Top Ten Tuesday (13): Top Ten Books Relating to J. R. R. Tolkien

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week is a “freebie” topic, so I am choosing

Top Ten Books Relating to J.R.R. Tolkien

1.  The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview behind The Lord of the Rings by Peter Kreeft: Kreeft understands Tolkien in a way not many authors do.

2. Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien by Paul H. Kocher: This was one of the first books about Tolkien I read, and it has remained a favorite ever since.

3. The History of the Hobbit Part One: Mr. Baggins by John D. Rateliff:  An absolutely enthralling exploration of the making of The Hobbit.  The second part is doubtless as good as the first, though I have not read it yet.

4. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter: A vital book for anyone studying Tolkien.  Read Tolkien’s own explanations of characters, events, and other parts of The Lord of the Rings.

5. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter: There are a decent number of biographies of Tolkien available.  Not all of them are as good as this one.

6. Beowulf by Anonymous: This epic poem, and Anglo-Saxon culture in general, was very influential to Tolkien’s work.

7. Understanding the Lord of the Rings ed. by Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs: A collection of essays on a variety of topics, this is a great introduction to Tolkien criticism.

8. J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion by Richard Purtill:  Read in conjunction with Kreeft’s book.

9. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary by Peter Gilliver, E.S.C. Weiner, Jeremy Marshall: Tolkien loved words.  Find out more by reading this fascinating little book.

10. Unfinished Tales: The Lost Lore of Middle-Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien: A fascinating look at some of the stories of Middle-Earth that never made it to complete publication.

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday (13): Top Ten Books Relating to J. R. R. Tolkien

  1. Mary-Sweet Bookshelf says:

    I’ve not read a single thing from Tolkien. My mom is a huge fan, but I’ve just not read anything. I own Lord of the Rings series, but I haven’t read them. I’ve not even seen the movies because I told myself I need to read the books first. Look how well that worked out for me. I need to pick them up!


  2. Joel says:

    I really enjoyed Bradley J. Birzer’s “J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle Earth”.

    I once bought Kreeft’s book for a friend’s birthday with the full intention of reading it before I gave it to him, but failed. Now he has it, and I can’t read it, and it’s terrible. But I intend to!


    • Briana says:

      I haven’t read that one yet, I shall have to add it to my list!

      Kreeft is amazing! I think Krysta might actually be working on a review of his book.


  3. Hanna @ Booking In Heels says:

    The Freebie Top Ten idea was such a good one – I love all the really specific lists like this one 🙂

    I’m one of those boring people that’s only ever read Lord of the Rings, I’m afraid. I mean, I loved it, but I never really felt the need to move onto his other works. I’m looking forward to The Hobbit, but The Simarillion (sp?) looks far too intimidating!

    The History of the Hobbit book sounds wonderful, I’ve just looked it up. I might keep an eye out for it after I finally get round to reading the novel.

    Have a great week!


    • Briana says:

      I think the main problems people find with The Silmarillion is that there’s a lot going on because it’s more like a mythology collection than a single story and that Tolkien never finished it. So it doesn’t seem to fit together as well as it should. But if you do make it through The Hobbit and want to read more, you should try The Children of Hurin. It’s a single story from The Silmarillion that Tolkien expanded from short story length to book length.


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