The Hobbit :: Week One

Welcome to the The Hobbit read-a-long! We’re reading this book through November and December. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.

Week One: Read to Chapter III


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First of all, look at the blurb under the picture of the book. Do we say the The Hobbit Read-a-Long, or is “the” redundant? I thought not since we still need an article considering the word “The” in front of Hobbit is actually part of the title – right? Let’s make sure that’s correct, shall we?

Now onto more fun things. What did you think of this first week’s reading? What I kept saying over and over is, “I am a Hobbit!” How many of us felt that way this week? I even started (subconsciously) noting each instance that demonstrated my Hobbitishness. Do let me show you…

  • We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them… (p.4)
  • He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright. (p.6)
  • The next day he had almost forgotten about Gandalf. He did not remember things very well unless he put them down on his Engagement Tablet: like this: Gandalf Tea Wednesday. (p.7)
  • “Up you two get, and off we go!” said Thorin. “I’m awfully sorry,” said Bilbo, “but I have come without my hat, and I have left my pocket-handkershief behind…” (p.30) Anyone who knows me in real life, knows I always have tissues with me – it’s a must, and I’m notorious for needing them. So you can imagine how happy I was to read this… “They had not been riding very long, when up came Gandalf very splendid on a white horse. He had brought a lot of pocket-handkercheifs, and Bilbo’s pipe and tobacco.” (P.31) PHEW!
  • Off Bilbo had to go, before he could explain that he could not hoot even once like any kind of owl and more than fly like a bat. (p.34)

And some last sentiments…

Though I did read this book about 20 years ago, I have still not read the LOTR trilogy, so the only Gandalf I know is a very faded memory of one from this book and, of course, from the movies. Is he a bit shorter on patience in the books than he was in the movie? Or is it just in this book? He’s a bit gruff. For example, on the last pages of this week’s reading, “Don’t interrupt!” said Gandalf. “You will get there in a few days now, if we’re lucky, and find out all about it. As I was saying…”

And then, of course, there’s this, which will now be my toast whenever having drinks forever and ever, amen: “May the hair on his (or her) toes never fall out!” (p.16)

And then there’s this, thanks to my fellow Book Rioter, Ed McCracken (and inspired by Jacqueline’s post about our Wuthering Heights Read-a-Long)…

Who’s Reading Along:

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Wuthering Heightsdiscussion (see below for more information).**

Catlyn Lawson (@ZombieCupcake90)
Melissa Caldwell
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Sarah D
June @So_Meow
SpyrosChrysikopoulos (@chryssiko)
Emma S.
Brittany M
Jenny Colvin (@readingenvy)
Ashley J.
Jeff Whitsitt
kai charles (@YogiKai)

Friendly Reminders:

  • If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
  • Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
  • Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
  • If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
  • If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!

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98 thoughts on “The Hobbit :: Week One

  1. Haha, I also felt I’m a hobbit, especially concerning eating habits and forgetting everything without putting it down!
    What I also enjoyed immensely were all the jokes about English good manners. Remember the whole thing about a lot of meanings of “Good morning” and how “at your service” is joked about? I like that kind of humour!

    • So funny, I didn’t even catch THAT (the manners). I have been reading books exclusively by English authors lately and have actually been thrown by how different our cultures are (down to regularly used words)… I always think of us as so similar. I just took that as “Hobbit manners”. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Sadly, I’m not much of a hobbit, though I find them adorable and love the peaceful life they lead. Perhaps the only thing I can claim for myself that is rather hobbit-like is politeness. :D

    So…this is the umpteenth time I’m reading this book, but it’s fun to have to read it with a group. This time around, as I began reading, I realised, that for a first time reader ‘a hobbit’ could have been anything until Tolkien’s description in pg 2. So, here’s a question for you folk — If this is the first time you’re reading The Hobbit what did you think a hobbit was before you came across Tolkien’s description? If this is not the first time you’ve read this book, do you recall what your initial thoughts were the first time you read it?

    Personally, I never had that experience since I first read the graphic version of The Hobbit before ever I got myself a copy of the novel. A pity. Though the graphic novel was fantastic and was my introduction to Tolkien.

    Oh! And I HAVE to mention the trolls! Blimey! They make me laugh so much, what! Ha ha! They have to be the most unscary trolls I’ve ever read about…though I feel for Bilbo and the Dwarves.

