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Archer's Asylum

I'm a big bloke (7ft tall) and I am forever reading. This will mostly be my thoughts as I am reading and possibly a review or two. You may know me as Archer.


I am basically a lurker. My life revolves around my wife, my cats, Books, and entertainment.


I'm working on building and setting up a forge and I'm generally one of those people who can be found causing or in the middle of mischief somewhere...

The Hobbit (part 1 and 2)

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien Well hello my fellow book worms.I have been remiss in my reviewing of late and for that I apologise. I could bury you with excuses but I find that honesty has always been the best policy for this kind of crap.I lost my passion for it in the latter half of 2012. I didn’t want to write. Yes, most of you can guess the reasons why, but then I realised that I wasn’t changing anything by letting it get on top of me so I retreated into the novel that got me through a lot of my childhood. I hid in the adventures of one Bilbo Baggins. I wandered with Thorin Oakenshield… I became absorbed into The Hobbit.With the film (Don’t even get me started on Peter Jackson fucking that up) I know it has been a popular re-read but one thing that I feel a lot of people miss out on when they talk about this book is the tone of it. The Hobbit is, first and foremost, a children’s book. It’s a bed time novel to be read to children. It is not a deep, heavy fantasy like it’s successor, The Lord of The Rings. Its tone is far more informal, almost jovial. Which just draws the reader into Bilbo’s tale much quicker than the opening of LoTR.The writing is what would now be largely considered cliché fantasy… But that's just because Tolkien is the origin of the cliché. So here it works, because it isn’t trying to be something other than what it is. It’s a children’s fantasy, and it works. We are introduced to many of the most enduring and greatest fantasy character archetypes of all time in these pages and it warms the cockles of my heart (I know you’re sniggering… I am too… Cockle hehehehe).For me the highlight of this novel though, isn’t the writing though. It isn’t even the story, which, is fairly average if I’m honest. It’s the comforting nostalgia for rainy childhood days it conjures in my mind. This is the novel I turn to when I want to feel better. I don’t know why, but it is. I find the tone comforting.Yes this is a three star review, but for me it holds that rating not for any technical achievement. I’m not mawkish when it comes to Tolkien. Yes he is the grand daddy of all fantasy but I do not believe, as many do, that he is the tippy top of mount escapism. When it comes right down to brass tacks, I find the majority of Tolkiens writings, whilst enjoyable to my taste, to be heavy, dense and hard to be absorbed by.The Hobbit, in my opinion, is his greatest achievement because whilst it spawns his best known and most regarded work, it deals with its story with a sense of almost whimsy, which is refreshing even after all this time. More people need to read this book and enjoy it because of its own merits, not because it is the baby brother of the epic that everyone knows.Seriously, next time it’s a cold grey day for you, grab a copy, curl up under a blanket on the sofa/chair by the window/lamp/fire and make yourself your hot beverage of choice (Hot chocolate with tonnes of marshmallow peeps… what? It’s a kids book, be a child goddammit!) and just wile away the day in this story. I promise, it’s one of the better ways to spend a miserable, cold, wintery day.Happy reading,Archer