23. The Hobbit: J.R.R. Tolkien

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After a few books which have been a hard slog, I needed something easy and escapist. What could be better than The Hobbit, a fantasy classic.

Surely no one needs me to tell you the plot? Home loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins is drafted by wizard Gandalf to accompany a group if dwarves on their quest to rescue the mountain home of their ancestors, and the treasure within, from the evil dragon Smaug. En route they encounter trolls, elves, goblins and wolves amongst other trials and tribulations. And of course Bilbo meets Gollum and steals his magic ring.

It is a children’s book so is simple in its style and story, but is certainly well written and better than most modern young people’s books. As it is fantasy you just have to go with it and not think too hard about how everything works. If you allow yourself to get swept along and immersed in the world then it’s good fun.

I found reading it now interesting because I have recently watched the first two films of Peter Jackson’s new trilogy. Whilst all the major set pieces of the book are present, there is so much unnecessary extra filler it is ridiculous. I was particularly shocked, for example, when I realised about 60 pages from the end that I had only just got to the end of the second film. How they are going to turn 60 pages into another 3 hour epic?!

4 stars

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