Ola! So I got The Annotated Hobbit Revised and Expanded Edition for Christmas this year. I have a yellowed paperback copy that my dear mother bought for me in high school, but I wanted to get an updated and leveled-up version of the book this year. There are so many beautiful editions out there but this particular one stood out because it’s annotated by the Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson, and it’s not just some annotated version – it’s THE annotated version to get.
Today, I’m sharing with all Tolkien and/or book fans (aren’t all Tolkien fans book fans though?) some notable portions of the book as well as a recommendation of whether or not you should get it, or if this book is for you.
Price tag not yet removed because removing properly pasted tags is a definite pain in the ass.
The dust jacket is classy, sophisticated and pretty thoroughly designed.
Isn’t that shade of yellow gorgeous?
This is the hardcover spine. Classy.
And now on to the details…
A wonderful portrait of J.R.R. Tolkien across the title page. I love the dwarven runes as details. It looks gorgeous. I’ll check what they mean later.
The book’s introduction is a pretty thorough biography of J.R.R. Tolkien’s life which includes pictures, such as the one above of his family. It provides a great insight to the background of the man who created Middle-earth and all those wonderful characters from that world.
History of The Hobbit – how it came to be and positive critical reception when it first came out in 1937.
The first page of The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again. As you can see, the book is arranged neatly in two columns. The outer columns contain the annotations which are pretty thorough. They’re not your usual annotations/footnotes. These are really detailed explanations of parts of a book from a real gentleman and scholar.
As you can see, the opening line “In a hole in a ground there lived a hobbit.”, has an annotation that is far longer than the sentence. It’s thorough like you wouldn’t believe.
Another example page of annotations. One thing this book doesn’t lack is drawings! Drawings everywhere! There are illustrations of The Hobbit characters from all of the world – some of them pretty hilarious as they don’t resemble Tolkien’s versions of what his characters look like at all. Regardless though, all of them are charming.
One of my favorite parts of the book are in the three photos below. Colored drawings and scanned papers of wonderful Middle-earth settings, maps, and a dust jacket. Most of these are drawn by the Man himself.
This book is absolutely gorgeous and if you like gorgeous books on your shelf, I highly recommend this. The dimensions are 9.3 x 8 x 1.1 inches, and about 2 lbs in shipping weight (as per Amazon), in case you are obsessive about sizes of books like some people I know.
Do I recommend this for Tolkien fans? Definitely. This is the annotated version to get because it’s amazing and awe-inspiring and filled to the brim with information not just about The Hobbit but also about the LOTR trilogy. Douglas A. Anderson is as thorough as he is smart. He’s also a big Tolkien fanboy so our precioussss is perfectly safe in his scholarly hands. If you love Middle-earth, this is a must-have.
Do I recommend this for general readers? I’m not sure! This book is not for everyone – the notes can be overwhelming most especially for people who don’t or don’t want to care. If you just want to read The Hobbit, there are so many other cheaper and simpler editions out there that are just as beautiful (or even far prettier) than this one. I suggest you take a look at different editions first before you decide.
I got this book for Php1,199 at Fullybooked Ayala Center Cebu. This is the last copy from that branch but I know that they can ship copies from other branches if you insist. It’s also available in Amazon for $18.28 or Php750+shipping.