The Hobbit Books In Order

And finally you probably also need to learn about J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator as well as The Art of The Hobbit (possibly also the sooner Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien). It’s important to take all these books under consideration because each contributes just a little information, textual or visual, to our collective wisdom about J.R.R. Tolkien’s evolving concept of hobbits.

Along with the reader should understand that his conception DID evolve throughout his life. 1937’s hobbit wasn’t quite the same monster as the hobbit of 1972. You may find a delight in exploring the various areas of Tolkien’s hobbitry-in-print, although the distinctions might be mostly subtle for the average reader.

And when you are REALLY decided to discover everything you possibly can that presents something distinctively hobbity, you need to check out Douglas A. Anderson’s The Annotated Hobbit, which has also been printed in 2 variants (1986 and 2002).

But other “Hobbit” books include The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, The Road Goes Ever On (published in 2 variants in 1967 and 1978), and Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth.

Of course, these aren’t hobbit experience novels. However they contain material that is relevant to the “hobbit” stories in both primary books.

Many people overlook a few “hobbit” books when enumerating how many of these books there really are. And there’s likewise the Lord of the Rings — which was published in two variants (1954-5 and 1965) during Tolkien’s lifetime, but also in at least 2 substantial revisions after his departure.

So that’s a quick rundown of how many “hobbit books” you will find — although some folks may not want to include all the peripheral novels in an authoritative list of hobbit books. At least you have a list to start peeling down (or adding to — maybe I missed one or two related hobbit books).

The most obvious sequence in which to read the books is probably to follow that where the books were published. This is :

  • The Hobbit
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Tales from the Perilous Realm [mainly short stories with only nominal Middle-earth content]
  • The Silmarillion
  • Unfinished Tales
  • The History of Middle-earth series
  • The Children of Húrin
  • The Fall of Arthur
  • Beowulf

If you wish to read Tolkien’s Middle-earth works approximately in the order they were written, then this is a very rough guide:

  • The Book of Lost Tales [volumes 1 & 2]
  • The Lays of Beleriand
  • The Shaping of Middle-earth
  • The Lost Road
  • The Hobbit
  • The Return of the Shadow
  • The Treason of Isengard
  • The War of the Ring
  • Sauron Defeated [first part]
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth [first part]
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • The Notion Club Papers
  • Unfinished Tales
  • The Children of Húrin
  • Morgoth’s Ring
  • The War of the Jewels
  • The Silmarillion
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth [last part]