The Hobbit: an unexpected journey, the first film in Peter Jackson's planned trilogy, opens in U.S. theaters today. The film is an adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again. The book's popularity led to Tolkien's trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, which was, in turn, the source of Jackson's first popular Middle-earth trilogy.
Many of you have probably seen all or part of Jackson's film adaptions of The Lord of the Rings, and hopefully you've read the books as well. If you haven't yet, we definitely recommend picking up The Hobbit whether or not you'll be going to the theater this weekend. If you're curious about how the book became the movie, check out this interview where Peter Jackson talks about some of the decisions he made in the process of filming.
If you've already read The Hobbit a dozen times and are looking for something new, we've pulled together a few suggestions for you. Of course, it's easy to argue that most modern fantasy owes a debt to Tolkien's influence, and because this upbeat adventure novel has appeal for readers young and old, we've included titles from the youth, young adult, and adult collections!
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin
A fantasy classic that remains popular with readers from tween to adult. Earthsea is a world dominated by the seas, and where names hold great power. The story follows Ged as he grows in his skills as a wizard from a boyhood as a goatherd to his time as a student in the wizard's school. Much like Bilbo, Ged's journey teaches him to think beyond himself to the larger threats of evil in the world.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met while teaching at Oxford and formed a friendship that shaped their literary careers. Lewis and Tolkien shared a love of mythology, and that love shines through in different ways in each of their writing. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia has adventure, a battle between good and evil, and is popular with younger readers. You can read more about Lewis and Tolkien's friendship here.
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Alexander's Prydain Chronicles have a solid appeal for younger readers, but the suspenseful adventure, the details from Welsh mythology, and a touch of humor hold up well. There's a colorful cast of characters including Taran, assistant pig-keeper, Eilonwy, runaway witch, Doli the dwarf, and, of course, Hen Wen the oracular pig. The heroes find themselves in a battle against evil that spans five books.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert is best known as the creator of the Dune series, which, after his death, was carried on by his son Brian. Though the setting for Dune is vastly different from Tolkien's Middle-earth, Herbert's detailed worldbuilding, epic story, and descriptive language capture a similar appeal. Although younger readers might find be uncomfortable with some of the issues raised, adults older teens who are willing to try science fiction should give this series a try.
More for Tweens
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem
More for Teens
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
The Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Adults should take a look at our Read Alike post for Robert Jordan, which has a mix of modern fantasy authors. You might also enjoy Andrew's review of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I'd like to thank Andrew and Emily for their help with this post!
Did you already attend a midnight showing? Give us your movie review in the comments!
Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!