[Book Review] The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a pinnacle in the fantasy genre, the eponymous book that came before.

I read this book many years ago. It was actually one of my first books when I was first becoming the reading person I am today.

The Hobbit is a fun book, detailing the adventure of Bilbo Baggins as he treks across Middle Earth to burgle for Thorin and his companions. On this journey, Bilbo learns to overcome adversity and makes friends. He makes new discoveries and learns that sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to new adventures.

J.R.R. Tolkien has a way with words and creating worlds, and it shines through in this instalment. The characters are diverse, and despite this novel not being as heavy as it’s successor The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit has a more fun approach to story telling, woven together by Tolkien’s words and songs throughout.

Overall, I enjoyed rereading The Hobbit. It’s immersive and wonder building leads through many alleys of Middle Earth, and is a great read for all readers.

What do you think of The Hobbit? Let me know in the comments!

Our July Book

It’s almost that time of the month again! So, let’s get deciding what book we’ll read for July.
We didn’t receive any suggestions this month, so I hope everyone likes the ones I’ve picked out.

Our choices are:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

He Said/She Said

The Vegetarian 

See What I Have Done

I hope everyone likes the choices this time! I’m excited to once again be reading with all of you!

Reading Teen Fiction

Over the years, I’ve read quite a lot of teen fiction, or young adult fiction and immensely enjoyed it. There are so many gems in the genre, and some amazing writers.

Whilst studying English literature at undergraduate level, I discovered that there was some dissent to even considering teen fiction as literature.

There seems to be a stigma around reading teen fiction, about perhaps the way it is not considered literary enough for it be anything noteworthy. I have personally never understood this concept.

Literary fiction implies that the novel that is published under this name is somehow superior. The Oxford Dictionary describes literary as “Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form.” Quality of form implies that it is a well-written piece, or it is valued for it’s form, and it’s use of language, perhaps over the plot of the writing. This could also be seen as marking ‘literary fiction’ as a superior writing genre, as it is ‘quality of form’. It could could also imply that the person writing in this genre is somehow better than someone working in teen fiction, or even children’s fiction.

I’m curious as to why that is. Is there a certain aspect of teen fiction that doesn’t meet a certain criteria? Is there an element of classism that makes it not literary?

Classism wouldn’t be hard to rule out, if it is viewed as not literary, then that implies a substandard. That only ‘real’ readers will reader literary works, and that the ease of access of teen fiction or the aim at younger reading implies that there can not be a literary concept to teen fiction. The ease of access implies that anyone can read it, whereas if it were considered literary, it could imply that it is inaccessible to ‘normal’ readers.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Your Top 5 Book Recommendations!

We all have our favourite books, but what are your top 5 reading?

What are the top five books you can think of that you always go back to reading?

Mine would be:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (technically it’s one book!)
  2. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  3. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  4. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

All five of these books have influenced me in quite a large way, either growing up or as a person. I always struggle to think of my top five favourite books as they change quite frequently. For example, if you’d asked me maybe ten years ago, Harry Potter would have been on that list, too. And whilst Harry Potter was still an influence part of my reading, it’s not in my top five anymore. Maybe in ten years, my top 5 will have changed again.

What are your top 5 favourite books? Let me know in the comments!

July Book Suggestions!

What book has been gripping you to read? That dark mysterious thriller? That historical autobiography? A superhero story? Romance?

July suggestions is officially open!

Write your suggestion in the comments, and the first five (providing we receive five!) will be placed to a poll for everyone to decide!

Happy reading everyone!

[Book Discussion] Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman details the lives of two sisters as they grow up, from living with their aunts to finding their own lives.

Personally, I enjoyed the novel, it was light and entertaining. It wasn’t entirely what I expected it to be from the description, but was enjoyable.

I liked how the novel played with the ideas of love, betrayal and magic. The novel was really ambiguous in its use of ‘magic’. I felt like I was constantly questioning whether their magic was real, or whether it was just truly bad luck that kept bringing all these misfortunes on these women.

The writing style of the novel was fairly simplistic for the most part, but there was certain parts that stood out. It was written like a storyteller, you were getting all the information from some omniscient narrator who always knew just a little more than the reader and the characters in the novel. Perhaps in a more metaphorical sense, this was the magic speaking.

Hoffman knows how to write about love, or perhaps, knows how to make use of the feelings of love, as this is perhaps the biggest theme of the novel. Love centred everything, love between sisters, love between family and finally love between partners. Hoffman described the frustrations of love between family, and the scorching love between partners. At first it was sightly off putting, but in the end, I did kind of enjoy the overdramatic descriptions of love, particularly between Gillian and Ben Frye.

Overall, I would recommend it to someone, but perhaps only for someone looking for something within a certain genre.

What did you think of Practical Magic? Let me know!