Book Review: Bilbo’s Last Song

Bilbo's Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo’s Last Song
by J.R.R. TolkienPauline Baynes (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars

As Bilbo sets off on his last journey from Rivendell to the shores of the sea, he sings this last poem as his farewell to MiddleEarth before boarding a ship that will take him to Valinor with Gandalf, Frodo, and Elrond. The poem itself is not very long, with one stanza on each page.

This book is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous settings that show Bilbo on his way to Valinor. The illustrations begin with Bilbo at Rivendell. He talks with Elrond about making the last trip, and they make plans for travelling. Bilbo and the company of Elves pass through the Shire, where Frodo and Sam join them. They reach the harbor where Cirdan the shipwright is waiting to greet them. They say goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin. The final illustration shows Bilbo reaching the shores of Valinor.

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Book Review: A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 
by Joseph Loconte

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the effect that WWI had on two of my favorite authors, how their experiences translated into the stories they wrote, and how their faith in God was strengthened and established despite the horrors of war.

This is heartbreaking to read, because it gives such detailed personal accounts of the war, the suffering and fear they went through, and the terrible losses of friends and family. But it is also wonderfully interesting to learn about the history of that time, and the misguided Utopian philosophies that were shattered by the war.

I was impressed with the scholarly yet accessible writing style, and the way in which the historical and personal information was organized and presented in each chapter. This clearly explained how Tolkien’s and Lewis’ personal experiences were entwined in the larger story of the war, and the popular philosophies and political thinking of the time.