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The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be hitting the silver screen in December, but Tolkien fans who can’t wait until then can get their fill with one (or all) of the many Hobbit-related books that have recently been released. Some of these fantasy reads give the book’s cult following a peek behind the making of The Hobbit. Other might just be banking on the book’s new wave of interest. Here are four of the latest Hobbit-centered books:
By Gregory Bassham, Eric Bronson and William Irwin (Oct. 2)
In addition to carrying the heftiest title out of the bunch, this book also takes on a weighty subject. Longtime fans can ponder questions raised by historical philosophers in the context of Tolkien’s fantastical world. What responsibilities come with friendship? Should everyone be shown mercy? How do you thing Smaug’s treasure should have been divvied up? Read, wonder and discuss.
By Corey Olsen (Sept. 18)
This companion book to The Hobbit will help readers uncover secrets whether you are reading the story for the first or twelfth time. Corey Olsen, an assistant professor of English at Washington College who happens to specialize in Tolkien, dissects the book chapter by chapter and reveals the underlying stories about the mystery of human choice, the nature of evil and Bilbo Baggins’ transformation. If you’re interested in hearing more about the academic side of The Hobbit from man nicknamed “The Tolkien Professor,” you can visit his website and listen to his podcasts on iTunes.
By J.R.R. Tolkien, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (Sept. 18)
No, Tolkien isn’t writing from beyond the grave. Experts on the author have compiled the complete artwork that Tolkien created for his story, including maps, plans, drawings and paintings — some have been published for the first time. The first edition of The Hobbit featured 10 black-and-white pictures, two maps and a dust jacket all designed by Tolkien. Now, fans can get to know Tolkien the artist and see another dimension to the author’s magical work.
By Noble Smith (Oct. 30)
Although readers will have to wait a few more weeks for the book’s release, The Wisdom of the Shire promises to unlock mysteries of Tolkien’s beloved Hobbits. According to the author, the Hobbit-hole represents a state of mind that even humans can learn to embrace. Find out how gardening, eating meals with close friends and taking a stroll can help you live a happier Hobbit-like life.
What’s the verdict? Silly? Insightful? Would you give any of these a read?
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