hey! i've been looking to get into lotr, but i just wanted to know a few things before diving in! Do you find it a hard or slow read? What are all the books I should read to get the full experience? And at what age did you read them?
Hey! :) I’m so glad you want to start reading Tolkien’s books. It’s an excellent decision. (I mean, there’ll be a lot tears, frustration, tears, taking pages and pages of notes at first because of the complexity of his lore and family trees, and tears. But still, a wonderful decision.)
I’ve read The Lord of the Rings when I was eleven, and the rest of the books followed. This is the order in which I’ve read Tolkien’s books: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-Earth, The Children of Húrin, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. I’m not saying this is the “correct” order or anything (there’s no such thing) but it worked out well for me. Don’t ask for a “chronological order” or anything, because in many of these books, the Ages and timelines overlap so there’s no way to establish a 100% accurate chronological order.
A lot of people find Tolkien’s language quite difficult to read at first. But I’ve always found that the real challenge was keeping all the names straight and remembering all the complex lore he wrote. Is his language more formal and old-fashioned than most books we read today? Yes. But honestly, his stories are so captivating that I quickly got over the initial frustration about the language. It’s purely up to the reader. I know a few people who got turned off by the language and stopped reading Tolkien, but most readers agree with me about this.
What are all the books you should read to get the full experience? I would say all of them, but The Adventures of Tom Bombadil especially is kind of debatable.
Now I’m going to give you an extensive review for each book. You can’t tell by my blog since I mostly post gifs here, but in real life, when someone asks me a Tolkien question, I can’t stop talking for hours. I physically can’t stop. You asked for this.