The Read The Hobbit Challenge: Advice from our official Hobbit expert

This month we’ve challenged ourselves to Read The Hobbit. We asked Jason (@J_Pratt15), our in-house Hobbit expert, to give us a bit of advice on reading this beloved classic…

Take it away, Jason!

Not only was I surprised at how many people in the HarperCollins Canada office hadn’t read The Hobbit, I was disappointed. I mean, you could see the shame in their eyes as they admitted it. Even they knew it was wrong! I won’t lie, I came right out and called them book snobs. Then just snobs about The Hobbit. Then I just shortened it (my specialty, ask around) to Snobbits. My co-workers were Snobbits and I’m glad that they are now doing something about it.

The Hobbit holds a special place in my heart. I was 5 years old when my mom first read it to me. By the age of 12 I had probably read it (and the Lord of the Rings series) 20 times. There is just something special within those pages, something that sets this book apart from all the others. Everyone should experience this book; it is a piece of history. A classic in the most literal sense of the word: timeless.

I am thrilled to be the in-house Hobbit expert, guide, and woo-boy (man) (Woo The Hobbit!). I hope everyone enjoys it and savours every word.

Here are my tips for all new Hobbit readers:

– Go into the book open-minded. Don’t make assumptions before having read the first sentence, which just ruins everything. Yeah there are Dwarves. Yeah there are Elves. Get over it. They are badass (can I say this Shannon?). (Editor’s note: Sorry if Jason’s language offends anyone. -sp)

– Don’t skip the songs. When I was younger I made the mistake of skipping over the songs. I was missing out. Not only do they complement the mood of the novel, they tell a history. If you’re a fan of Tolkien you already know that he wrote thousands of pages of history about this world he created, literally thousands. It’s the attention to detail that make these books epic.

– This book is written by a master storyteller, who is the envy of all other master storytellers. Don’t skim, savour. Read every sentence with focus and you will be rewarded.

– I know most of you probably do this with all books you read, but put your imagination to work. Forget how the Lord of the Rings movies depicted the books, create your own interpretation. Based on Tolkien’s descriptions, how do you think Middle Earth and all of its characters looks, feels, and smells?

– Try to get into the minds of each individual character. Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, Smaug, Bard, and even Gollum are all so different, but equally as interesting. This is the first book I ever cried reading (I was 6) and it’s because of the characters.

– Don’t trust anyone in the book. Oh the deceit that lies within Middle Earth. Oh the deceit! Oh, and don’t trust anyone’s opinion who haven’t read the book. In fact, if you have friends who haven’t read the book pester them to read it until they can’t take it anymore and create a read The Hobbit month where you act as in-house Hobbit expert…

That’s all I have for now. I really hope everyone enjoys The Hobbit as much as I do. I will be around all month to answer any questions or for explanations. Happy Reading!

Follow me on twitter @J_Pratt15

Follow along with us here on the Savvy Reader with the hashtag #ReadTheHobbit

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