February will bring you one of the world’s favourite novels, The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien. Learn about the inspiration behind Bilbo Baggins and his adventures, find out about the hardships Tolkien endured before he became a writer, and enter the world of the Inklings and literary friendships.
The Hobbit lacks what I usually look for in a book – an interesting and developing heroine, a magnetic hero, realistic dialogue about human concerns, a recognisable setting, and a satisfactory romantic conclusion. And yet, in spite of these lacks, I do really love this book and have never found the same appeal in The Lord of the Rings.
It is also a novel that makes you appreciate ‘Home’. Reading it makes you want to go to the pantry and see what delicious things might be lurking there; it makes you want to curl up at a fireside and stay there until the tale is finished; and it makes you acknowledge the places that mean much to you. Most of us love to travel, but Bilbo so well expresses the power of home that draws us all: “I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing.
No wonder The Hobbit has become a classic.