I've lost count of the number of times I've read The Hobbit over the years, it was the book that started my love of all things fantasy and it was always a go to book that I could read again and again as I was growing up. It must have been at least 5 years since I last read it though so I wanted to pick it up again before going to see the movie. It doesn't matter how many times I pick it up I still love it as much as the first and it always surprises me how many little details I forget between readings.
I know that most people have already read the story but if you're one of the few who haven't then I'd highly recommend it. It's a great story for adults but I also think it makes fantastic bed time reading with children because it's such a fun adventure story. There is a reason it's considered a classic! The last thing Bilbo Baggins is looking for is an adventure, he is quite happy living in his hobbit hole enjoying plenty of food and good company when he wants it (which is not too often thank you very much). When Gandalf arrives with a party of thirteen dwarves Bilbo is convinced they have come to the wrong person for help but the more he learns about their quest to re-claim their lands from the dragon who stole them the more curious he becomes and in the end he can't resist joining them.
Bilbo is the least likely of heroes, he doesn't consider himself particularly brave or smart and he has practically no experience of travelling or fighting, but when it comes down to it the dwarves wouldn't have got very far without him. I always enjoy seeing Bilbo reach is full potential, he goes on a journey of personal discovery and proves to everyone just what a strong character he is. The story isn't as dark or scary as the Lord of the Rings books are and is suitable for a younger audience but it is still quite scary in places and the scenes with Gollum are particularly creepy. I love the riddle contest between Bilbo and Gollum but have to admit that I'd be hopeless at figuring out the answers myself if I was in Bilbo's place! The Hobbit is such an enjoyable story and a great introduction to the Lord of the Rings books, I really think I'm going to have to re-read those this year too!