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Happy Birthday, Hobbit

The Hobbit is 80 years old.  I’m not sure why that’s remarkable except that the books stand outside of time since they’re set in a fictional world.  (Well, fictional to YOU.  The Shire is totally real to ME.)  No calling cards or gas-guzzling cars or bell bottoms to place it in an era.  How many pieces of writing can say that?  That they feel as relevant and timely now as they did when they were written?

I am admittedly more in love with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have a soft, mushy spot in my heart for The Hobbit.  I remember taking out the tape recorder when my brother was little and recording him reading aloud from The Hobbit just because I thought it was an important thing to note.  A person’s first reading of The Hobbit.

Tolkien’s books are books I turn to when I am stressed, and maybe it is because of the reason the Atlantic author gives for why his books still important:

In a world today where nuclear doom—for which The Ring can be read as a metaphor—hangs over every country, where efforts to work for common good seem to crumble, and where inequality and hegemony seem likely to persist in perpetuity, perhaps those quaint values are more crucial now than ever.

Or maybe it’s because when the world looks its bleakest — when people look their bleakest — his books are a reminder that there is good out there and that you usually stumble upon it if you allow yourself to get mixed up with the world around you.

Happy birthday, Hobbit.


1 a { 10.10.17 at 7:59 am }

I have never read any Tolkein. Seems weird, since I read quite a bit, but I was never drawn to it. It’s not about genre. I watched one of the LOTR movies and could not have been less interested. So strange, since pretty much everyone loves Tolkein.

2 Cristy { 10.10.17 at 8:08 am }

It was Frodo’s and Bilbo’s birthday a few weeks ago. Was reminded of the beginning of the journey Bilbo was about to pass on to Frodo. Given our world today, it was eerie how fitting that reminder was.

The Hobbit changed my world view and opened doors to possibilities. And it was a reminder that though some journeys are not popular, they are necessary.

3 loribeth { 10.11.17 at 11:36 am }

I’ve never read any Tolkien either. Tried but it just didn’t grab me. I did get watching the LOTR movies on TV a few years back, & we enjoyed them, but it’s still not really my thing.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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