the peaceful fuzzy-footed countryfolk -- in the form of Bilbo Baggins. He's a likable little guy, if the last person you'd ever expect to be a hero -- initially he seems weak and kind of boring, but his hidden strengths and wits come up to the surface when he needs to. By the end, he's almost a different person.

The dwarves are more comical, and the elves more whimsical in this book, but the supporting characters are still impressive -- the crotchety, mysterious wizard Gandalf, the dignified, flawed Dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield, and a Guardsman who becomes a king. Even minor characters like Beorn, Elrond and the menacing Smaug are given plenty of dimension.

The 70th anniversary edition has some nice extras -- Tolkien's son Christopher wrote a new prologue for it, which is never quite as interesting as it should be. It also contains reedited text, foldouts, and it apparently has all of Tolkien's quirky, solid illustrations.

That's more, this nicely-bound edition includes a duplicate of the original cover, from when the book was originally published -- a gorgeous scenic view of mountains, forests and sky, all done in black, green and blue, with runes all around the edges.

"The Hobbit" started as a fluke, grew into a bedtime story, and became one of the best fantasy stories in literary history -- a charming adventure in the time that never was. Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a story that grows with the reader., June 25 2007
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hobbit (Hardcover)
In a mythical or maybe just forgotten time, many creatures lived in places like the Shire, home to Bilbo Baggins, Hobbit. Hobbits are comfort loving creatures with no real sense for adventure. A knock on the door and Bilbo's life is about to change.

Calling this book children's book is like calling "Alice in Wonderland" [see "The Annotated Alice"] a children's book. Yes children can read this book and it is fun. How ever there is a lot more to this book than a cute story. And it has all the depth of the other Tolkien works with the exception of being shorter.

Many people look at this story as a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings", where in reality it is a stand-alone story with a perfectly good beginning, middle, and end. When you read "The Lord of the Rings" there is enough description to forgo "The Hobbit." Personally, I find that reading The Lord of the Rings first gave me the in-depth background to better appreciate The Hobbit.
Many of the creatures and adventures will put you on the edge of your seat. You will recognize the personalities and grow along will Bilbo as he faces new challenges as he learns to deal with life.
A good book to read first would be "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell. Then you get a clearer picture of why the story progresses as it does.
ISBN: 0395177111
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5.0 out of 5 stars There and back again, March 4 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Hobbit (Hardcover)
"The Hobbit or There and Back Again" is the first story of Middle-Earth that was ever read by the masses. And to this day it remains a beloved favorite due to Tolkien's exceptional writing, realistic and lovable characters, and the fantastic, complicated world with its unlikely hero: a fuzzy-footed hobbit.

Bilbo Baggins lives a pleasantly stodgy and dull life in the Shire, in a luxurious hole under a hill. ("It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort") But his life is completely turned upside-down by the arrival of the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves. The dwarves, led by the exiled king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield, want to regain the Lonely Mountain (and a lot of treasure) from the dragon Smaug, who drove out the dwarves long ago. Why do they want Bilbo? Because Gandalf has told them that he'd make a good burglar (even though Bilbo has never burgled in his life).

So before Bilbo is entirely sure what is going on, he is being swept off on a very unrespectable -- and dangerous -- adventure. Bilbo and the Dwarves battle goblins and spiders, are nearly eaten twice, are captured and Bilbo is forced to riddle with the treacherous, withered Gollum, and ends up escaping with a magical Ring. But even after these obstacles, the dragon Smaug is still in the Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo is not entirely sure what to do to deal with this enemy.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien had been crafting his mythos of Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and Men for years before writing "The Hobbit," but "The Hobbit" is the first story that people had the opportunity to read. It's sillier and lighter, with less dignified Elves and Dwarves. But it provides the springboard for a lot of the stuff in "Lord of the Rings" -- especially the magical Ring that Bilbo finds in Gollum's cavern.

Much of the book involves Bilbo leading the stubborn dwarves through many dangers, and getting himself out of nasty situations such as spiders, trolls and a deadly riddling game. The last chapters of the book hint at the epic majesty Tolkien was capable of -- and through it all is the idea that even little people -- like a hobbit or a bird -- can change the world.

