Hobbit Start

So I’ve decided to join the LOTR read-a-long. My husband is a huge fan of all of the books and I, sadly enough, have only ever read The Hobbit! I really have a lot to make up for in reading to him, and this will be just the tip of the ice berg, but I’m looking forward to spending the next few months getting to know the books that my husband loves to well.

To kick off the read-a-long we are starting in January with The Hobbit over at A Striped Armchair. Here are the first set of discussion questions:

When did you first hear of The Hobbit? What made you decide to join the read-a-long?

I first heard of the hobbit, I’d guess back in the eighties. It experienced a resurgence in popularity back then. I remember a large fully illustrated copy that my parents owned and kept in the box it came in so it wouldn’t become damaged. It also either came with, or my parents got separately, an audio version. On a record. Gosh I’m old. I remember the whole family sitting around the record player to listen to it while my brother and I sat on the floor and paged through the book looking at the beautiful art as we went along.

I decided to join this read-a-long because I wanted to finally get around to actually reading the whole series, especially since my husband and I are huge fans of the movies. He has also read the books (and The Simarillion, and a few others) and I figured it was time I read them too.

Have you read it before? If so tell us about that experience.

I was supposed to write this before I started reading it but I did take a peek which resulted in swallowing the first several chapters whole. Before I opened it I would have sworn up, down and sideways that I had never read the book before. Just listened to it when I was too young to read much. Apparently that’s not true. Every word was incredibly familiar to me, even the songs. I don’t remember reading this book ever. Apparently I have and enough to recite some of the lines by memory when I got to them.

If you’re new to The Hobbit, do you have any preconceptions going into it?

Just the ones from the illustrated book, which apparently was (more finely done) art from the 1977 animated movie.

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? What was your introduction to the genre?

I don’t quite recall what my introduction to the genre of fantasy was. I was a child of the eighties and fantasy started making a big comeback during that decade, like I said. That seems to be the way of things though when you come to the turn of a century, or at least it was for the last two.

I’ve always loved the creatures that make up fantastical stories: fairies, dragons, elves, trolls, unicorns, and so on. The creation of all new hobbits was really cool too, and I enjoy reading about any such beings and their adventures in whatever world they happen to be in.

I remember reading once about the heroes arc, about the phases that a hero goes through on his journey and I really like that predictability in a story. I’m not much for the unknowns or the bad endings. Get enough of that in real life. In a fantasy piece things may get bad but you know the next phase is coming up and you know it is going to, eventually, have a happily ever after. That’s important to me.

Also, that’s why I never read an un-finished fantasy series, but that’s a post for another day.

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? Let whimsy decide?

I originally planned to space it out amongst my other reading, but now that I’ve started it I think I’m going to step it up and read it in much longer chunks. It’s pretty hard to put down! I think I’m going to enjoy this one.

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