Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tolkien Reader” as Want to Read:
The Tolkien Reader
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tolkien Reader (Middle-Earth Universe)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  4,163 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
An invitation to Tolkien's world. This rich treasury includes Tolkien's most beloved short fiction plus his essay on fantasy.

Publisher's Note
Tolkien's Magic Ring, by Peter S. Beagle
The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son
Tree and Leaf
On Fairy-Stories
Leaf by Niggle
Farmer Giles of Ham
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
Bombadil Goes Boating
Paperback, First Edition, 282 pages
Published September 1966 by Ballantine Books (NYC) (first published January 1st 1966)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tolkien Reader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tolkien Reader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, nonfic
টোলকিয়েন সাহেব যতখানি যতন নিয়ে দুনিয়া গড়েছিলেন বই লিখতে গিয়ে, ভাবতে অবাক লাগে। এই বইয়ে একটা নামডাক-ওলা পরবনধ আছে, অনেকদিন পর পরবনধ পড়লাম। সেইখানে কিছু চিনতা দেখা গেলো, তাঁর নিজের লেখা যে ধাচের, ঐ ধাচের সাহিতযের বিষয়ে।
অঙগুরীয়পুরাণের শেষের সংযুকতি পড়লে তাঁর শরম আঁচ করা যায়। এটা, মানে পরবনধটা পড়ে জানা গেলো, তিনি লেখালেখিকে কীভাবে দেখেন, গলপকে কীভাবে।
একটা জিনিস যেমন, আমরা ভাবি যে ধূসর চরিতর সৃষটি মহৎকরম, শাদাকালো চরিতরেরা কাঁচা হাতের কাজ। ভেবেভেবেও যে সেটা করা যায়, তাও এতটা ভেবেসেবে, জানতে হলে এ বই
Mark Adderley
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a great read, adding a lot to one's knowledge of Tolkien. The three best pieces in the book are "On Fairy Stories," "Leaf by Niggle" and "Farmer Giles of Ham."

"On Fairy Stories" deals with two important themes--subcreation and eucatastrophe.

Subcreation is the act of world-building in which all creators of stories participate. It’s not creation. The primary world, the physical and spiritual world in which we live, was created by God. The world in which the events of our stories take place
RE de Leon
Finished reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? This is the next Tolkien book I'd recommend, a good introduction to Tolkien the essayist and the short-story teller. The short story "Leaf by Niggle" and the essay "On Fairy Stories", alone, are worth the purchase, and the other pieces are pretty good too. (One wishes the poem "mythopoeia" were here too, but alas, it is not.)

The only downside to this book is that it overlaps with quite a few other Tolkien anthologies. But in most cases, that
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien, Lord of the Ring, writers, science fiction, fantasy readers
This collection is a must read for fans of all forms of fantasy. His essay "On Fairy Tales" is worth reading at least twice.

If reading "On Fairy tales" for the first time, I suggest you try to avoid reading the footnotes. They're interesting, but they knock you out of Tolkien's thought train. Then read it again, preferrably immediately. For, while Tolkien focuses on fairy stories, he in fact discusses nothing short of the nature and significance of all fiction.

"The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth" and
Alexander Rolfe
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too bad Americans aren't into statuary-- I would put a statue of Tolkien in my house if we did that sort of thing. I particularly enjoyed the moments of self-revelation in his essay about fairy stories. How he longed for dragons as a child, how he "had and has a wholly unsatisfied desire to shoot well with a bow," how he can make himself sit through a cricket match only by using things other than cricket to stay interested, such as a "wild, heraldic preference for dark blue over light blue." It ...more
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for more Lord of the Rings when you read this book, you're going to be disappointed.

That said, it's got some really stunning poetry in it, a few very interesting stories, and an interesting essay of mine, "On Faerie Stories."

Odds are, you'll find something in here you really like, some things you're pretty indifferent toward, and some things you don't like at all.

