Reviews by Evelyn C. Leeper

Reviews by Evelyn C. Leeper

All reviews copyright 1984-2016 Evelyn C. Leeper.


THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkien, with annotations by Douglas A. Anderson:

[From "This Week's Reading", MT VOID, 09/16/2016]

THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkien, with annotations by Douglas A. Anderson (ISBN 978-0-618-13470-0) got very good reviews, and I generally like annotated editions of classics. However, the majority of the annotations for this are noting the differences between the 1937 and 1951 editions, which are usually minor changes in phrasing. A lot of the remainder are philological in nature, indicating the sources (Scandinavian, Old English, and so on) for many of the words and names. Very few seem to be about the actual content--the origins of the Ring, or the number of White Wizards in Middle Earth.

It does include an assortment of illustrations from various editions of THE HOBBIT, although many that were in color in them are rendered in black-and-white here. (There are a few color plates.)

And the layout of the annotations is less than ideal. As I have noted in comments on other annotated books, there are two ways of solving the "runaway annotation problem" (the annotation is so long it continues onto the next page) when doing annotations as a separate column in the margins (rather than as footnotes).

The first is to let the columns run independently of each other, which can result in (for example) the annotation for text on page 20 not appearing until page 23. The only rule here is that annotations do not start *before* the text they annotate. The second is to halt the text until the long annotation finishes, if necessary having two annotation columns and no text column on a page. This happens of necessity at the end of the chapter anyway, and is much easier to follow when one is reading, so I prefer this. However, THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT uses the first method.

If you're interested in textual minutiae, you might like this, but most readers will find the annotations of little use.

To order The Annotated Hobbit from amazon.com, click here.


SMITH OF WOOTON MAJOR & FARMER GILES OF HAM by J. R. R. Tolkien:

[From "This Week's Reading", MT VOID, 07/23/2004]

When I bought J. R. R. Tolkien's SMITH OF WOOTON MAJOR & FARMER GILES OF HAM (ISBN 0-345-27351-6 and ISBN 0-618-00936-1) it was one mass-market paperback; now they are two trade paperbacks. Back then, the appeal was that these were the only other works available by Tolkien other than THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Now, the appeal is more that these are about the only other works published under Tolkien's name that are primarily his work (other than THE SILMARILLION). They are enjoyable enough children's fables (albeit with a bite), but not necessarily better than a lot of similar works. I guess I'm saying that if you pick these up expecting another "Lord of the Rings" experience, you will probably be disappointed.

To order Smith of Wooton Major from amazon.com, click here.

To order Farmer Giles of Ham from amazon.com, click here.


THE HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkien:

[From "This Week's Reading", MT VOID, 12/28/2012]

Of course, everyone seems to have it in for rich people. Even J. R. R. Tolkien, in THE HOBBIT (ISBN 978-0-618-15083-3) says of Smaug's rage that it was "the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted."

To order The Hobbit from amazon.com, click here.


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