30 DoB, Day 30: Favorite Book

Well, here we are, the final question in the 30 Days of Books list. It is, of course:

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

However can you choose such a thing? Certainly along the course of this exercise I’ve hit upon a few that would be very strong contenders:

  • The Illearth War by Stephen R. Donaldson
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Not a bad list at all, actually looking at it. But I think I will choose the book that shaped the reader (and viewer) I am today: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Compared to its cousin The Lord of the Rings, I find The Hobbit to be more personal, less epic. The story of Bilbo as he is unwittingly drawn into the dwarves’ quest and almost despite himself survives many harrowing adventures is known, of course, to all nerds and nerds-ascendant. What I like most is how Bilbo learns throughout his travails and becomes a lot more canny than the simple hobbit he was when he started out.  This theme, of course, is echoed by the four hobbits at the center of LotR.

Is LotR better? Maybe. Probably. But The Hobbit got there first and I loved it first. I rooted for Bilbo, thought about what it would be like to wield Sting (the sword, not the singer), cringed at coming across Gollum in a dark cave, and dreamt of shooting a black arrow into the heart of a dragon.  For those things — and for all the doors that reading The Hobbit opened up, I have to say it’s my favorite.

Thanks for coming along on this 30 Days (which actually took about 155 days, but who’s counting?) — I’ve really enjoyed all the feedback and opinions.


21 thoughts on “30 DoB, Day 30: Favorite Book

  1. This has got to be the longest 30 days of anything, but I enjoyed your comments and insight into all these books. I may even be tempted to read a few of a slightly different genre than I usually go for. (By the way, I also LOVED The Hobbit, and it is because if it that LoTR never quite seems that good to me).

  2. This is a surprise, and yet, now that I think about it, not—there is something rather Hobbit-ish about you, Steve. The love of food and drink, the love of home and hearth, the prudence and cleverness in the face of adversity: it wouldn’t surprise me if you had you furry feet, lol!

    But I enjoyed this particular journey and am sorry it is over, even if it was longer than expected. “Roads go ever ever on…yet feet that wandering have gone/ Turn at last to home afar.”

    • HG — in some way, I answered this question as “Book I’m Most Fond Of” — because I think given mood or time of day I’d probably choose any of the ones listed there in addition to about a half dozen others. Having seen the list, I’d been pondering this question for a while and vacillated between several choices, but this is the one that seemed the most “right” to me out of all the choices that I could come up with.

  3. I’m glad you stuck with this theme. I felt like I got to know you rather intimately (one’s taste in books and music gives a lot away), and now have a nice list of titles that I can chomp on all year. Oh, and I’d also love to wield Sting (the crooner, though–sigh!).

  4. loved the Hobbit. I was so angry when I was in 7th grade and picked up LotR. I was thinking, “who is this Frodo, I want Bilbo!” I put the books down and didn’t read them till I was in 8th grade.

    My fave might be Watership Down.

  5. Aw, I’m kind of sad your part in the book series is ending! I had a great time reading the posts. Hobbit: never read it, had it recommended to me by a zillion friends. I’ll have to check it out, finally.

    • Emmy — you should definitely check out The Hobbit, if for no other reason than historical value! It’s spawned so much! :)

      And don’t worry, now that this is done, I can start working on a huge stack of new book reviews that I’ve been putting off! :)

  6. “The Hobbit” is wonderful!! My mom read it aloud to me when I was 7 or 8 years old and I still remember having dreams about the Great Goblin and the Mirkwood Elves. To this day, when I’m feeling tired or forlorn, Bilbo’s wish of, “I wish I was back home… with the kettle just beginning to sing!” never fails to pop into my head, and then I have to chuckle at my own nerdiness.

    • GB — what a great experience to have your folks read you that! What an awesome bedtime story! :) And we could do a lot worse than take our cues from the Baggins family.. ;)

    • Tinkerbelle — very nearly my favorite choice, though I read it much later in life than most people, so it hasn’t had the years of influence of books like The Hobbit.

  7. I’ve never read “The Hobbit” – maybe I’ll give it a try. My favorites right now “Blessings” by Anna Quindlen, “The Root Cellar” and the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. I thought “We were the Mulvaneys” was beautifully written, but left me feeling so sad.

  8. Pingback: [ Best and Worst ] Where Our Hearts Lie « thecanaryreview

  9. Have I not been paying attention to your blog? I don’t think I’ve been paying enough attention to your blog. I’m sorry. So I’ll start back here in June, when I also was doing one of these fun Meme thingies, and throw down a few comments.

    The Hobbit is special because my dad read it to me when I was a kid. I was already a big reader, but didn’t yet distinguish the fantasy genre; the only two genres of books were the ones I liked and the ones I didn’t. The Hobbit jumped way beyond that, immersing me completely in another world. It made a huge impression on me. It has, however, been a long time since I’ve read it. Pretty sure I did reread it on my own, but that must have been over ten years ago! I should reread it before the movies come out…

    • My blog and I are always happy for a visit! :) I’ve thought about re-reading The Hobbit again, though it was funny when I re-read LOTR, there were parts that I loved more than I remembered, and parts that I was like “I could do without this”

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