"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien is the prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. It follows the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins who is recruited by the Wizard Gandalf and a company of 13 dwarves to help the dwarves reclaim their lost home under the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo is a simple Hobbit. He enjoys the comforts of his home. He doesn't want to go on an adventure. But Bilbo quickly discovers just how useful he can be. He fights trolls; saves the dwarves on numerous occasions; tricks a dragon; and eventually comes across a very useful ring...
Finally! I have read this book. I've purposely put off reading this book for one reason: I've been waiting for the movie cover addition, because, well...this is silly...I have the movie cover additions of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and I like continuity with my book covers in a series.
Having seen the first Hobbit movie at the point I am writing this review, I pretty much already knew what the first 100 pages of this book were going to consist of. So the rest was all a surprise. And, I have to say (and I'm rather ashamed to say it), I think I like the movie adaptation better. And I'll probably like movies 2 and 3 better as well. I'm not saying the book was awful. With "The Hobbit," I experienced a lot of the same issues I had while reading "The Lord of the Rings." The pacing was occasionally weird. Sometimes it moved quickly. Sometimes it moved incredibly slow with too much detail. And sometimes the action was way too quick (like at the Battle of Five Armies for instance). And also I felt like I never really got to know any of these characters. I think Bilbo was about it in terms of learning who he is and what his personality is like. What I was most surprised about was the lack of Thorin in this book. In the movie he's in it quiet a lot and there's a lot said about him and we get a good sense of his character. I honestly didn't get any of that in this book. Before the movie came out, fans were most excited about the casting of Thorin and they were very particular about who they wanted cast and they just went on and on about his character as if he was some epic character. Well...he was in the movie. Like I said, I didn't sense that epicness of the character within the novel. So yeah...most of my issues with this book dealt with pacing issues and lack of characterization. I honestly just don't see why this book is so hugely popular, because I've read things that I enjoyed far better than this. Might sound harsh, but that's how I feel.
Besides what I didn't enjoy, what did I enjoy? I did adore Bilbo as a character. He's very blunt in his opinions and the things he does. For a character that didn't want to leave his home, he becomes one of the most heroic characters in the story. His scenes with Gollum and Smaug were amazing. A lot of the plot was just very cutesy. For instance, the barrel escape from the Elf King was hilarious. I also enjoyed the scene at Beorn's house where Gandalf is casually introducing all the dwarves and Beorn thinks that Gandalf doesn't know how to count. And I oddly fell in love with Bombur (the fat one). His lines of dialogue had me laughing quite often.
So...can I name all the dwarves now? I have no idea! Without looking at the book as I'm typing: Thorin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Ori, Dori, Nori, Bofur, Bifur, Bombur, (pausing to think) Oin and Gloin (had to look those last two up). I almost made it.
Overall, I still enjoyed the book. Lots of people say they like to read it yearly. I don't think I can do that. I'm glad I read it though. It's a piece of classic children's literature.(less)
Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a strange land where nonsense and madness are the norm.
I decided to reread my copy of "Alice in Wonderland" in preparation for the new TV series coming on this fall called "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland." I don't think the show is following the book whatsoever. I think it's going to really be more about connecting to "Once Upon a Time" and just introducing a lot of familiar characters like the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat.
My edition consists of both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass." I have to say, I find "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" much more enjoyable and easy to read. Plus, all the familiar characters are there. And despite everything being wild and crazy, there's still some sort of semblance of plot going on. "Through the Looking-Glass," honestly, bored me. I think "TLG" is much more difficult to read and the plot is nowhere near as fun and enchanting as "AAW." And I felt like a lot of it was just a series of scenes rather than anything forming a full complete story. And there's something about the symbolism presented in "AAW" that is easier to identify and relate to.
Speaking of symbolism: these "Alice" stories are full of them. Most of the symbolism consists of the definition of childhood and what it means to grow up. You see this symbolism presented in the food Alice eats and how it literally makes her grow. There's also this idea that Carroll presents of taking words literally and what is the true definition of a word. He basically makes the statement that words are often times arbitrary and we make words in order to make sense of something and put a name to it. Carroll does a fantastic job at word play consistently throughout both books.
The "Alice" books are considered classics for children and it's easy to see why. Children can enjoy the whimsical nature of Wonderland, laugh at the strange people and creatures that inhabit it. But I think adults can really appreciate these books as well and appreciate the symbolism in everything and relate to this notion of childhood and growing up. (less)