Suggestions For Further Reading
|~ The LoTR Appendices ~|
|If you have just finished Return of The King, savour the moment and then look at the Appendices. It is not necessary to read them all, or to start at Appendix A, part I (i). It is probably best to begin with Appendix A, part I (v) - Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen - and choose whichever bit of Appendix A next takes your fancy; you will either decide to ignore (i)-(iv) or re-read them until you have a clear picture of the characters and peoples.|
Appendix B (the Tale of Years) is a useful introduction to The Silmarillion, and to the wealth of history and legend that lies behind The Lord of The Rings.
Appendices C-F will either grab your scholarly instincts or leave you cold. The further you delve into Middle-earth, the more essential the Appendices become.
|~ The Hobbit ~|
|The Hobbit is a children's book, the tale told in the manner of a bedtime story. The 'heroic' atmosphere of LoTR is absent, and it has a more light-hearted tone. It is well written and absorbing. Indeed, had The Hobbit not been such a success there would have been no Lord of The Rings.|
|~ The Silmarillion ~|
|If you want to know more about the origins, characters, wars and other events of Middle-earth, read The Silmarillion. A much shorter book than LoTR, The Silmarillion manages to cover the history of the world from its creation, focussing on the First and Second Ages, and introducing the Third Age up to the War of The Ring. There are many heroic adventures, but it is not the easiest book to read. You will need this Glossary!|
|~ Unfinished Tales of Numenor & Middle-earth ~|
|If your interest has been hooked by The Silmarillion, then Unfinished Tales is your next essential bedtime reading! Even if you have not read The Silmarillion, there are several fascinating "additions" to Appendix A of LoTR, such as how Isildur managed to lose The One Ring, why the Eorlingas were given Calenardhon, the origins of the Wild Men of the Druadan Forest, and how Celeborn & Galadriel came to Lorien (or maybe not ...!)|
|~ Smith of Wootton Major ~|
|Smith of Wootton Major is a delightful short story, not set in Middle-earth. It is nevertheless most illuminating as an expression of Tolkien's vision of Elves and the hidden world of Faery.|
|~ More Middle-earth ~|
|As you are now completely addicted to Middle-earth, there is much more by JRR Tolkien, collated from his drafts by his son, Christopher. The Letters of JRR Tolkien contain a number of valuable explanations and thoughts about the characters and evolution of The Lord of The Rings in particular. And the multi-volume History of Middle-earth (HoME), which starts with the Book of Lost Tales, should keep you happy for years! These works can be dipped into.|
A word of caution, however: if you do not wish to risk possibly spoiling the enthralling vision conveyed in the above, steer clear of the HoME series. Some of the early drafts, though quite remarkable in themselves, are a little rough and unpolished (not to mention confusing due to name and place changes), and at times appear to lose the plot entirely.
More Tolkienology is available, ranging from various editions and collections of his short stories and poems to biographies and guides to his works. Some of the latter are good, some not so good; if unsure, look for recommendations and reviews on the Internet. When buying any books with illustrations consider the hardback editions as their maps are larger, in colour and much clearer than those in the paperbacks. However, copies and alternative versions can be found on the Internet. With all Tolkien books, decide which editions you want by looking in a bookshop with a wide selection, rather than the limited offerings available in smaller shops or the Internet.