November 20, 2012

Hobbit Holes, Audiobooks, and Not Enough Posting

Posted in Blogging, Books, England, Favorite Quotes, Just Life at 9:54 pm by catsinboxes

For any Hobbit fan, you should head over to Redeemed Reader’s website.  Right now they’re having a great Hobbit read-along.  I’m hoping to chip in at some point, but up till now my blogging has been, well, lacking.  I did have very good intentions.  I even had drafts, but I hit what must be called “blogger’s block.”  The post simply didn’t please me, and I didn’t want to share it.  So, there went that one.  I was out of town when I attempted that, so if you’re kind, you’ll use that as a good excuse.  And since then?  Well, I have gotten back into everyday life, and life along with work has kept me busy.

Back to The Hobbit.  It has occupied me for quite some time.  Indeed, it has been one reoccurring theme through the past few weeks.  But really, it goes back much farther.  I believe that I first read The Hobbit when I was between 7 and 8 years old.  I remember listening to BBC’s dramatization of The Hobbit, I believe it was on a trip to New Hampshire.  While slightly confusing (Gandalf begins the narrative with Bilbo chipping in with details), I do remember loving it, especially the music of the dwarves.  Then, at some point, the Recorded Books unabridged production of The Hobbit, narrated by Rob Inglis was acquired.  And since then, The Hobbit has been an audiobook staple.  In our family, audiobooks are also a bedtime staple.  (As I write, the iPod is playing faintly downstairs.)  While it’s not necessary for me, audiobooks at bedtime are my equivalent of chicken soup, pure comfort.  And, of all audiobooks, The Hobbit is a continual favorite.  I remember, at some point in junior high or high school deciding that I wanted to go to sleep to The Hobbit.  There is something, in the midst of all life’s busyness, very comforting about the beginning of The Hobbit.  I love the careful details regarding hobbits in general and one particular hobbit and hobbit hole in particular.  I love the humor: “Bungo, that was Bilbo’s father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her (and partly with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across The Water.”  And, as I read the first chapter in conjunction with The Hobbit read-along, I love the capitalization!  It’s a small world indeed when there is simply “The Hill” and “The Water.”  But isn’t it like that in our own little slices of world?  We have “The Woods” and “The Study,” and any number of other very specific words that only those within our family would recognize.  It’s easy to relate to!

Something that I find is helpful when reading The Hobbit, is to realize that it was a bedtime story of sorts.  As such, it seems that Tolkien faced the scrutiny of an audience very close to home:

“Christopher was always much concerned with the consistency of the story and on one occasion … interrupted: ‘Last time, you said Bilbo’s front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on this hood, but you’ve just said that Bilbo’s front door was green, and the tassel on Thorin’s hood was silver’;  at which point Ronald exclaimed ‘Damn the boy!’ and strode across the room to make a note.” (The Tolkien Family Album, Priscilla and John Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992, p. 58.)

I love that quote, and as an occasional bedtime storyteller, I know how easy it is to forget names let alone details!

My thoughts on The Hobbit could continue to flow, but I would like to go and do some reading before bedtime, so I will bring this post to an end.  There will be more posts in the coming weeks, but I will not vouchsafe what Thanksgiving and Christmas will do to my blogging schedule.  I’m being optimistic though, and hoping for the best!

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