This week is the 75th anniversary of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I actually had to check the Wikipedia article to confirm that the publication date for “The Hobbit” was, in fact, 1937. (“The Lord of The Rings” wasn’t published until after World War II in the early 1950’s.) Since the trailer for the new movie has been airing on the big and small screens, I also had to check to see that “The Hobbit” had 13 dwarves with so many similar names. I have read “The Hobbit” once as young child and again as a teenager, and LOTR once as a teenager, but that was 30 years ago.
As an eight-grader, I read “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography” by Humphrey Carpenter for a book report. My Language Arts instructor warned me that it was a difficult book to read. And it was, but not because of the language. (I would later be tested that school year to have a college-level reading comprehension even though the school system had me classified as being mentally retarded and an idiot to boot.) I had no historical framework of the early 20th century to put everything into perspective. When I read the biography again a few years ago, everything fell into place as I’ve been reading extensively about history and literature in that time period. My instructor gave me an A-grade even though I only reported on the first one-third of the biography.
Would I read the books again now that they are available as ebooks? Maybe, maybe not.
I was never a serious J.R.R. Tolkien fan. Perhaps the language was high-brow for my taste. I’m more of a David Eddings fan, having read “The Belgariad” six times and “The Malloreon” three times. The language in these two series are low-brow for sure, especially since I want to take a red pen to cross out all the adverbs in the early books. I like my fantasy down to earth and away from the ivory towers of academia.