Bill Tillman
Anyone who wants to know the mind of Tolkien should own this book. A clear insight into his thinking of story writing and his Christian worldview.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Tolkien Reader" is an excellent collection of shorter writings by the Lord of the Rings author. Each of the pieces here represent a different genre - drama, essay, short fiction, and poetry - that are, for the most part, unrelated to Middle Earth, but if you've read The Hobbit and/or LOTR and aren't sure what to read next, this is a great place to start.

The Reader opens with "Tolkien's Magical Ring," a short preface by Peter S. Beagle, who is best known for his novel "The Last Unicorn." Fan
Nicole Pramik
This work might be small (tiny, even, when compared to the The Lord of the Rings) but it is a shining gem for any Tolkien enthusiast, fan, or fanatic (or which I am all three).

The Tolkien Reader combines some of Tolkien's shorter fictional fare with non-fictional insights onto the fantasy genre. In summation, this book contains the following:

1. "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son." This piece is actually a play (yes, Tolkien took a stab at drama and succeeds here) set after the real-
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, poetry
This book has a collection of writings by J.R.R. Tolkien that are separate from the Middle Earth and general Lord of the Rings related material.

The essay On Fairy Stories was very interesting, but it was sometimes difficult to follow because his essay responds to the contemporary opinions of critics at the time it was written (1930sish) and is written in such a way that the reader is expected to be familiar with those general arguments. I'm not familiar with what people thought of fantasy and ot
This collection has a little of everything: short stories, short plays, poetry, and literary criticism. Only the latter is truly excellent, though I would only recommend the essay ("On Fairy Stories") to writers and to those who are very interested in Tolkien's philosophy of fantasy writing.

The short plays are stilted products of the early twentieth century; I can't see them as successful productions in our era. The short stories ("Farmer Giles of Ham" and "Leaf by Niggle") are charming enough,
Kate Davis
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
"On Fairy Stories" should have been required reading for a literature major. Or for anyone who plans on giving kids reading material. He devotes an entire section on why fairy stories aren't only for children; Madeleine L'Engle and he would be good artist friends, and I can't shake the feeling that he was directly condemning Lewis's condescending tone in Narnia.

