Let the Lord of the Rings Read-a-Long Begin!
Last fall on Twitter, where so many wonderful book blogging ideas are formed, Maree, Teresa and I were discussing our love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series, and how we all were itching for a reread. Well, pretty soon we decided to do a read-a-long, and after recruiting Clare, we’d come up with a format and a button. I think the button is what makes these kind of things official. ;) Anyway, we’ll be reading (or rereading) one book a month, from now until April, and I do hope that you’ll join us. Teresa posted about it back in November, outlining the ‘plan’ and including a Mr. Linky for sign-ups. We’ve got 30 people signed up, and it’s not too late, so feel free to add your name to the list! We’re starting things off with The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, and I’m hosting! A quick reminder: although we’ll be discussing in January, don’t feel obligated to finish the book by the 31st, or to stretch out your reading time. You can definitely approach it at your own pace!
In addition to this post, I’ll be posting again mid-month, and finally at the end of the month. Each post will include a Mr. Linky, so that if you’re posting about the read-a-long on your own blog, we’ll have all of the links in one place. I think the marvelous thing about read-a-longs (vs. challenges) is that since we’re all reading the same book, we can have even deeper discussions, so I encourage you to either post on your own blog or get into comments on other people’s.
In case you need a little inspiration, I’ve come up with a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any, all, or none of them on your blog or in the comments. I do ask all of the rereaders to remember to post spoiler warnings, though, so that those who are new to Bilbo and the gang know when to look away. :) Also, one of the fun things about books like The Hobbit, in my opinion, is that they’ve been around for so long that they have a ton of different covers! So if you’d like to take a picture of your cover to show it off, I know that I’ll be checking it out…I’m always curious about the physical aspects of books. Personally, I think my cover, which matches my LOTR and Silmarillion books, is quite beautiful. I’ve always been a fan of watercolours, and I like that none of the characters are pictured (well, except for Gandalf’s back), so I’m free to imagine them however I wish to.
When did you first hear of The Hobbit? What made you decide to join the read-a-long?
Have you read it before? If so tell us about that experience.
If you’re new to The Hobbit, do you have any preconceptions going into it?
J.R.R. Tolkien pretty much founded the modern fantasy genre. So let’s take a moment to think about the genre as a whole; have you always loved fantasy? Or perhaps you still feel rather skeptical towards the whole idea of wizards and dwarfs and magic? What was your introduction to the genre?
Do you have a certain plan for reading it? A few pages a day, spacing it out over the month? Or are you just going to race through it? Let whimsy decide?
I first read The Hobbit with my mother in my elementary school. We always read a book together before I went to bed, and we often went for classics. My mom is a big fan of fantasy books, so she suggested we read The Hobbit, and I really loved it! It was so full of adventure, but at the same time Bilbo was so amusing, that I really enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve reread it on my own a few times, and as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate Tolkien’s scholarship more and more. I love how you can completely guess he was in academia, simply from how he created the world, and I love how detailed it is. I think the subtitle, There and Back Again is wonderful, and the whole story of Bilbo speaks to some dream deep in our hearts to try ourselves in the wide world. Now that I’ve read more of Joseph Campbell, I definitely see the Hero’s Journey in it!
Since my mom was such a big fan of fantasy, I never knew that other people associated the genre with ‘pulp fiction,’ so I’ve never had any stereotypes get in the way of my enjoyment of it. :) I don’t read as much high fantasy anymore (that’s the epic, world-building stuff, for those who aren’t familiar with the subgenres), but I enjoy urban fantasy, and I still love revisiting my old middle and high school favourites. I can’t imagine anyone who’s actually read Tolkien trying to argue that he’s pulp anything. And if they did, I might smack them over the head with The Silmarillion! ;)
I’m going to start The Hobbit today, and I’ve been so excited since we began discussing the project that it’s taken all of my will power to hold out until now to begin!