    • I read “The Hobbit” for the first time in my childhood, and I didn’t like it. I remember there were some strange, unpleasant creatures there, doing some strange things. So I don’t know how I imagined a hobbit then, but I definitely didn’t sympathise with the creature =) When I read it for the second time, I was already a fan of all that was ever written by Tolkien and I had watched the films, so I didn’t have to imagine anything.

        • Yes, I did, as I do now. But I was actually afraid to take it again, as I remembered my child experience. But I reasoned that if everything else by Tolkien is so perfect, The Hobbit can’t be that terrible. I guess that first time I just had a bad translation, and the second time I was already able to read it in the original.

    • I remember loving hobbits, but only hobbits. Even as a pre-teen I didn’t like mess and the unknown, so I enjoyed reading about Bilbo’s mannerisms and home life. I can’t remember thinking much about his appearance, other than thinking the hairy feet thing was an odd touch. Basically just thought of them as little people with unshod, hairy feet. Ha! (Now that I say that, I remember NOT liking that they didn’t wear shoes, at first, but then thinking it wouldn’t work any other way. Can you imagine a hobbit in shoes?)

    • This is my first time reading anything by Tolkien, and I have never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies, so I’m going in with an embarrassingly clean slate. I have, however, seen a hobbit portrayed by a hairy-footed Elijah Wood, so that’s how I’ve always imagined hobbits: normal people with hairy feet. Also, I’ve known people to be called “hobbits” if they like to stay home, and after reading these two chapters, now I know why.

      • It’s going to be really interesting for me to read the thoughts of a Tolkien virgin. I watched all of the movies before I read any of the books so I come into these stories with preconceived notions and set ideas. It’s hard to imagine starting this epic story (stories) with a clean slate!

      • They are resistant to adventure, but there is some history of hobbits going adventuring, so perhaps whatever is in their blood just needs firing-up.

      • Frodo grew up hearing Bilbo’s tales, and Gandalf’s stories, so he is a bit of an odd hobbit. Plus the Baginses are related to the Tooks who are more adventurous. But the Tooks weren’t considered “respectable”. I think most hobbits are more like Samwise.

      • I think in LOTR (the book), Frodo may have seemed a little more hesitant, but he had grown up hearing the stories of his uncle, Bilbo’s adventures, and he felt the spark himself from that and probably from his Took heritage as well.

  3. Hmm…I read this book SO LONG ago that I can’t remember puzzling over what a hobbit was. I think I probably saw the LOTR movies first, so I had a visual anyway.

    I never thought to compare myself to a hobbit. I don’t think we are all that similar. I wouldn’t have put up with that kind of intrusion in my house, bad manners or no. :) And I definitely have a few less hairs on my toes. But…I do enjoy a cake or two in the afternoon!

    Wallace, I loved the LOTR books, you should definitely put them on your to-read list! They are much more detailed than the movies. In regards to Gandalf…I think the gruffness is his personality. They may not have shown that as much in the movies but I do remember his temper was quite short with Pippin and Merry.

    Loved the troll scene. So clever how Gandolf tricked those big dumb trolls into staying out until sunrise. And I agree…definitely the most unscary villains ever!

    • Gandalf, in the movies, was SO gentle and wise. He is still wise in this book, but certainly not gentle.

      I own The Lord of the Rings, but not the other two, so I will definitely start with that (hopefully sometime in the new year). I VERY MUCH want to read The Silmarillion. Have you read it?

      • Silmarillion is epic. And because of this it is certainly difficult to read. There is a saying: “Silmarillion is difficult to read…. only the first ten times” :) It should certainly be read after all the other books and do not expect any adventures or a lot of familiar characters. But there ARE certain very gripping stories there. If you look at my nickname, it is a modification of the name Aredel Ar-Feiniel from Silmarillion :) The story impressed me so much, that I have this nick for 7 years already :)

        • Oh wow! I did read the first few pages when I had the book from the library and it was dense. Would need to buy it so I can (slowly) make my way through it.

          Cool about the nickname… soooo, you’re saying you’re a Tolkien fan, eh? ;)

          • Yes, kind of =) Rather a past fan though, as I haven’t read anything by Tolkien for several years. But I was rather crazy back then =) I even used to read a bit of elvish – we studied it with a friend. And I can still recite some of the poems from the LOtR. But it was in my teens, so now I’m going back a bit with this read-a-long =)

    • It’s funny; I read this book ages ago and I always remembered Bilbo tricking the trolls. I was actually quite surprised when I read that it was Gandalf, and then it made so much more sense then what I had previously thought! lol.

