Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Revisiting Tolkien's 'Hobbit'

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Revisiting Tolkien's 'Hobbit'

Article excerpt

A great deal of my love for audio books has to do with many happy memories of being read to as a child, and of reading aloud to my own children when they were small. Few things feel more luxurious than having someone read me a story.

Among those childhood memories is that of taking turns around the family dining table, a practically orange-lacquered maple trestle- style table in the Colonial style, reading first "The Hobbit" and later the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I must've been in high school at the time and I'm sure the whole deal was my mother's way of getting the family to sit still for a little while longer at the point at which my younger brothers and I were all about to fly into our separate worlds.

My fondness for that memory of the five of us reading together has kept me from seeing any of the movie versions that have come from Peter Jackson in recent years, and I'm holding to that for the new movie of "The Hobbit."

Recorded Books re-released an unabridged version of "The Hobbit" last fall, doubtless motivated by the release of the film.

This downloadable version is worth the wait, though, as Rob Inglis's masterful narration brings to vivid life all the characters, starting of course with Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit, who is jolted out of his comfortable middle-class existence by the wizard Gandalf and sent on a quest through Middle-Earth to reclaim a treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug.

Bilbo is a reluctant participant in this journey, preferring his comfortable home, a blazing fireplace and a well-stocked larder to leading a band of dwarves through perilous mountains, encountering trolls, goblins, wood-elves, giant spiders and who knows what other threats along the way. …

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