Reviewsday: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

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In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

So begins one of the most timeless tales in the fantasy world. You may have seen the movies, but the book itself contains a richer, more vividly imagined world than could ever be brought to life on the silver screen.

For the uninitiated, a quick recap: Whisked away from his nice, comfortable hobbit-hole by a mysterious wizard and a band of dwarves, unassuming Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of a fearsome dragon. Reluctant at first, he surprises even himself when he proves to be a more than competent 'burglar'. And thus the magnificent journey begins to unfold...

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Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's children, The Hobbit was an instant success when it was first published in 1937. Full of orcs, dwarves, wizards, elves, and many more creatures- some even beyond imagining- Tolkien's work is considered to be the 'father' of the high fantasy genre, inspiring works such as the Shannara series and the Belgariad. Small wonder it is considered to be one of the most influential books of it's generation.

The fluidity of Tolkien's prose and the pace of his story-telling make The Hobbit the perfect start for any reader wanting to dip their toes into the fantasy pool. And once you're in, you might want to wade around for a while...

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