"Leaf by Niggle" is my new favorite theological exploration of art. If you're an artist of any sort--writer, painter, poet, anything--an
Andrew Laboy
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
FOOTNOTE #26 ON PAGE 41-"this is, naturally, often enough what chidren mean when they ask:'Is this true?' They mean:'I like this, but is it contemporary? Am I safe in my bed?' The answer: 'There is certainly no dragon in England today,' is all that they want to hear."
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book would be worth its weight in buttered toast if only for "On Fairy-Stories" and "Leaf by Niggle." I was glad for the other additions as well, but these two I will come back to again and again for a reminder that life is ready to be mined for beauty and truth.
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The master. And to think he could not get published until a friend took pity on the old fool. Scribbling away, I swear he did not invent, he visited!
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Толкин плюс прекрасни въвеждащи думи на Питър Бийгъл - какво повече да се каже?:)
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Lovely collection of short stories and poems, some relating to Middle Earth.
Tolkien's genius at work!
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
tree and leaf:brilhante!
o resto das estorias: n gostei mt. X(
Iris Odelle
The Tolkien Reader, by J.R.R. Tolkien****
I picked this up because it looked like a fun, easy read, and was some added information about Middle-Earth and the like. And it was…mostly.
This is a collaboration of some of Tolkien’s short stories, a play based on an ancient battle in Britain, and poems, as well as an essay on Fairy Stories. The main problem was that the essay was quite long, and began to lose my attention. I’m mostly a fiction kind of person, so maybe some people would be more rapt by
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any serious fan of Tolkien would enjoy this book, and would come to more deeply appreciate his Lord of the Rings masterpieces. Tolkien's essay "Tree and Leaf" gave me a new appreciation for "fairy stories" and the fantasy genre of literature. He was a deep thinker who took the ancient literature very seriously. This book helps to explain the strong connection that so many readers have with The Lord of the Rings. It's not just "escapism."
Dakota Kemp
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one – and when I say no one, I mean NO ONE, not Robert Jordan (who greatly influenced my writing style), not Brandon Sanderson (my favorite author), not J.K. Rowling (who wrote my all-time favorite books), not even my own mother (who taught me to read) – had as much influence on my becoming a writer than the father of what we know today as the Fantasy Genre. J.R.R. Tolkien has been my hero since I first read The Hobbit at the age of eleven, and continues to be the inspiration for everything ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the writings I really enjoyed Leaf by Niggel the most because I understood the story. The language used in the story was easy for me to understand and it was easy for me to picture the events that took place. Everyone has that author that they want to collect all their works and for me that author is J. R. R. Tolkien.
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is a good book if you can make it through the 80 some page essay on fairy tales and fantasy. (Which is a good essay, but a little hard to hack at 80+ pages) The Big D picked it out for me to read because it had some stories in it that he tought I should read.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolkien's understanding of languages never ceases to amaze me, but his imagination is even more amazing!
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is really just odds and ends, not his best works.
Molly Bayne cundall
Thoroughly charmed by this little book. Snippets of many things dear to Tolkien's heart, the poetry, a few plays and some short stories... Leaf by Niggle in particular made me feel like it was perhaps a collaboration with C.S. Lewis. Of course I'm sure Lewis had something to say about it as they both depended on each other for reviews... there is just a different style about it... I liked it very much and wanted it to keep going. The essay on Fairy Stories was particularly fascinating and really ...more
Brandon Pearce
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Tolkien Fans
Recommended to Brandon by: Dr. JeffereyTaylor
Shelves: inkling
In his essay “On Fairy Stories” Tolkien endeavors to answer three questions: 1. What are fairy stories, 2. What is their origin, and 3. What is the use of them.
What makes a faërie story is difficult to define. Tolkien’s answer come mostly in the form of what they are not. They are not traveler’s tales like Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, they are not dream stories as Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland is, and they are not “beast fables” like “The Nun‘s Priest’s Tale. They are stories that take place in a w
Christopher Hansen
On Fairy-Stories was critical in my development as a writer. I also love Leaf by Niggle; what a great story for anyone with an artist's soul.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and insightful. However, just like most of Tolkien's writings outside The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it is heavier and more scholarly. Not a light read. The essay on faerie was thought-provoking, although it was too academic for my students.
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fairy Stories

Interesting point that the world is dividing into Eloi (children) and Morlocks (the adults who feed on them). I’m taking it much further than he meant by it; he was talking about, as best as I can tell, the sense of enjoying literature vs. only enjoying sensible things (defined insensibly). But there’s a sense that it’s becoming more literally true. Both in the sense of parents who refuse to let their children grow up, and in the sense of society borrowing off of the wage of the nex
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
J.R.R. Tolkien: Group Read January-March 2014: The Tolkien Reader 8 75 Mar 31, 2014 03:28PM  
Tolkien's World 2 15 Apr 23, 2009 11:01PM  
  • Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, Dante Alighieri, John Bunyan, Walter Wangerin, Robert Siegel, and Hannah Hurnard
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien's Ring
  • Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Exploring the Spiritual Themes of the Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...

Other Books in the Series

Middle-Earth Universe (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
  • The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)
  • The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth
  • The Children of Húrin
  • Beren and Lúthien
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)

Share This Book

“He is a great enough magician to tap our most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies, but he never invented them either: he found them a place to live, a green alternative to each day's madness here in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.” 36 likes
“The impulse is being called reactionary now, but lovers of Middle-earth want to go there. I would myself, like a shot. For in the end it is Middle-earth and its dwellers that we love, not Tolkien’s considerable gifts in showing it to us. I said once that the world he charts was there long before him, and I still believe it. He is a great enough magician to tap our most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies, but he never invented them either: he found them a place to live, a green alternative to each day’s madness here in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers—thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.” 16 likes
More quotes…