The Annotated Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson I really like this annotated edition of The Hobbit. It's filled with lots of fascinating trivia about Tolkien as an author, about Middle-earth, and about the careful use of language Tolkien was known for. It also has many different illustrations from various editions of The Hobbit, including full-color pages with Tolkien's own illustrations on them.

A couple of the annotations were a bit dry, but I just skipped the ones I wasn't interested in. There are plenty of juicy tidbits in there to fascinate even the casual Tolkien fan, including the fact that Tolkien's son Michael was terrified of spiders, inspiring the giant spider episode in Mirkwood. And for the language/history buffs among us, there are etymologies of words like Arkenstone and warg, a possible reason for a change in the kind of vegetables in Bilbo's larder, and the inspiration for the names of the Dwarves.

Of course, this book contains the full text of both versions of Bilbo's encounter with Gollum in "Riddles in the Dark." It also contains "The Quest of Erebor," Gandalf's own account of how and why he arranged for Bilbo and the Dwarves to have their adventure, as recorded by Frodo Baggins.

This book is not for first-time Hobbit readers or those who just want to get lost in the story, but for those who want to know more about Tolkien or about the writing of the book itself, it's thorough and satisfying.