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The Hobbit Paperback – September 18, 2012
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The journey through Middle-earth begins here with J.R.R. Tolkien's classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible... All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts.”—The New York Times Book Review
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." So begins one of the most beloved and delightful tales in the English language—Tolkien's prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Set in the imaginary world of Middle-earth, at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale, The Hobbit is one of literature's most enduring and well-loved novels.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
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From the Publisher
Six Different Editions
Pick the version of the Hobbit that best suits your needs.
The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again
The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again
A great modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings, with an iconic cover inspired by Tolkien’s designs.The Hobbit: Deluxe Pocket Edition
The Hobbit: Deluxe Pocket Edition
This charming deluxe pocket-sized edition contains the complete unabridged text and features a beautiful leatherette cover and gilt-edging. The perfect gift for little Hobbits everywhere!Hobbit Illustrated Edition
Hobbit Illustrated Edition
A beautiful gift edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's enchanting tale, fully illustrated by Jemima Catlin.Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition
Hobbit 75th Anniversary Edition
This deluxe hardcover edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy contains a short introduction by Christopher Tolkien, a reset text incorporating the most up-to-date corrections, and all of Tolkien’s own drawings and full-color illustrations, including the rare “Mirkwood” piece.Hobbit Young Reader’s Edition
Hobbit Young Reader’s Edition
The text in this 372-page paperback edition is based on that first published in Great Britain by Collins Modern Classics (1998), and includes a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson (2001).Hobbit Collector’s Edition
Hobbit Collector’s Edition
This deluxe collector's edition of Tolkien's modern classic is boxed and bound in green leatherette with gold and red foil rune stamping on the spine and cover. The text pages are printed in black with green accents. It includes five full page illustrations in full color and many more in two colors, in addition to Thror's map -- all prepared by the author.
"All those, young or old, who love a finely imagined story, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts." Horn Book Guide
"A flawless masterpiece." The Times of London —
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 18, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 300 pages
- ISBN-10 : 054792822X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0547928227
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Lexile measure : 1000L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.85 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2021
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The character development of Bilbo was pretty good. He really grows as a person, and from reading his internal monologues, I find it easier to connect with and understand him, which I couldn’t do as well in the movies, since we don’t get a direct look into Bilbo’s mind on the silver screen. Thorin Oakenshield seems different in the book; he was overall politer and more considerate than the Thorin in the movies.
Yes, I already know that Tauriel and Legolas are not in the book, and that Tauriel is purely a movie character. But the addition of Tauriel is one of the rare instances where I appreciate the director/ scriptwriter’s artistic liberty. There was also not a single named female character in the book!
It was a delight to see Gollum. He was so creepy yet portrayed so vividly. Tolkien is very good at conveying characters in an evocative way, with dialogue and descriptions of their behaviors.
Furthermore, I enjoyed the humor throughout the book. It was so cute and humorous! The lightheartedness of these funny moments, stood in stark contrast with the darker parts of the story.
I’ve heard some people complain that the Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit characters tend to be too flat and black-and-white, either all good or all bad. Well, that is in itself a black-and-white statement. I already mentioned the character development of Bilbo. Not only does he change and grow, he also shows both noble and less glamorous sides. Thorin is more complex than he may seem too, but I won’t spoil the plot here. In fact, I would argue that even Gandalf and the Elven king are not single-faceted characters; they have more than one side to them.
I actually got Beorn and Bard mixed up, due to the similarity in their names. Bard was more developed as a character in the movie than in the book, though. Radagast was only mentioned once in passing in the book, so I was glad that he made some significant appearances in the movie!
It was in addition nice to see the less noble sides of the elven race. Even elves can be petty, impulsive, rude, etc. I doubt that we would ever meet a benevolent troll, goblin, or orc, though.
One notable quote in this book, was where Tolkien said that there was one flaw in Bilbo’s plan, and you might have seen it and laughed at him for it. But if you were in his desperate situation, you might not have done half as well yourself. Wow, I loved Tolkien’s quote here, because it underscores what many folks who like to pick at “plot holes” miss. If you’re cool, collected, have no personal involvement in the situation, and have all the time in the world to think, of course you can think of some ingenious strategies that may render the entire journey, quest, or story unnecessary. But do you believe that a person deep inside that situation can think so clearly and come up with such a smart plan in such a short time (often just a few seconds)?