  4. Pingback: On challenges, read-alongs and other things. « Breadcrumb Reads

  5. Yeah, I think Gandalf’s curtness was a bit of a surprise…he seemed more casual in the LOTR movies. But I do like that he is sort of all-knowing and full of secrets.

    • The thing about reading is that we play all the parts ourselves and create the characters, so Gandalf can be very different. I think one interpretation is as good as another. But Gandalf does push the plot forward, forcing Bilbo to go along, so perhaps a little gruffness is needed.

  6. I must say it was fun to enter the world of the hobbits once again. I never read any books by Tolkien before, but I did see The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I enjoyed. Because I’ve watched the movies, it was easy to visualize Bilbo’s home in The Hill, which I’m assuming is The Shire in the movies. I didn’t realized that hobbits didn’t indulge in adventures based on what I saw in LOTR, so reading the text is providing details I missed as a viewer. What a creative and gifted writer Tolkien was!!!

    Two of the scenes that stand out to me are the arrival of the dwarves and the meeting with the trolls. Bilbo’s frustration with the continuously arriving dwarves and his concern with not having enough food is funny. Wow! Those guys love to eat!! And the trolls’ rendition of a Food Channel show is hilarious. Do they roast the dwarves, boil them, or squash them?

    It’s interesting that Tolkien made the hobbits different from us and yet easy to identify with. We’re forgetful, worry about hospitality, and yes, like our tissues. Funny you mentioned that, Wallace. My husband says that if the house ever catches on fire, I will go back in to get a tissue. Must have a never-ending supply!

    I’m thoroughly enjoying this read.

    • Completely gifted, that Tolkien. I can almost hear him telling this story to his kids at bedtime (which is how these stories originated). Do you feel a bit like a kid reading it? I do, and I love it!

    • I too loved how he was worried about unannounced visitors, not having enough food, cleaning up the morning after, reminded myself of me and this time of year and my favorite part was the troll scene! They were fighting and carrying on and became statues for birds to roost upon…ha

      • I know just how Bilbo felt! When the company leaves and there is all the picking up to do, then at last there is peace and quiet and contentment. Of course, the party had to happen first, but it does help us to enjoy ourselves afterward.

  7. This will be my second reading of The Hobbit. I tried to read some of the other LotR books but could not really get into that. I loved seeing how much I remembered (I think I was in middle school maybe when I read The Hobbit) as well as how much I had forgotten. I think this is going to be such a fun read!

    Oh, and I came across this BuzzFeed article about someone who made Bilbo’s cabin out of balloons. So cool!!! Link:

  8. I am SUCH a Hobbit! Right down to actual pocket handkerchiefs :) which I don’t feel like myself if I don’t have with me. But, I do think that Tolkien wants us, like Bilbo, to break a little out of our Hobbit-selves and go on an adventure every now and again. I mean, how would you know what you were capable of with trolls and stuff!?!? ;)

    I think of Gandalf as sort of dry/droll. He’s been around forever and is a wizard, you know. A little tricksy too ;) He let Bilbo make up his own mind about the adventure, but set it up so that his Tookish nature wouldn’t allow anything else, huh?

    • I read that Tolkien was a Christian, he even brought CS Lewis to know Christ. Here are two correlations that I found interesting. Certainly provides food for thought.

      Gandalf = God (It makes sense, because in the book he only comes when needed like God does) and He has been around forever:)
      Bilbo = Human (Trouble choosing between good or evil) we all want an adventure but at our convenience.

      • Yes, you’re right – and I believe it’s noted that the LOTR trilogy is even more based on his Christian beliefs. Then again, good vs. evil is part of each religion so I’m sure arguments could be made about that (besides the fact that we do know Tolkien had a strong faith).

    • I agree that Tokien is challenging us to break from the comforts of our everyday lives. It’s so easy to fall into routine and avoid the unknown, but we can learn so much more about ourselves and others when we go on “adventures” or do something that we may find unfamiliar or difficult. A friend once told me that “comfort should be uncomfortable,” and I’ve been thinking about that a lot while reading The Hobbit so far. I’m interested to see what Bilbo learns about himself and how he grows during this experience.

      • That’s really interesting. I like this perspective…it sounds very Christian. At least all Christians are really challenged to go out of their comfort zone, and those who do are always amazed by what they accomplish for the Faith.

