18 January 2010

Readalong 2: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

As you know, I'm rereading The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien as part of the Lord of the Rings Readalong. Eva from A Striped Arm Chair is the host for The Hobbit and has posed the second batch of discussion questions for January. (I posted my answers to first Readalong questions last week.)

Let's get on to the questions.

1. Where are you in the story? So far, has the book lived up to your expectations (for first-timers)/memories (for rereaders)? What’s surprising or familiar?

Beth Fish Reads (BFR): I finished the audio last week. One thing that surprised me (and this was mentioned on Twitter over the weekend) was how little time we spend in Rivendell. I remembered more elves! I think that's because we hear of Bilbo's love of the elves in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings. The other thing I didn't remember was how early on in the book Bilbo discovers the ring and that he ended up telling the dwarves all about it.
2. Have you been bogged down anywhere in the book?
BFR: There were no slow spots for me, this time or in the past.
3. Let’s talk about the songs . . . are you skipping over them to get back to the prose? Why or why not?
BFR: Yes, I admit it. I generally skim the songs and poems (I don't skip them altogether). One of the joys of the unabridged audio production is that the songs are actually sung, and thus I listened. They contain some good stuff—some are fun, but other songs contain information that I have clearly missed over the years.
4. What do you think of the narrator’s voice?
BFR: I like the narrator of The Hobbit. I enjoyed the blend of humor, chastising, and admiration that one senses for different characters at different moments. These attitudes are particularly evident in the audio.
5. Does your edition have illustrations or maps? Have you been ignoring them or referring back to them?
BFR: My print edition of The Hobbit has maps, black ink drawings, and color illustrations. I do look at them and refer back to them. Like Bilbo, I love maps!
6. Now it’s time to play favourites! Who’s your favourite main character? Who’s your favourite minor character (i.e.: villains, random helpers, etc.)? What’s your favourite scene? Do you have a favourite quote to share?
BFR: I'm going to take Bilbo and Gandalf out of the running for favorites! Of the dwarves, I like Bombur and the comic relief his character provides. Of the minor good guys, I like Beorn and his gentle life in the woods. In fact, I love the scene when Gandalf and Bilbo visit with Beorn and the wizard begins to tell his tale, all the while being interrupted by both Beorn and the dwarves.
Some of the enduring lines in The Hobbit are the following. I think of them often as I cross the threshold and start out on a walk:
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wondering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Don't miss what other readers have to say about their current experience with The Hobbit.


The Bumbles 1/18/10, 1:45 PM  

I haven't read The Hobbit since I was probably 10 years old. That is one that I would love to take some time with and experience again. I bet audio would be a good method for the songs alone!

Isn't that the quote that Kaye uses for her blog? It is a goodie.

Teresa 1/18/10, 1:55 PM  

That scene with Beorn, Gandalf, and the dwarves is classic. Such typical Gandalf too. He's a master manipulator!

Dorte H 1/18/10, 2:53 PM  

Oh, it is good to read about the book. I know I should read it again, and I may one day when I can persuade a class to read extracts of it (that is the best part of being a reader: sometimes you are paid to read excellent literature).

Alice 1/18/10, 7:41 PM  

I really need to smack myself. I only started reading it today. I hope I make it in time to finish the book and then catch up on all the questions. *smacks self*

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/18/10, 9:21 PM  

Now that I'm listening to more audiobooks I really appreciate the narrator singing or reciting (with inflection) those songs and poems that I might typcically skim. Interesting that you're finding bits you missed this way.

Anonymous,  1/19/10, 11:53 AM  

I'm really enjoying this Hobbit readalong :)

Eva 1/20/10, 7:07 AM  

Loved reading your answers! I'm definitely going audio for my next reread. :D

J.G. 1/22/10, 7:42 PM  

Yes, Gandalf is a sly one. He uses the Beorn methodology on Bilbo, too, sort of. It's hard to panic or fume when the dwarves arrive in such small increments.

Jess - A Book Hoarder 1/24/10, 10:42 AM  

I am definitely going with the audio version the next time around.

I also love the scene with Beorn and the dwarves. I was laughing the whole time.

Amy 1/25/10, 11:33 AM  

Bombur is one of my favroties too! I think my next re-reading of this will be the audio version.

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