People who poke fun at “plot holes” can sometimes be unrealistic too. I’ve heard of many people say that Frodo and co should have ridden on the great eagles to go to Mount Doom. But in The Hobbit, you see that the eagles were not even willing to fly to Lake Town, lest the men shoot at them. If these great eagles can’t even bear to fly that distance, do you think they would be inclined to go all the way to Mount Doom? And would the eagles be willing to risk being attacked by Saruman or Sauron? Plus, great eagles though they are, Rivendell to Mount Doom is a pretty long distance. Would the eagles want to expend so much time and energy for them? It’s one thing to be in favor of a noble cause (like saving the world). But it’s quite another to offer to spend tons of time, energy, and resources to help people, especially if there’s a chance they can be killed by a dark wizard.
Furthermore, I think the point of having a fellowship of the ring, was not merely to dunk the ring into the fire at Mount Doom. It was also about building character for the adventurers, and having them learn to get along with people of other species. (Most notably, Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf become good friends.)
All in all, this was a wonderful, enjoyable book. I hope to read some of Tolkien’s other works, and especially want to learn more about Radagast.
Characters: While Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf are well rounded characters, I personally feel that the dwarves are mostly lacking in individuality and personality. Balin, Dwalin, Oin, Gloin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Fili, Kili, and Thorin Oakenshield feel like nothing more than foggy sketches to me. While the film has given the dwarves the necessary traits to make them stand out amongst each other, such as Bofur's stiff hat and Oin's ear trumpet, the book leaves out pretty much anything that would make the dwarves stand out from one another. An example:
"`Kili at your service!' said the one. `And Fili!' added the other; and they both swept off their blue hoods and bowed" (10).
And that is pretty much it. We now know that Kili and Fili have blue hoods, and now the reader is left to add their own ideas to try and distinguish the dwarves from each other. While later on the dwarves do do things to separate themselves from each other, the issue never really goes away because by the time the dwarves do start to try and stand out from each other, they are pretty much all one dwarf already. I even tried to get around this issue (I knew before I reread this book that I had an issue with this in prior readings) I tried to use my Kindle to keep notes on who each of them were, but that eventually involved too many back and fourths which was beginning to ruin the story. Not only are the dwarves lacking, but they are fired at the reader so rapidly that their introductions into the tale feel like a tidal wave of characters, drowning the reader in quickly arriving dwarves. Maybe Tolkien did this overload on purpose to cause the reader to feel closer to Bilbo, for he receives the guests pretty much the same way as the reader does--character overload.
Other characters in the story are given much more description and stand out much better than the dwarves do, such as Gollum:
"Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don't know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum--as dark as darkness, except for two big round eyes in this thin face" (63).
See, to me that sounds terrifying, and gives the mental eye much more to look at than just blue hoods. A huge flaw when connected to the dwarves, the characters that should be standing out, but luckily, the rest of the characters in the book feel and act alive. One would think though that a book about thirteen dwarves and a hobbit would have the dwarves actually feel solid, and not, background fluff.
Setting: Here we see one of the strong points for Tolkien, and that is Setting. Middle Earth feels alive within these pages, and maybe sometimes too alive. Not only does Tolkien write strong locations, but he really beats the reader over the head with it. I have read so many descriptions of trees that I may actually now be sick of them. In the epic Lord of the Rings this over description of setting is a bad thing, but while I originally hated it in The Hobbit as well, I have found that it is not as bad as I remembered it being here.
"...leading into a gloomy tunnel made by two great trees that leant together, too old and strangled with ive and hung with lichen to bear more than a few blackened leaves" Tolkien writes about the entrance to Mirkwood (121). Descriptions like that really bring the reader into the story. If Tolkien had applied that same in depth writing to the dwarves, this would have been a five star tale instead of the four stars I am going to give it.
Plot: In the interest of trying to keep my review spoiler free, I'm going to be a bit vague. Regardless, the story is excellent. The reader will meet disgusting creatures, horrific monsters, and travel to far away lands. The beginning is a little slow because the narrator has to establish his voice and explain what Hobbits are, but once the story gets going it is a real page burner. The climatic ending is a little lackluster though, for the event that the whole plot builds to is rushed through in a few paragraphs, and an epic scene that probably could have taken up a few chapters is condensed into one, once again, here and gone in a blink of a few pages.