Tolkien's writing is quick and light, while providing sufficient detail to let you picture what's going on. The dialogue is less influenced by Old English than his later works, and the pace is a lot faster -- not surprising, since it was originally read to his kids before bedtime.

Bilbo is a likable little guy -- he seems to be the last person whom you'd expect to be a courageous hero, but he shows incredibly strength and smarts when he's under pressure. He's supported by Thorin Oakenshield, the most dignified, proud and impressively flawed dwarf there is. Crotchety wizard wizard, Bard the Guardsman-turned-King, and even Smaug himself are never cookie-cutter, but complex and sometimes menacing.

"The Hobbit" was written for children, but adults can appreciate and enjoy it just as much. So read this book, then scoop up "The Fellowship of the Ring" and continue reading. A timeless treasure and classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There and back again, Feb. 24 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
"The Hobbit or There and Back Again" is the first story of Middle-Earth that was ever read by the masses. And to this day it remains a beloved favorite due to Tolkien's exceptional writing, realistic and lovable characters, and the fantastic, complicated world with its unlikely hero: a fuzzy-footed hobbit.

Bilbo Baggins lives a pleasantly stodgy and dull life in the Shire, in a luxurious hole under a hill. ("It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort") But his life is completely turned upside-down by the arrival of the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves. The dwarves, led by the exiled king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield, want to regain the Lonely Mountain (and a lot of treasure) from the dragon Smaug, who drove out the dwarves long ago. Why do they want Bilbo? Because Gandalf has told them that he'd make a good burglar (even though Bilbo has never burgled in his life).

So before Bilbo is entirely sure what is going on, he is being swept off on a very unrespectable -- and dangerous -- adventure. Bilbo and the Dwarves battle goblins and spiders, are nearly eaten twice, are captured and Bilbo is forced to riddle with the treacherous, withered Gollum, and ends up escaping with a magical Ring. But even after these obstacles, the dragon Smaug is still in the Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo is not entirely sure what to do to deal with this enemy.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien had been crafting his mythos of Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and Men for years before writing "The Hobbit," but "The Hobbit" is the first story that people had the opportunity to read. It's sillier and lighter, with less dignified Elves and Dwarves. But it provides the springboard for a lot of the stuff in "Lord of the Rings" -- especially the magical Ring that Bilbo finds in Gollum's cavern.

Much of the book involves Bilbo leading the stubborn dwarves through many dangers, and getting himself out of nasty situations such as spiders, trolls and a deadly riddling game. The last chapters of the book hint at the epic majesty Tolkien was capable of -- and through it all is the idea that even little people -- like a hobbit or a bird -- can change the world.

Tolkien's writing is quick and light, while providing sufficient detail to let you picture what's going on. The dialogue is less influenced by Old English than his later works, and the pace is a lot faster -- not surprising, since it was originally read to his kids before bedtime.

Bilbo is a likable little guy -- he seems to be the last person whom you'd expect to be a courageous hero, but he shows incredibly strength and smarts when he's under pressure. He's supported by Thorin Oakenshield, the most dignified, proud and impressively flawed dwarf there is. Crotchety wizard wizard, Bard the Guardsman-turned-King, and even Smaug himself are never cookie-cutter, but complex and sometimes menacing.

"The Hobbit" was written for children, but adults can appreciate and enjoy it just as much. So read this book, then scoop up "The Fellowship of the Ring" and continue reading. A timeless treasure and classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a story that grows with the reader., Sept. 16 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
In a mythical or maybe just forgotten time, many creatures lived in places like the Shire, home to Bilbo Baggins, Hobbit. Hobbits are comfort loving creatures with no real sense for adventure. A knock on the door and Bilbo's life is about to change.

Calling this book children's book is like calling "Alice in Wonderland" [see "The Annotated Alice"] a children's book. Yes children can read this book and it is fun. How ever there is a lot more to this book than a cute story. And it has all the depth of the other Tolkien works with the exception of being shorter.

Many people look at this story as a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings", where in reality it is a stand-alone story with a perfectly good beginning, middle, and end. When you read "The Lord of the Rings" there is enough description to forgo "The Hobbit." Personally, I find that reading The Lord of the Rings first gave me the in-depth background to better appreciate The Hobbit.

