A merrier world: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
The Hobbit isn’t as good a book as The Lord of the Rings. It’s a children’s book, for one thing, and it talks down to the reader. It’s not quite set in Middle Earth—or if it is, then it isn’t quite set in the Third Age. It isn’t pegged down to history and geography the way The Lord of the Rings is. Most of all, it’s a first work by an immature writer; journeyman work and not the masterpiece he would later produce. But it’s still an excellent book. After all, it’s not much of a complaint to say that something isn’t as good as the best book in the world.
If you are fortunate enough to share a house with a bright six year old, or a seven or eight year old who still likes bedtime stories, I strongly recommend reading them a chapter of The Hobbit aloud every night before bed. It reads aloud brilliantly, and when you do this it’s quite clear that Tolkien intended it that way. I’ve read not only The Hobbit but The Lord of the Rings aloud twice, and had it read to me once. The sentences form the rhythms of speech, the pauses are in the right place, they fall well on the ear. This isn’t the case with a lot of books, even books I like. Many books were made to be read silently and fast. The other advantage of reading it aloud is that it allows you to read it even after you have it memorised and normal reading is difficult. It will also have the advantage that the child will encounter this early, so they won’t get the pap first and think that’s normal.
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News Flash! Angry Robot Invades North America with Infernal Devices
I’ve been watching from afar as Angry Robot has published some great fiction in the British Commonwealth. Now, the Angry Robot imprint is invading North America, and I’m delighted to be among the first to welcome them to our shores–as well as provide an exclusive showcase for two amazing covers by John Coulthart for their 2011 reprints of K.W. Jeter’s classic novels.
How does Angry Robot’s publisher, Marc Gascoigne, describe the imprint? “It’s post-YA,” for those of the Twilight and Harry Potter generation ready to graduate to more grown-up fare. An impressive eighteen new titles will be released in the U.S. between now and November. We’ll be turnign the spotlight on several of them in the months to come, but for now, here’s a quick look at the first six…
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Have Questions for Scott Westerfeld? Let Us Know!
Tor.com is going to sit down with Scott Westerfeld next week to talk about—well, whatever you want! I probably won’t be able to stop myself from gong on about his upcoming book Behemoth, sequel to last year’s Leviathan, but you Midnighters and Peeps and Uglies fans and aspiring writers and steampunk types and Team Zombie and everyone else should chime in, too!
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