This is the copy I’m using:
I stole it off my brother before he left for colder pastures (i.e. Minnesota), and I think he got it from…my dad, maybe? You can see it’s been read a few times before, and I think my brother might have even read it. It doesn’t have any illustrations, unfortunately, but it’s easy to carry around with me.
When did you first hear of The Hobbit? I think it was either from my father or from my middle school best friend (the one who also got me into Diana Wynne Jones and Brian Jacques). My dad is a bit Tolkien geek and so was my friend (we’ll call her “S”), so I assume it was one of them who forced me to read The Hobbit.
What made you decide to join the read-a-long? I hadn’t reread The Hobbit in a very long time, since middle school or somewhere around there, and I haven’t read any of the other books. I feel like I’m missing something big by not having read them, so I joined. Plus it’s always fun doing readalongs with a bunch of other people!
Have you read it before? If so tell us about that experience. Ha! I really don’t remember. I assume I liked it– I’ve been saying I liked it for around ten years– but I honestly can’t remember how I felt after reading it for the first time. Just going by that, I assume it wasn’t a life-changing read, but who knows. Hopefully this time around the experience will be more memorable.
I do remember that in 9th grade S. tried to get me to read the other books in the series, but I was so bored by The Fellowship of the Ring that I had to give it up. And of course, when she kept bugging me about whether or not I liked it I had to deflect– usually by mentioning some Diana Wynne Jones thing. It was very stressful back then, let me tell you.
J.R.R. Tolkien pretty much founded the modern fantasy genre. So let’s take a moment to think about the genre as a whole; have you always loved fantasy? Or perhaps you still feel rather skeptical towards the whole idea of wizards and dwarfs and magic? I’ve always loved fantasy (and sci-fi), and though I’ve gotten quite cynical towards the swords-and-sorcerers kind of fantasy lately, I still have fond memories of the early fantasy books I read. However, my favorite sorts of fantasies are the kinds that take the tropes from epic fantasies and do something new and interesting with them. Sort of a difficult thing to do, it seems, especially when things like elves and wizards can become so cliched and boring so quickly.
(There Will Be Dragons does that “change things up” thing a bit, though it’s more of a sci-fi/fantasy meld than a true fantasy manipulation.)
What was your introduction to the genre? The earliest fantasy I can remember reading is one of those 1960’s kids books with a friendly witch/teacher character who took kids on adventures and so on. I found it tucked away in one of the school’s bookshelves, along with The Phantom Tollbooth and some Roald Dahl books. Actually, now that I think about it, the fantasies I read as a kid and the kind I love to read now aren’t swords-and-sorcerers kind of fantasies. Hm.
In middle school my friend S. kept pushing epic fantasies onto me, so I started reading more of them then. I remember reading one of the later books in the Dark is Rising sequence and not understand anything at all (it was book three or four, so that’s not really surprising), and another time I read a Dragonriders of Pern book and nearly expired with embarrassment from the mentioned sexuality. So I had a rather rough start with epic fantasies, haha.
Do you have a certain plan for reading it? A few pages a day, spacing it out over the month? Or are you just going to race through it? I’m currently reading about three other books along with The Hobbit, so it’s going a few pages at a time, currently. But I’ve just hit the halfway mark and I think I’m going to try and finish it all in the next few days– hopefully before school starts again!
Okay, now I have a question for you all: have you been reading the poems/songs? Or do you just skim them like I do? (I just really have no patience for poems in the middle of an adventure, so I skip them more often than not. Am I missing something important by doing that?)