For those of you who have read the book and are going off to see the film, you will find many scenes and characters that do not appear in the book, or if they are mentioned in the book its like a sentence. For example, my favorite character in the movies, Azog, takes up one whole sentence in the book. I personally hated all the extra stuff that appeared in the movies at first, and honestly I refused to watch the films until recently just because I did not agree on The Hobbit being split into three, three hour films because to me it is just milking the series. After watching them a few times though, I have fallen in love with the movies as well, for other reasons. Each format has its strengths and weaknesses, but I honestly I have to go with the movies being slightly better than the book now, which is shocking because I rarely choose movies over books.
Anyway, I give this novel four beheaded goblins out of five. It is a great read, but it is held back by the fact that the dwarves appear to be an after thought in the book, and the epic ending felt like a "blink and it is over" scenario.
I'd especially recommend this edition if you're giving the Hobbit as a gift to a child under 10 years. The book jacket is high quality with a gorgeous illustration of Smaug and the pictures will help supplement the child's understanding of the text (which is a little challenging in places where phrases are used that are now outdated or are rather specific to British culture).
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One of my favourite genres seems to have gone to the wargs in the last few years. The rot probably started when J.K. Rowling introduced a new generation of young people to the joys of fantasy fiction. Standards dropped and social media helped create huge fandoms, and cult like followers, loyal to the brand. Fan fiction has also allowed anyone, no matter the talent, to write a "book" based on any intellectual property they fancy. Then Twilight happened and that was the beginning of the end. Publishers saw the kind of drivel that could make them rich and the Young Adult Fantasy genre was ripe for the picking. It began to move towards a new type of story, appealing to a new audience and asking a new question.
"What if Fantasy but with a girl one?"
Alongside the Strong-Female-Character™ protagonist, this new normal often contains a sprinkling of the following; "diversity*", some unsubtle social commentary, a patriarchal villain and most importantly, a poorly written, chemistry free romance with a handsome boy/angel/girl/minority/vampire/furry/other** that takes up half the book, often causing the plot to grind to a halt so the perfect lovers can stare passionately at each other for 50 pages. Bonus points for inserting a third wheel to create some false tension and so fans can pick a team.
After all, these books are written primarily for teenage girls, by former teenage girls***. Then there are the hordes of twenty-something women that receive advanced review copies and post their reviews on Goodreads****. These Goodreads girls, as I shall call them, might not be able to make a book successful, but they surely hold sway with publishers and more importantly, the content they publish. For it is said that "those who control the review copies, control the genre".
Thank Tolkien then, for the classics, and for the sexless, romance free world of The Hobbit. Although not entirely romance free as this book contains a beautiful relationship between a Gollum and his precious. Then there's the love between a Hobbit and his home, his breakfast/second breakfast/lunch/afternoon tea/supper/dinner/elevenses and his weed. Then finally there's the relationship between a dragon and/or a dwarf, and his treasure.
I'd take that superficial love over all the beautiful-perfect-people-fall-in-love-because-they're-both-beautiful-and-perfect-and-sometimes-there's-a-faux-love-triangle dross, that's infected the YA Fantasy genre since Twilight first ruined the word twilight.
I never thought I'd be pining for the days of Hunger Games knock-offs, but here we are.
But what of The Hobbit, you ask? Well, it's one of the finest young adult books ever written. At it's heart, The Hobbit is an adventure story. THE adventure story really. In fact, it's so jam packed with adventure, there's very little time for character development. Bilbo gets the lion's share and it's his adventure so I can't really grumble too much about the rather bland companions. Besides, there's so many wonderful things crammed into this short novel, it's never anything less than an entertaining page turner.
I truly envy any child who has yet to experience The Hobbit in book form as they read -or are read to- about Bilbo Baggins, dwarven guests, pipe smoking wizards, singing elves, hungry trolls, goblin caves, tricksy riddles, magic rings, eagle saviours, shape-shifting men, murky forests, giant spiders, prison breaks, barrel riding, secret doorways, greedy dragons, brave bowmen, brave hobbits, great battles and most of all, burglary. Saviour this book. Read it to your kids and hope it inspires them to read more, and maybe even to write. The beginnings of the next Fantasy classic might be this one story away... Someone has to drag the genre back from the brink.