        Having said that, though, Tolkien was not really writing to challenge anyone. To him it was just a story he wrote for his kids, and later was the beginning of the LotR epic. He very specifically says in his preface to LotR that he has not meant for there to be any secondary level reading of his works but the story itself. However, it’s always fun to read layers into texts since, after all, a text is complete only once a reader reads it and gleans his/her experience from it. :D

        • I think Tolkien started this novel based on tales for his children, but eveloped them more fully as he progressed. I think I read somewhere that he was years writing the book. He was also a medieval scholar (I like his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and loved mythology. Tolkien creates whole worlds in these books and there are some who feel that the stories told in The Hobbit and LOTR had much to do with the World Warl, and the evil he felt at work in the war.

  9. I started the book in high school, a very very long time ago, but couldn’t get through it. I never watched the movies or read Lord of the Rings. Still not sure about this book, though I loved the trolls, and the hairy toes were a very clever touch. And the food scenes – ordering, cooking, fantasizing, and cleaning. Boy, there is a lot of food action going on in two chapters. I’m sticking with it!

  10. I read The Hobbit 25 years ago as a kid, and even though that is a lot of time to pass, I am surprised that nothing in the first two chapters created even a flicker of remembrance for me about the story — it’s truly like I’m reading it for the first time. (There is one scene I know I remember but we’re not there yet). I remember the feelings I had when reading it back then — the wonderment and excitement of this new fantasy world I was discovering — but none of the details that caused those strong emotions. I guess I have a stronger emotional memory than factual memory?

    My favorite scene of the first two chapters was Bilbo’s increasing bewilderment as more and more dwarves showed up as his door. It was so cute how much effort he put into remaining a good host through it all. It definitely endeared him to me.

    My one head-scratcher of the first two chapters was that Bilbo leaves his homeland for an epic, dangerous adventure of weeks/months duration, possibly never to return, without any mention by Tolkien of the many friends and family he must have been leaving behind who won’t know what happened to him. Doesn’t that bother Bilbo, or make him sad, or worried what people at home will think happened to him? Maybe this is addressed later in the book, but it seems like a strange omission.

    Having fun!!!

    • Wallace: This is Stewart, by the way. I just changed my profile account settings to make that clear (sorry about that, I’m a newbie at this!)

    • I feel the same as you – I keep thinking “is this familiar because I remember it or am I just persuading myself that this is familiar because I KNOW I’ve read it?”.

      Ha! I hadn’t even thought of the fact that Bilbo wasn’t worried about people at home worrying about him! Good catch. I wonder if that will come up.

      (And thanks for clarifying who this was :))

  11. I’m very interested if you all think Trolls, Hobbits, Dwarves, and the Dragon are symbolic — of something in general society and/or English society of the time? I think Hobbits must be agrarian folk but I don’t think I have read enough to form opinions about the others. All this love of gold can’t be good for anyone though, right? It’s something I’m going to keep in my mind as I read…

    • I’ll keep it in mind too. If Tolkien and Lewis were friends, and Lewis was all-symbols, it could be. Although I have a vague recollection of Lewis being critical of Tolkien because of the LACK of meaning. I have no idea if he actually said that or where to find it.

    • I’ve thought he went with the lore about these creatures (except hobbits, since he made them up – and in that case, I find them even more fun to read about). Am I wrong?

      • I was thinking about the differences in the characters speech — like the trolls speak almost with a Cockney accent and like to drink beer! I was wondering if he might be playing around with English or general society in this way.

    • They probably are symbolic, but as for what, I’m not sure I can say. I thought I remember (possibly in one of the LOTR movie extras), that the different creatures represented different parts of England or the UK. But he was also supposed to be heavily influenced by Norse mythology for this, and LOTR has a rather environmentalist slant to it. But since this was written more for his kids, it doesn’t seem quite as clear.

      If comparing with areas of the kingdom, I’d probably compare the dwarves with the Scots, since am always hearing about the highlands of Scotland. Not sure about the others.

    • You can still join this week, just make sure to comment on this week’s reading by Thursday afternoon. :)

      Sorry you didn’t get your e-mail. I sent one out a few weeks ago. Did you change e-mail addresses possibly? Or try checking your junk mail.

  12. I would say that I’m more of a hobbit with respect to their love of a nice fire and tea (and maybe a little fuzz on my toes). I chuckled every time I read that it would not be the “last time that [Bilbo] wished” for his cozy fire and his kettle “just starting to sing”.

