Man oh man. I reread this for an upcoming discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. The Hobbit is the flavor of the month just at present thanks to the upcoming movie, so I'm sure I'm not the only one rereading and finding new insights.
It was still really good even though this is the umpteenth time I've read this classic. I took the opportunity to get the audiobook from the library because I wanted to pay special attention to the songs and poems which were so important to Tolkien but which I always tended to skip right over. I enjoyed being forced, as it were, to listen to them line by line because each time it gave me insight into the singer (or singers, as the case may be).
And can I just mention that Bilbo's burgling career gave me courage for something that I was going to try for the first time? (Not burgling, by the way.) So it is inspirational too. No, I'm not telling. You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear that story.
We're not really surprised, are we, that I just finished The Hobbit and then had to hurry right on to my favorite of The Lord of the Ring trilogy? Of course we're not.
Rob Inglis' narration in The Hobbit wasn't perfect (meaning that his interpretation of various voices was not as I "heard" them in my mind's ear), however it was good enough. I'm interested to hear how he handles The Fellowship.
8-part series on The Hobbit and the fact that he's posted his lectures on the Lord of the Rings trilogy from his Tolkien class. He has really helped me to see below the surface of these very enjoyable stories to the Catholic worldview that anchored Tolkien and his storytelling.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit by Corey Olsen
This is the book that Corey Olsen wrote after his Tolkien Professor classes (see above) got popular. I love this book a lot. If you want to skip the podcasts, read this.
As many others have commented, I agree that one of the great strengths of this book is that Olsen only discusses The Hobbit, not The Lord of the Rings. As well, he uses a professorial style in simply pointing out things instead of hammering home his own conclusions repeatedly. It is refreshing and thought provoking, just as the best teaching should be.
The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
All right, I admit I looked through this quickly, stopping to read whenever the author was NOT giving the original text of the story in the sidebar. Although it is interesting that the original story was retooled to give it more links with The Lord of the Rings, once it became clear that Tolkien was writing something on a larger scale ... as I say, that is interesting but I don't care to read the original.
What this book did, though, was awaken my respect for Tolkien as an artist and illustrator. I had no idea that he was so good at that aspect of story telling. For example, that book cover for the Hobbit at the top of this post was done by Tolkien himself.
Lessons in Manliness: The Hobbit
I do love this blog and it often has some of the most insightful articles. This is one such which isn't long but makes good points.
When it was originally published, it was put into the children’s category and even won prizes for best juvenile fiction that year. Tolkien himself, however, said that a simple tale like The Hobbit can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, making it a great story to read with your kids. ...
There are many lessons we can glean from The Hobbit, but we’ll focus on just a few of this classic tale’s most salient takeaways.
My Tolkien resources: get 'em here!