Many of the creatures and adventures will put you on the edge of your seat. You will recognize the personalities and grow along will Bilbo as he faces new challenges as he learns to deal with life.

A good book to read first would be "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell. Then you get a clearer picture of why the story progresses as it does.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Hobbit-A Great book for people of all ages!!!, April 1 2004
By 
J.R.R. Tolkien's great novel the Hobbit is a book for people 14+ years old. It keeps you interested throughout the whole story of Bilbo Baggins travels and problems. Tolkien is very descriptive in his story telling and when you are reading it almost feels like you are right there with Bilbo and his companions.
This is a great tale of how Bilbo Baggins is a little, fat hobbit from the little Shire village. Everything is green and bright in the Shire with houses carved into hills with round doors and gardens surrounding every house. Bilbo is minding his business when some unexpected people who are dwarves lead by a wizard named Gandalf.
The dwarves convinced Bilbo to come along with them on their great quest to kill Smog the might dragon that has been terrorizing their home for quite some time. Soon on their journey Bilbo has to face the dragon by himself to save the whole country that the dwarves live in.
In this tale of good and evil Bilbo comes into battle with many strange creatures from HUGE spiders, and angry demented wolves. If you are one for adventure and fighting, this book is cram packed with tales that will keep your nose in the book from the first page to the last adventure home.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My book review on The Hobbit, March 11 2004
By 
The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien
Reviewed by B. Khau
P. 5
This book takes place before the Fellowship of the ring which is part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The book is about Bilbo Baggins, who is a hobbit that lives his peaceful life at the Shire. Hobbits are little people that live in comfortable holes. One day, a powerful wizard named Gandalf visits Bilbo and invites him to go out on an adventure with some dwarves. Bilbo agrees and his adventure starts. Little does he know of what challenges with he run across...
One thing I like about this book is the way the author describes something."Hobbits are little people, smaller than dwarfs. They love peace and quiet and good tilled earth. They dislike machines, but they are handy with tools. They are nimble but don't like to hurry. They have sharp ears and eyes. They are inclined to be fat. They wear bright colors but seldom wear shoes. They like to laugh and eat(six meals a day)and drink. They like parties and they like to give and recieve presents. They inhabit a land they call The Shire, a place between the River Brandywine and the Far Downs."This is an excellent quote that is discriptive and simple at the same time. It caught my attention and provided me with lots of background information that I would stumble and be confused without.
One thing that I dislike about this book is the way it lengthens things that are boring or get boring. Most of these things are not important in the story and easily get forgotten.They can also confuse you."You are familiar with Thorin's style on important occasion, but Bilbo felt impatient. By now he was quite familiar with Thorin too, and he knew what he was driving at."This is an example of somethings I dislike. If you are not really concentrated, this could confuse you. I had to read over that paragraph a couple times before I acually understood much of it. Later on in the book this paragraph seems irrelevant. You should also only try to read this book if you have a lot of time to spare. It is pretty long and there are lots of parts in the book that will take some time to understand.
My favortie part of the book is the beginning. It caught my attention with good descriptions. They were not too long and acually told you how something looked or felt. There was no junk about descriptions that you can't even visualize and remember enough to care. The beginning was solid and it didn't leave you confused and wondering what the author meant. My least favorite part was Chapter 18. It didn't lead to an ending well. There were a couple boring parts that I wish were taken out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Expect from the unexpected..., Feb. 16 2004
By 
Alex Cho (Taipei, Taiwan) - See all my reviews
Step back from the age of Aragorn, and indulge yourself in the prelude to the exciting Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit, another beautifully crafted work by J.R.R. Tolkien, is not only breathtaking but also full of surprises. Small and puny in size, the shy Mr. Bilbo Baggins follows a journey to help recover the long lost treasure of the grim dwarves that he eventually becomes comfortable with. From a mountain full of vicious goblins to killing eight-legged creatures to the cunning and ferocious dragon, Smaug the Magnificent, Mr. Bilbo trips upon adventure after adventure as he builds his respect and confidence as a tiny being in the vast world of Middle Earth.