If, like me, you have the stunted, feeble arms of a mammalian T-Rex, then you can listen to The Hobbit on audiobook, and it is a fine way to experience this most excellent of adventures. This review is based on the rather wonderful recording by Andy "CGI" Serkis. Riddles in the dark is even more memorable with the voice of Gollum™ and the whole thing is a joy to listen to.
I can't say anymore really, just read it if you haven't. There are still quality YA fantasy books to be found, even if you have to go 'there and back again' to find them.
* Black, trans and/or lesbian minorities -in order of perceived oppression by the American online- are the click generating hashtags of the moment. Make said minority the main character for more critical acclaim but less commercial gain. The readers might claim to be allies who want to read more books from a none cis-hetero perspective, but what they really, really want is a book in which the straight, white, female protagonist (them), gets a beautiful, shiny boy.
** But mostly boys, because that's hot insert-self fan fiction in the making.
*** Who may have started out writing terrible fan fiction. I blame Twilight, fifty shades of grey and low standards of literacy for this.
**** They're also liable to have Instagram accounts full of pictures of books next to foodstuffs, candles (dangerous), flora (not the marge), bedding and Apple products. The book lovers lifestyle is obviously lots of reading in bed by candlelight, surrounded by houseplants, munching on snacks and incessantly checking ones social media
Having watched the three Hobbit films a few years back, and having only a vague recollection of their events, I was unsure what to expect when I started this book, needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love reading classical literature that has this beautiful old-timey English and the Hobbit was no exception, the wonder and pureness of it never fails to transport me into days gone by.
Bilbo is a funny, likeable character who’s thoughts actions and conversations are so wonderfully innocent that I immediately fell in love with him. His character evolution throughout the book made reading this a true delight. My only complaint is that I didn’t read this sooner.
It really isn’t difficult to see why this book became a classic and I honestly believe that regardless of your age, knowledge of middle-earth or affinity for the fantasy genre, there’s something that everyone can take away from reading this.
— 1.1. Esta é uma avaliação da edição ilustrada para Kindle, que comprei por R$ 7,00.
— 1.2. Embora eu não tenha um conhecimento profundo da gramática inglesa, creio poder afirmar que a edição é correta, sem falhas significativas de revisão.
— 1.3. O e-book é ilustrado, mas suas bonitas imagens só serão aproveitadas de fato por quem o ler em uma tela colorida. No Kindle convencional elas ficam pequenas e muito acinzentadas. Ademais, as páginas ilustradas demoram um bocado para carregar; meu Kindle é meio antigo, mas não sei se é por isso ou por conta do tamanho dos arquivos de imagem.
— 1.4. A aventura narrada em “The Hobbit” passa-se na Terra Média, vasto ambiente ficcional criado por Tolkien, que fez acompanharem o livro dois mapas. Estes também são difíceis de consultar no e-reader; num livro físico basta virar as páginas, mas no digital é preciso “navegar” pelo arquivo, o que toma tempo e dificulta a leitura. Sugiro abrir os mapas no “Kindle para PC” e imprimi-los. Tentarei também anexá-los a esta resenha.
— 1.5. Há algumas notas de rodapé, cuja interligação não funcionou muito bem em meu Kindle. Nada que prejudicasse a compreensão do texto.
🐉🗻 — 2. SOBRE A HISTÓRIA
— 2.1. Os fatos relatados em “O Hobbit” são anteriores àqueles de “O Senhor dos Anéis”; o protagonista do primeiro, Bilbo Baggins, é tio de Frodo, portador do Um Anel no segundo.
— 2.2. As referências de “O Hobbit” a “O Silmarillion”, espécie de Antigo Testamento* do universo mítico de Tolkien, são poucas e fáceis; não é necessário ler este para entender o aquele. Por outro lado, recomendo a leitura tanto do “Hobbit” quanto do “Silmarillion” como preparação para encarar o “Senhor dos Anéis”.
(*Sobre a expressão “Antigo Testamento”, v. esta resenha ao Silmarillion:
— 2.3. O inglês de “O Hobbit” é relativamente simples; embora o autor utilize alguns termos arcaicos, sua sintaxe é clara e o vocabulário pode ser dominado logo (sugiro a consulta ao “Google Imagens” para os nomes de acidentes geográficos).
