The Hobbit (Booking It: July Update)

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Booking It is an online book club where we discuss what we’ve read over the past month as well as review a monthly assigned book. This month’s book is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.

(Heads up: if you make a purchase through any Amazon links in this post, I do receive a small percentage of the sale.)

This last month has just flown by! I must confess, this Booking It report took me by surprise. It’s the 12th already?! So, this won’t be the most eloquent of book reports.

The dog ate my homework.

This month’s assigned reading was The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. In that first novel, Tolkien created another world. I don’t think he knew when he crafted The Hobbit that he would go on to write the epic Lord of the Rings. But, the Middle Earth that he created has captured the imaginations of generations of people.

I was first assigned The Hobbit in 8th grade English. The geeky boys around me cheered. I groaned. I don’t even remember reading it, though I must have. I almost always did my homework. But, I don’t think I enjoyed it.

About fifteen years later I picked it up again. I know not why. In quick succession, I read The Hobbit, and all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings. I was hooked.

And once again saw that “children’s literature” is often more for adults than it is for kids.

The Hobbit tells the tale of a hobbit. What is a hobbit you ask? Well, they’re like people, but not. Shorter, hairier, surely of Anglo-Saxon descent, and precious.

The hobbit in question is named Bilbo Baggins. He’s a homebody who is stretched to become an adventurer. He joins a band of dwarves and heads out on an epic journey, fighting trolls, wolves, and goblins. He finds an enchanted ring along the way, learns what is to do hard things, and loves his friends better than himself.

Though Tolkien often rejected the notion that The Hobbit was a “Christian story” there are many elements of God’s truth presented throughout. But, all good stories do, even if the author didn’t have a clue.

Be sure to have a box of kleenex handy before you start reading, especially if you are reading it aloud to your kids. I hiccuped and sobbed my way through the last few chapters.

My kids are used to it by now.

The Hobbit is a fantastic read-aloud and a great intro to the Lord of the Rings series. If you haven’t read it yet, or haven’t read it to your kids yet, I highly recommend that you do. And, be sure to get it read before the movie is released late this fall. We don’t go to the movies as a family very often, but this is one that we definitely will.

Have you been Booking It?

Tell us about the books you’ve read! If you read The Hobbit, be sure to tell us what you thought of it.

Check out the list of 12 books that we’ll be reading together this year. Next month’s book is Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson. Be sure to read the intro chapters and try to test at least three recipes between now and then.

Disclosure: if you make a purchase through any Amazon links up there, I do receive a small percentage of the sale.

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  1. My daughter (6) has only just recently started showing interest in having me read longer chapter books to her (we read a lot, just not this type). We finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last weekend and started a new book the other day that I’m just not into (book was her choice). How do you balance the books your children pick versus ones you actually want to read? Do you let your children choose the books or do you sometimes overrule their choices?

    I would love to read her Harry Potter, The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz stories, etc. but she hasn’t shown an interest in trying them out.

    1. To be honest, I think I’ve always picked books and just started reading. I didn’t really give them a choice. LOL. They can play legos or draw while I read, but they have to be in the room. Eventually they are grabbed. Even the older kids and hubby get sucked in.

  2. I don’t think I have ever heard someone say before that Tolkien’s works are “children’s literature”. They are literature, period.

    1. Well, I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that The Hobbit was originally marketed with children in mind.

  3. I have been Booking It, although not reading by your list, Jessica. My book choices tend to be non-fiction. This month I read Steve Jobs biography by Walter Issacson and I could not put it down. Even if you don’t think you like Steve Jobs’ personality, this book will show you how truly innovative he was and how he changed our world. I will never look at a computer or Apple product the same way again. I also read Peace and Plenty by Sarah Ban Breathnach who wrote Simple Abundance. This book tells about how she lost everything financially and survived. It is a book about financial serenity – not security – a key difference. I loved her quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Very inspiring even if you don’t have financial issues. For fun I read another Dorothea Benton Frank novel called Folly Beach. I also read a Kindle freebie called Bronze by Kerri-Anne Weston. I finished up the month with a book my son had to read this year in college – Appalachian Mountain Girl by Rhoda Bailey Warren. It was fabulous! It is the story of her life in the hills of Kentucky in the 1930s. For those of you who like Little House on the Prairie type books, this one is similar. It would be a great read aloud for any age.

  4. I’m going to have to add this to my fall reading list before the movie comes out. I haven’t read this since junior high (and I don’t know if I ever read the others in the series). I am itching to reread it again now!

  5. I have been making a concerted effort to read more in the past year (I read a lot as a kid, but lost interest as a teenager). I tried to read The Hobbit when I was about 18 and to be honest, I just couldn’t get through it…but with the new movie coming out (and my mega-crush on Martin Freeman 😉 ), I’m planning on picking it back up as soon as I finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (highly recommended).

    Also, I just finished the first in Artemis Fowl, a light fantasy series for young adults. Definitely something I will be encouraging my daughter to read (when she’s old enough…she’s currently only 2 1/2).

    1. What’s Artemis Fowl about? My boys love fantasy. Is it boy-friendly?

      1. Totally boy or girl friendly! The main character is a teenage genius who captures a fairy to collect a ransom in an effort to restore his family’s fortune. The wiki page does a much better job of explaining it than I do:

        I haven’t had the chance to read any of the others, but from what I understand in the later ones he and the fairies become allies and work together. For boys, there’s a lot of action and a relateable male protagonist, and for girls there’s a fairy girl who kicks a lot of butt and uses her brain (which I’m always looking for as the mother of a little girl).

        Overall, it’s one of the better examples of kid’s lit that I’ve found lately. Others I’d recommend as boy-friendly fantasy are the Animorphs series, and the Warriors series.

  6. I found the Hobbit on cassette tape once and since I knew it was one of my husbands favorite books I purchased it and listened to it with him on our 10 year anniversary getaway (that was 7 years ago). I loved it. Now the hubby is so excited over the upcoming movie! I am sure that is one we will not be waiting for it to come to redbox but instead splurging on the big screen.

  7. I was gloriously UNPLUGGED all last week and today is my first day back online. Of course I completely missed the Booking It post, but then, I didn’t specifically read The Hobbit either. I’ve read it before, but just not this month (or year). Good book, though!

    I finished reading L.M. Montgomery’s book, “The Blue Castle” while at the beach last week. Not sure how I missed it all these years (guess I was too stuck on Anne), but I LOVED it!! So much fun, great characters and a lot of humor that doesn’t come through as much in the Anne books. Highly recommend it!