Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a small failing

So I finally read The Hobbit. 

I know, I'm late to the party.  And I didn't read it of my own free will. It was the only book I could get enough copies of in time for the start of classes in September and so I had to just bite the bullet and do it. 

So there it is. Apparently the next step is to face The Lord of the Rings. There's probably no way around it. Its just that I really don't like suspense, or violence, in movies or in books. That's why my reading diet consists almost solely of PG Wodehouse, with occasional trips to visit Lord Peter Wimsey (its not really suspense, is it? or violence, its just Lord Peter) and a history book here or there (because I already know what happened).

My students, of course, have loved The Hobbit. I don't think any of the other books on my list will top it in pure literary delight--good solid books probably (I don't actually know, its almost entirely a list of books I was too afraid to read as a child, or didn't have time for) but I don't think any of them will touch Tolkien. 


Kat said...

Both my husband and I love The Hobbit and do not like the LOTR trilogy at all. I've made attempts several times and never gotten past the first couple chapters. This is the same problem I've had with A Tale Of Two Cities.

I'd be interested in knowing what else is on the list. I don't have much interest in violence or much suspense, either.

Josh Harper said...

You might give them a few years before you thrust Lord of the Rings on them, as I discovered unfortunately right after I read the Hobbit myself as a child. LOTR is much more a teen/adult kind of book than a children's book.

Teacher Mommy said...

I agree. LotR is more accessible for an older group. I would note, however, that if you like history and the reference-type book, that LotR may actually be more to your taste than The Hobbit. It also helps to have an appreciation for mythology, as Tolkien was deeply influenced by Norse mythology.

Sarah Boyle Webber said...

Very true. I couldn't get through LOTR until way after college, even though I enjoyed The Hobbit as a child.

Anonymous said...

Loved "The Hobbit". So well written - eloquent, engaging. LOTR left me colder than an ice cube in January. I'm always lost and befuddled when they quote lengthy passages on SFiF.

Nobody said...

Don't let the first 150 pages or so stop you. It took me three tries, but I was so glad I kept plugging away. I didn't want them to end.

Joyce Carlson said...

I can't imagine getting through a whole year without rereading LOTR. The furniture in my mind wasn't just rearranged after reading the trilogy (and the Hobbit), it was like I'd gotten new furniture in all my most favorite colors. Terrifying suspense of course, but true as true. And another thing: one reason it's better to read the books than watch the movies and imagine that they are what Tolkien had in mind is that you get to go through the good and the bad--the woes and all the jolly old times--at a walking pace, which makes it all doable. And you don't get the impression that the story was set up just so you could watch orcs being most improbably beheaded by lightly armed Danes.

eulogos said...

I didn't read this as a child as my parents always directed me away from fantasy and fairy tales and towards historical stories and natural history. I read science fiction as a preteen/early teen, but couldn't handle "fantasy" stories by some of the same authors. I could suspend disbelief about humans on planets all over the universe and did so (to the point where I sometimes forget that this is not actually the case) but any alteration in the physical laws of nature, anything smacking of nonphysical beings and mysterious happenings, got me quite confused and disturbed. If I suspended disbelief for those my sense of reality was disturbed. I remember in particular Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions affecting me that way when I was
twelve. So when some of my friends were reading and obsessing over LOTR, I avoided it. Someone gave me a blue button which said 'Frodo lives' in elvish, which I wish I still had.
I read the books all as an adult.
I read the Hobbit to my oldest son when he was five, and the rest of the series to him as he got older.(By the time we were done he could read the Hobbit himself and started over.)
As I read them to him, I re-read them to myself. More recently, I obtained the tapes, and then the CD's. I have listened all through them once a year, for about the last ten years. I listen as I drive.
I admit that I usually find battle scenes tedious and probably skimmed over them lightly in earlier readings, although I couldn't when reading them to my son.
Every time I listen through them I notice some new thing.
The scenes and characters of the book are now a large part of the furniture of my imagination.

I think they will grow on you.

PS What other books will you be reading with these kids?

Zana said...

What Joyce Carlson said. Yes, yes, YES!

lissla lissar said...

I didn't read LotR until I was twenty, even though I was a huge fantasy fan. My then-boyfriend found out that I hadn't read it or the Little House books, and got me copies of each.

I read LotR in three days, and by the end I thought I was an Ent.

One of the things I loved about the whole world being taken by LotR enthusiasm was how Christian the story is. I have to finish my sentence with 'is'. I haven't really slept in three days. Anyway, it's a redemption/the littlest among us are the most blessed/suffering can lead to holiness story, which is totally antithetical to our whole culture, and yet it was being read and watched everywhere for a few years.