Enquanto em “O Silmarillion” temos uma narrativa em tom mítico e estilo bíblico, e no “Senhor dos Anéis” uma fantasia épica com traços de romance aventuresco, “O Hobbit” é praticamente de conto de fadas. Não se pense, porém, que com isso seja uma história para criancinhas; esta narrativa fantástica é capaz de produzir e sustentar uma impressão de “sabedoria latente” — vetusta como Gandalf, caseira como Bilbo — que, a par das peripécias, muito entreterá o leitor adulto.
A aventura de Bilbo Baggins, seu “there and back again”, é um processo de transformação vital, no qual cada um de nós poderá se enxergar, mas cada um de maneira sempre particular, levemente adaptada ou traduzida. Eis aí uma possível definição de “símbolo”.
— 2.4. Ainda sobre a linguagem empregada, vale destacar a relação lúdica que Tolkien estabelece com a sonoridade, com a melodia da língua inglesa. As canções de elfos e anões são prova disso, e na pena do autor até as preposições, que têm fama de vazias e sensaboronas, ganham relevo:
«The return of Mr. Bilbo Baggins created quite a disturbance, both under the Hill and over the Hill, and across the Water; it was a great deal more than a nine days’ wonder.»
As primeiras páginas do Capítulo V, “Riddles in the Dark”, brindam-nos com uma série de frases deliciosas. Olhe por alguns instantes para fotografias do velho J.R.R. Tolkien, e em seguida leia seu texto em voz alta, como um avô lendo para seus netos — ou como seu avô para você.
« Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum — as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face. He had a little boat, and he rowed about quite quietly on the lake; for lake it was, wide and deep and deadly cold. »
— 2.5. Por fim, Tolkien mostra-se habilidoso na técnica de produzir tempo e espaço com palavras. “O Hobbit” é um conto de aventura e viagem, e para descrever uma viagem é preciso fazer com que a distância entre os diferentes cenários deixe-se sentir por mais do que palavras indicativas de lapso temporal (“três dias”) ou espacial (“trinta milhas”).
Temos o mapa, é claro, mas acima do mapa reina a história; a esta Tolkien confere duração por meio do ritmo das frases, da inclusão de detalhes e acontecimentos intermediários, da alternância de aspetos objetivos (auroras e crepúsculos, estações do ano, paisagens) e subjetivos (fome, sono, cansaço, ânimo), facultando ao leitor uma experiência espessa, no tempo e no espaço, da jornada de Bilbo, Gandalf e os anões.
🐉🗻 — 3. VEREDICTO
« In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. »
“O Hobbit” não uma história genial e grandiosa, mas justa e boa, que nos captura com facilidade e consegue ir além do mero entretenimento. A edição é barata, o que compensa as dificuldades que relatei — mapas, ilustrações, notas.
De zero a dez, temos uma nota oito — mas um oito cheio, redondo, numa poltrona confortável e com um café pequeno ao lado. Não há nota mais digna para um Hobbit.
I would imagine it would be quite difficult to find someone who didn't know the tale of The Hobbit, at the very least from the movies. But The Hobbit, the novel, is something else entirely and an experience all its own. Tolkien's narrative is lyrical, completely compelling and, whilst not nonsensical at all, has a whimsical feel to it akin to Alice in Wonderland. I adored how the story is addressed to the reader, as though a secret is being shared of a story well-known and enjoyed between friends. Perhaps that was Tolkien's intention, given that it was ostensibly a tale to entertain his children, initially.
There are some unusual choices and some areas which, for me, lack depth. It feels absolutely crazy to say that about a world so rich and beautiful, but The Hobbit really does feel like a more accessible and less descriptive world than that of The Lord of the Rings, presumably to allow for a younger audience to enjoy it. Battle scenes, deaths and transitions between key moments are sometimes more quickly resolved than I expected from such a rich tapestry, and character connections are formed with the reader from very superficial descriptions. Because of this, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I expected to, and nor did I really feel the connection I hoped to with key characters. But you'd be hard pressed to criticise this book anywhere else.
The Hobbit is a perfect adventure; a terrifying, hilarious and heart warming combination uniquely its own. Tolkien's imagination is limitless, and The Hobbit feels so small in the grand scheme of the world he created, but it's a world I would gladly explore to the ends of its map.