In this conglomeration of exhilarating events, I could not decide where it was most exciting for me. Yet what stood out the most was the hobbit¡s witty ways in challenging the large colony of spiders in the shadowy forest of Mirkwood, where a significant amount of the plot is set. The amusing part of this event was how the hobbit deviously distracts the spiders by throwing showers of pebbles and stones in his invisible self (he had already obtained the ring of lord Sauron at this stage), in order to save his fellow dwarves from captivity. In addition, his ¡§battle¡ against these spiders also demonstrates courageous themes that had a touching effect amid the excitement: do not belittle little people, and expect from the unexpected. Indeed, this was so for hobbits were described as little Halflings that preferred comfortable settings, had no taste in bold and audacious adventures, and were nothing of worries. Yet Mr. Bilbo Baggins, with a taste of adventure in his ancestral blood, defied that by defeating a few of these spiders in the process of saving his warrior companions, which emotionally tied me in with these brave themes (mentioned above). It is no wonder this novel was so thrilling.
I would highly recommend The Hobbit, not only to those fantasy-lovers out there, but to any other general reader. The Hobbit is well-fashioned to a degree where it is not too supernatural nor too dull and dry, since Tolkien¡s style is a tad dry. Nevertheless, The Hobbit is a novel worth reading and enjoying, for I assure you that it will definitely seize in the fantastic world of Mr. Bilbo Baggins and his companions through a journey into the perils of Middle Earth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The unoverlookable prequel to The Lord of the Rings., Feb. 2 2004
By 
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a well-off, quiet little halfling (a Hobbit) who'd never wanted any adventures in his life, and of how he became the reluctant participant in a perilous treasure hunt.
It all began one afternoon, when Gandalf the wizard came knocking at the round door of his cosy Hobbit Hole. The next morning, thirteen dwarves were crowding his living-room and enrolling him to steal the gold guarded under the lonely Mountain by Smaug, the last of the great dragons.
So off he went, through forests old and mountains cold, deceiving trolls, solving riddles in the dark, escaping from goblins and elves, and most of the time rescuing the dwarves from the many perils he himself inadvertenly put them in, thanks to a magical ring he found in Gollum's cave, a ring that has to power to render him invisible.
This was the second time I read The Hobbit, and looking at it now with the critical eye of the (amateur) reviewer, I'm afraid to admit I was somewhat annoyed at the beginning by Tolkien's paternalistic tone, by how he sometimes addresses the reader and makes references to the real world, or hints at what's coming up later in the story. This makes the book seem clearly targeted to a young audience, and indeed, The Hobbit would be perfect for reading aloud to a child. However, this tone changes in the course of the story, and especially during the final Battle of the Five Armies, where it reaches a more epic scope, more suitable for young adults. Mark you, I'm not saying I didn't like it, but was just slightliy disappointed not to enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Oh, the heresy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR ALL LORD OF THE RINGS AFICIANADOS, Dec 9 2003
By A Customer
First let me say that I have read "The Hobbit" six times, the first time being thirty six years ago when I was twenty-one. Each time I have read it I haven't tired of Tolkein's marvelous storytelling abilities and the depth and staying power that this tale has.
Called "The Enchanting Prelude to the Lord of the Rings," one might come away with the erroneous perception that "The Hobbit" is a preface of sorts that can be easily skipped. Frankly I don't know how anyone who has not read this book could fully appreciate any part of "The Lord of the Rings" either in print or on the big screen.
"The Hobbit" is the story of THE Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. Yes, Frodo's adventures are literarily noteworthy but do not exceed in any sense the heroic adventures of Bilbo. The book also introduces readers to the dwarves who are the precursors of Gimli. In fact the tomb discovered by the Fellowship in Moria is that of Balin, one of the dwarves introduced in "The Hobbit" and one of Bilbo's favorites.
This book also gives us our introduction to Gandalf, the wandering wizard, and to Gollum, the hapless possessor and slave of the great Ring of Power, along with a wonderful cadre of other enchanting characters.
If you haven't read "The Hobbit" but have enjoyed "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers" and/or "The Return of the King" either in print or on film it's not too late. "The Hobbit" will fill in many of the blanks that inevitably arise when starting with Tolkein's trilogy.
Once you've read it please join with the rest of us Hobbitophiles in screaming bloody murder until Peter Jackson consents to bring this one to film.
Douglas McAllister
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Hobbit Illustrated Edition
Hobbit Illustrated Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien (Hardcover - Oct. 23 1997)
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