After reading The Hobbit for the nth time, I still have to say that this book is just as magical, epic, wonderful, and thrilling as it was when I read it the first time, back in grade school. I don't think I could have been more than twelve or thirteen at the time. There are so many memories of this book. Late nights reading in bed....desperately trying to get in one more chapter, or even just a few more pages....renewing the book six times before the librarian told me that I had to simply finish it or return it (that was before we were given the chance to renew up to fifteen or twenty times).
The Hobbit is a story of adventure, loyalty, and courage. When homebody Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is visited by the wizard Gandalf and a troupe of dwarfs, he has no idea what adventures are in store for him. But soon, the quiet, non-adventureous Mr. Baggins finds himself facing trolls, goblins, elves, and giant spiders in order to help his new companions reach the final challenge of their quest: rescue their stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug.
Besides being a pleasant and often thrilling read, this book has so much to offer in the way of adventures, characters, and plot. Like Bilbo, the readers find themselves lulled into the action, drawn in slowly at first, and then all at once, are grabbed by the shirtfront and pulled right into the action. From that point onward, you have nineteen chapters of bold, fastpaced adventure. And when the story is over, you almost wish that it would keep going.
This provides a wonderful start to my summer reading challenge: A Summer in Middle Earth. From there, I'll be moving on to Albert Camus's The Stranger and Jonathan Howard's Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer. I'm still waiting for The Fellowship of the Ring to come in from the library.