    I love that Tolkien’s narrative is in the style of a fairy tale. I’ve been keeping in mind that he wrote this book as a bedtime story for his children. This novel is a much different type of prose compared to LOTR. I found LOTR very deep, sometimes complex and difficult to read, while I find the Hobbit has an air of fun and whimsy, and I’m just breezing through the chapters.

    My favourite paragraph is when Tolkien is speaking of good times and bad times in relation to stories; “Now it’s a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much listened to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.” (pg 58, 2nd pgph) This is so very true don’t you think? In our society, we seem to thrive on the gruesome details of tragedy, sorrow, and destruction. Something happy and good does not last long on the news reels.

    • YES, I’ve been noticing the “not for the last time” too. So cute!

      Yes, I loved his explanation for that too – but I think you my be ahead of this week’s reading. That quote is in chapter III, no?

  13. As you are all Tolkien fans, I’m assuming that you have seen the previews for The Hobbit. I’m looking forward to the movie, particularly the small snippet I saw about the Dwarves singing the poem at the beggining of the book! I think I’ll be buying that movie score! I always did love Tolkien’s songs and poems interspersed in the books. What was your impression of the elves from your first snippet of their races characteristics from The Hobbit? How do you feel they compare to their characters in LOTR? I read LOTR not that long ago (and I have the movies, of course) and I was surprised at the frippery that Tolkien gave the elves in The Hobbit. I always pictured them as more majestic rather than silly, but it seems that he chose them to be more flippant and carefree.

    • Well, we are not there yet, but elves were my biggest disappointment in The Hobbit. They are more traditionally English here, I assume, more like those small laughing creatures in the grass.

      • Whoops! I misunderstood the instructions. I thought we were supposed to read up to and including the stopping chapter! I guess I didn’t read it that carefully. To think I was rushing through chapter 3 to make sure I could comment on the Friday AND I’m trying this read-along because I’m notorious for reading ahead ahahaha! Sorry about that :)

  14. This is my first time reading anything by Tolkien and I’ve never seen any of the LOTR movies.

    The two things that Wallace brought up were exactly the things that hit me – I am a Hobbit and I loved the line “May the hair on his toes never fall out!”

    I have not found Gandolf to be curt…I feel like he definitely has a plan and is “guiding” the dwarves and Bilbo…I like how he disappears and comes back to save them from the Trolls!!

    The God/Gandolf/Bilbo/Human correlation totally makes sense to me. It’s always in the back of my head now!!!

    I am surprised at how much I am enjoying the book so far! I can’t wait for the movie!

    Off to read some more!!!

  15. This has been a good read so far! I, too, have been comparing myself to Bilbo. He’s a little more OCD than me, but I’m right there with him in wanting to stay home with a nice fire and tea, eating cakes.

    I didn’t catch on to Gandalf being gruff or short, but then again, I don’t have another Gandalf to compare him to since this is my first real exposure to him. So far, he seems like a well-respected leader of the group. The dwarves were all so quick to believe that Bilbo was truly an expert burglar, just because Gandalf said he was. He must have done many great things in the past to create that kind of trust in the hobbits and dwarves (and probably many others). They obviously look to him for guidance, too, because the moment they needed to find a place to eat and sleep, they realized Gandalf was gone (and nearly ended their adventure prematurely without him).

    One other thing I’ve noticed is Tolkien’s comments about how loud and blunderous humans are, like in the second chapter he writes, “But at any rate hobbits can move quietly in woods, absolutely quietly. They take a pride in it, and Bilbo had sniffed more than once at what he called ‘all this dwarvish racket,’ as they went along, though I don’t suppose you or I would have noticed anything at all on a windy night, not if the whole cavalcade had passed two feet off.” Makes me wonder what he thought of the world and the people in it.

    • It will be interesting for you to either read or watch the LOTR trilogy once you have finished this to see how they are different. I need to re-watch them (probably once we’re done).

  16. Loving it so far! When all of the guests started showing up I certainly sympathized with Bilbo (how in the world to feed all these people?) and I thought it was funny, in a way, how he just took off after the rest of the party without any supplies. I’m interested to see how Bilbo changes over the course of the book. He’s starting out so naive, so unsure of how the world works. But I’m glad he has a voice and he isn’t afraid to use it. When he demanded that he be told, plain and simple, what was going on I was so relieved. Up until then my head was spinning right along with his!

