The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The HobbitBilbo Baggins is a home loving hobbit living in his snug little cave. Gandalf the Wizard visits him, reminding Bilbo of his restless Took relatives who had known Gandalf. The following day Bilbo opens his door to thirteen dwarves and Gandalf. Next thing he realizes, he has been hired as a burgler to accompany the dwarves on a quest to retrieve their lost gold. He is off across Middle Earth with the dwarves and Gandalf, discovering new people he had never imagined before.
Bilbo is a special hobbit, although he does not realize it. He is afraid. Yet he goes with the dwarves. He longs for home and warmth and food. Yet he survives in all sorts of adverse conditions as he accompanies the dwarves. He does not believe himself to be overly intelligent or deceitful, yet is able to trick Gollum out of a magic ring.
This is an all time classic fantasy novel and precedes the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I remember seeing it was on some other different high school class’ reading list. The cover was so strange at the time I was glad I did not have to read it. I enjoyed my Shakespeare class instead. Fortunately about five years later I listened to some friends discussing some good books. I picked it up and started reading. Was I impressed! I have read this book many times since then, and still enjoy re-reading it every few years.
J.R.R. Tolkien has been acknowledged as one of the best authors of the twentieth century. His series on the Middle Earth show why. He weaves a believable fantasy land and characters. Small, unimposing hobbits are unexpected heroes. This book and the follow up trilogy should not be missed.