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Recommended Read: Small Person Does Great Things in Big, Tall World

By Aaron Lucier
Guardian Guest

Two in a series highlighting the books our contributing and guest writers most enjoyed reading in 2014.

Cover of "The Hobbit," 1937 George Allen & Unwin; First Impression original dust jacket, First UK Edition.

Cover of “The Hobbit,” 1937 George Allen & Unwin; First Impression original dust jacket, First UK Edition.

As the final film of the mega-movie trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, hits theaters this holiday season, I encourage people to read the book to gain more insight into the films and to compare the wonderful storytelling of author J.R.R. Tolkien to director Peter Jackson’s pretty-good storytelling.

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One 1970s summer, my father read The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, to me every night at bedtime and the world of fantasy literature opened up to me. The story of a small person who goes onto do great things in a world of taller, bigger and more experienced people (and dragons) is an inspiring one, especially for a young reader.

If you have never read Tolkien, this book is a great introduction. It provides first glances of characters and places that appear in the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s trilogy sequel to The Hobbit. Tolkien describes his fantasy world of Middle Earth in such vibrant detail that it is easy for the reader to clearly imagine people and places. If it isn’t too late, reading the book before seeing the films will allow the reader to compare their own visions of settings and characters to Jackson’s — a task that becomes much more challenging to the new reader who has seen the movie and comes with Jackson’s images already in place.

This is an excellent gift choice for a fan of either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings films, as the books truly transport you to Middle Earth either for the first time, or again.

Aaron Lucier is the Director of Housing Operations at East Carolina University and a fan of fantasy since that 1970s summer. 

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