What Would Bilbo Baggins Read?

Bilbo Baggins, the lead character in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic book may hate broken plates, but he definitely loves books. Here's what I would recommend if Bilbo ever came to my library looking for a stack.

The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again

Hobbits are famous for their love of meals--plenty and often--so Bilbo would definitely appreciate a new cookbook.

Bringing It Home

Top Chef judge Gail Simmons spotlights straightforward recipes from around the world, including plenty of party-fare. I think that food-enthusiast hobbits like Bilbo would enjoy griddlecakes with bumbleberries, and chocolate banoffee pie--I know I would!

Bilbo liked reading about adventures before he went haring after treasure with Gandolf and the dwarves, and I'm sure he would enjoy reading about these real-world adventures after returning safely home again.  

Make the Most of your Time on Earth

This book covers adventure opportunities all over the world. From messing about in boats on the River Cam (England) to dancing with carnival devils in Oruro (Bolivia) to walking with wombats at "The Prom" national park (Australia), illustrated with colorful photos that will satisfy any traveler--armchair or otherwise.

Had he known more about dragons before leaving the Shire, Bilbo would probably never have gone--even if he'd had stacks of handkerchiefs in his pockets. If only he had read this book!

A Wizard of Earthsea

Better yet: Bilbo should listen to it, read by the incomparable Rob Inglis (who, not incidentally, also narrates the very best audio version of The Hobbit). The audiobook is available on CD's and as a downloadable eAudio.

When speaking of dragons, the only thing better than stories are poems--and Jack Prelutsky's poems about dragons are top-notch. 

The Dragons Are Singing Tonight

From scary to silly and back again, the pictures beg to be shared and the verses demand a live audience--an excellent choice for recitations at parties.

I always like to include a "wildcard" recommendation: something that the reader doesn't expect to want or need. Here's my wildcard for Bilbo Baggins:

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

Bilbo was clever enough to outwit Gollum and win possession of the magic ring (and avoid being eaten), but even he could use a little practice with brain teasers and puzzles to build problem-solving skills. I would love to see how Bilbo would answer the offbeat challenge "design an emergency evacuation plan for Lake-town."

What else would you suggest for Bilbo Baggin's book bag?  Please leave a note in the comment box!  

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