The Hobbit Paperback – 29 Aug 2013
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‘The greatest children’s book ever written… Funny, frightening, dense with detail and gloriously vivid, it is the one adventure story every eight-year-old should have.’
Amanda Craig, The Times
‘The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them.’
‘A finely written saga of dwarves and elves, fearsome goblins and trolls… an exciting epic of travel and magical adventure, all working up to a devastating climax.’
From the Inside Flap
The Hobbit is the unforgettable story of Bilbo, a peace-loving hobbit, who embarks on a strange and magical adventure. A timeless classic. Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services - as a burglar - on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's life is never to be the same again. Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J. R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, 'The Hobbit'. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals of fiction.See all Product description
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I have bought a number of hardback and paperback editions of this masterpiece, including a first edition copy (which includes a first impression of the Return of the King). The original edition set aside, this one is easily the best edition of the lot.
Paper quality: High-quality paper, cream-coloured, and relatively fine. The volumes are thinner than previous standard hardback editions.
Dust jacket: The dust-jackets reproduce a design by the author, which eventually wasn't used for the original publication. This was a shame as the design is superb. This is of course a matter of personal taste but in my opinion they are far better than cover illustrations by Alan Lee, John Howe and the likes. My only criticism is about the Harper Collins logo. Ideally, this should have been absent from the book spine, as it detracts a bit from the vintage aspect of the jacket.
Box: Sturdy and thick. The usual stuff. It is a bit cumbersome, but will protect the books well.
Reader's companion: This is the revised edition. If you have read the book at least once already, and want to enjoy the text again as you would savour an exceptional vintage glass, then you should read it again with this volume in hand.
As others have mentioned, the first edition of The Hobbit is not within most folks budget and so I was quite excited to see this offered many years ago. I'm not sure I am going to actual pore over it and check to see what the differences between the first edition and subsequent ones (Rateliff's The History of the Hobbit does that). But just to look at it and page through it is worth the purchase price.
It is a wonderful addition to my bookcase!
This hardcover edition is a single volume print, and l think the description refers to a paperback 3 volume version.
It is frustrating that there are so many versions and yet the reviews are all lumped together on the Amazon website.
Although disappointingly only one volume this is still not bad value for money. Size wise it is slightly easier to handle for reading than the single volume 1991 edition with the Alan Lee illustrations.
However, the print is smaller and some may find it too small to read comfortably, even though the book is attractively presented on white paper pages. There are only the original maps and in-text rune illustrations (some in red print) in this 50th anniversary special edition, ie no additional illustrations. The text has been emended in consultation with Christopher Tolkien to reflect his father's original wishes which were apparently sometimes over-ridden by the publishers!
In summary, might suit if you want a single volume hardcover edition and are not bothered by fairly small print or the lack of additional illustrations.
Otherwise, if looking for something easier to handle and read you may want to go for a 3 volume set, although a new 3 volume hardcover set will probably set you back considerably more than this edition.
Needless to say the book itself is a masterpiece which is well worth reading if you are not daunted by the length of it.
Rather nerdishly, I spent a day or two researching every available Hobbit edition in the UK before buying a new copy to read before watching the movie.
There are three that I would heartily recommend - this one, The Annotated Hobbit, and the hardback version of this one.
In the end, the cheaper price and paperback portability decided it, though I will certainly buy the annotated edition at some point too.
So why this particular edition and not any of the 20+ others?
1) It has been beautifully re-typeset in a very readable font surrounded every few pages by what look like charcoal or pencil sketches by Alan Lee. It's much less cramped than the traditional Plantin setting (though it's not enormous or anything), and the frequent illustrations are highly atmospheric. It's a joy to look at, and a pleasure to read; definitely the most visually elegant of all the editions (tied with the out-of-print David Wyatt woodcut edition).
2) There are also colour plates of illustrations every other chapter or so. All in all, I'd say there are about twenty of these glossy, full-colour pictures, all of which are beautifully done, and again add a lot to the reading experience.
The Hobbit is a wonderful, charming, touching book without any of the above, of course. But if you want to enjoy it in the best possible setting, I'd say this edition takes the biscuit (and the wine and the cheese and the tobacco and the best crockery and the fish supper, etc).
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So then I decided to get the lord of the rings and It sort of