  17. I have a confession to make – I’ve never seen any of the LOTR movies, and I barely remember reading the Hobbit back in fourth grade, so I’m flying blind here. I am very much a little hobbit, what with the cozy little hobbit holes, and the tea + cakes. I’m excited for the next batch of reading, because it seems like we’ve just scratched the surface with the adventures that are coming.

  18. I can definitely understand Bilbo’s fretting about so many unexpected visitors :D

    I’ve read this before but I had forgotten how immediately Tolkien lets you know this is a long-existing world with a rich history. He gives hints about adventures from long ago that seem as interesting as the tale he’s telling in this book.

    In reading LOTR, I had a tendency to skip the songs and poetry; it just wasn’t for me. But here, I’m finding that I read them and give it as much attention as anything else.

    The troll scene is fun (and one of the ways LOTR connects with The Hobbit).

    • YES! I’ve been marking places where he incorporates references to adventures long ago (or history) and it makes me want to read The Silmarillion even more.

    How golf was invented.
    Burglar = expert treasure hunter. Gandalf blowing smoke rings through Thorin’s smoke rings.
    The very idea of a dragon staying abreast of current market values, piling up wealth
    and sleeping on it for a bed.
    Funeral expenses defrayed.
    Oh, and “sitting down to a nice little second breakfast in the dining room.” I thought I
    invented that!
    Most inspiring alliterative phrase: Tookishly determined (which I’m personally
    adopting to “go on with things.”)
    BIGGEST HEAD-SCRATCHER I’m sure we ALL agree: how DID Bilbo, who LIVES
    ALONE, have sufficient cakes and eggs and meats AND DISHES for ALL THOSE
    DWARVES! It was like the fishes and the loaves!
    Also, do hobbits EVER have beards?
    Oh, and did anyone wonder what was meant near the beginning when Bilbo “stuck
    one thumb behind his braces?” Shire orthodontics?? .

    • I love everything about this post :) My favorite part about these read-a-longs is that I can dwell on things I would have never thought to dwell on if I were reading solo.

      • Glad you enjoyed my list despite its screwy layout! Not sure what happened there. This is a fun read-along and it’s fun having YOU along! :D

    • I thought you did the layout on purpose! Brilliant, I thought.

      Yes, yes, yes, and yeeeees. Golf! Totally – forgot to mention that! I absolutely think Tookishly determined should be added to the vocabulary of everyone in the read-a-long. Let’s start using it NOW.

      And I absolutely forgot about the braces once I was past it, but probably re-read that line about four times and then decided to pretend it didn’t exist because I couldn’t understand it. Any guesses about that one?

      • HA my brilliant layout! “Mother Hen” Wallace, you make us feel so good about ourselves. <3 Some random words mysteriously got elbowed down to separate lines. I blame Bilbo.

  20. Braces are what Americans call suspenders :)

    I was giggling over how golf was invented, too!

    I imagine all that food and crockery goes to show just how nest-y and home-loving Bilbo is. As an honorary Hobbit (and Costco shopper, and magpie!) I had a glimmer of recognition. When all the dwarves arrived it actually reminded me of Thanksgiving at my house!

    (I think Hobbits may only have beards on their feet!)

  21. I, too, am enjoying this read! I have stayed away from reading it because I was sure that I wouldn’t like all the fuss about trolls, dwarves, hobbits and wizards. However, I am finding that I am very charmed by this book.

    My husband has read “The Hobbit” to our children, so they are very excited for me to read it too. My husband and children have read the LOTR series, but I haven’t read those either. Maybe after reading “The Hobbit” I will understand all of those Halloween costumes I made over the years!

    For those of you that have read “The Hobbit” and LOTR series, you may be interested in “Unfinished Tales” by Tolkien and his son.

    I do enjoy all of the similarities between Bilbo and humans. Tolkien must have had a great sense of humor and adventure!

    • I love this, and am so glad you are reading with us. It will be fun for you to see which characters your children picked over the years and see what that tells you about them!

    • Unfinished Tales should really be preferably read after The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion. All of the stories in UT are understood better in connection to these.

  22. I can relate to Bilbo hobbitness (is that a word?) in the sense that when the adventure is going well I am happy to be apart, however, in the quiet times, or the times of struggle, I want nothing more then to be safely at home. A grand adventure always seems like a good idea up until the point when you are running low on food, everyone is grumpy, and a troll is talking of turning you companions into jam.

  23. I don’t think this Gandalf is as gruff as he is in LOTR. Probably because he knows what is at hand so he doesn’t feel like he has the time for the levity.

    I am definitely a hobbit, except for the manners part. I would certainly not be as nice as Bilbo is, letting those strange dwarves into his hole. Unless Thorin actually was Richard Armitage. I mentioned to someone else, but Bilbo comes off rather like a society lady. Worried about treating guests well, feeding them, being polite and proper, down to that handkerchief.

    • It’s funny I thought the opposite about Gandalf in The Hobbit compared to LOTR. I find that he is more gruff in the latter than LOTR. I thought it was because he knew the gravity of the task he had set for Frodo so he didn’t want to add more pain to his plate. He was always gruff with Pippin and Merry, but I would call him tender to Frodo. Perhaps this is because he is not as close to Bilbo at this time in the story and also the task is a little more frivolous in the sense that they are not saving the world as they know it, just one small piece.

  24. A recent discovery…apparently, out of the 13 dwarves 8 of their names have been lifted out of The Volsung….Scandanavian mythology….a huge influence on Tolkien’s world and made-up languges.

  25. Although I’ve read The Hobbit more times than I can count, picturing the look on Bilbo’s face when all the dwarves arrive at his home never fails to amuse me. Can you imagine THAT many unexpected guests? Poor Bilbo.

    I do agree that Gandalf in the LOTR movies seems kinder and more gentle than Gandalf in the books, but he has his moments! At the beginning of the first movie, when he convinces Bilbo to leave the ring to Frodo, he speaks rather harshly to ensure that Bilbo does not keep the ring. And later, when the group is in Moria, Pippin knocks something down a huge well, making a loud noise that advertises their location; Gandalf calls him “fool of a Took” and tells him to throw himself in next time to rid them of his stupidity (I can’t type that without laughing). I think that the movies just focus a bit more on Gandalf’s helpfulness and wisdom, rather than on his rougher traits, but maybe people who saw the movies before reading the books see it differently. I’m not sure how much my fore-knowledge of Gandalf’s personality changed my perception of him in the films.

    On the topic of movies: I LOVE the song the dwarves sing (the one that awakens Bilbo’s adventuresome spirit) and hearing it in the trailer for the Hobbit gave me chills.

    Lastly, how cute is Bilbo, trying to pick-pocket a troll?

  26. This is my first time reading it, although it has been something that I have wanted to read for some time.

    I liked the scene when Bilbo woke up in the morning only to discover that he needed to clean up after his “little” party and that he just went and did it. If it was me, I would have waited as long as possible to do the clean up…

    Liked the introduction of Gandalf; very unassuming and like he had been around before, even though to us readers, he is a new character. I also liked how the book was introduced and how he described Bilbo’s place. Looking forward to the next section.

  27. Hi Wallace,
    Sorry I didn’t realize we had started, so I am taking a leap and just posting today,last day of the first week. If possible, please sign me up; if not, I will just read along with you and read comments.

    I first read The Hobbit when I was working for the Brooklyn Public Library and loved it. For a while I read it every few years, always in winter — just seems like a winter series. I read it to my children when they were youngish, and I went to see all the movies with one of them who, like me, really loved these books.

    I agree with so much that everyone said, and would only add that I love the language. I so enjoyed the play on the “Good Day” to mean so much more than just hello or goodbye and the mental calisthenics around begging pardon and invitations to adventures. It was wonderful to see the plot so swiftly set up and so much material shared in such a short time. Great writing!

    I am definitely looking forward to this read. Thank you!

  28. I read this book probably 30 years ago and reading it again is bringing back such fond memories. I have read LOTR and Gandalf is always a bit gruff with the Hobbits, although I think a lot of it is just facade. Trying to appear the curmudgeonly old wizard to them…I’m thinking because some Hobbits have a habit of getting into mischief, mostly from lack of better judgement, as we saw Bilbo do when he was investigating the trolls. Thoughts of Peregrine Took in LOTR comes to mind as well. If you’ve seen the films, you’ll remember Gandalf getting rather stern with him more than once.

    I agree with you. I feel like a Hobbit too. They’re all about the no-hassle of things, at least in Bilbo’s case, and I’m all about the less hassle, the better.

    Um, is that Leonard Nimoy? Absolutely hilarious!

    Thanks so much again for hosting this read-a-long! I had planned on reading it again before the movie, but so much the better to read it with others. :)

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