Last year at about this time, some friends and I decided to start a book club for us grownups (as opposed to the book clubs for young readers and teens that I was already doing). We settled on reading Tolkien with the aid of Joseph Pearce and our Hobbit Club was born.
In our first meeting, we resolved to read two commentary books by Joseph Pearce as well as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Being Catholic, we wanted to read for dual purposes: our own enjoyment and a search for the spiritual themes hidden in the story. In a number of places online, I have seen Catholic bloggers and writers suggest that Tolkien tied his story to the Liturgical Calendar, so we also wanted to try to read these books on such a schedule as to hit certain places at certain times of the year.
Below is the schedule we will be using for the next year. It presumes that the reader is either already familiar with Tolkien’s Middle Earth or does not mind some spoilers. Because we want to see spiritual themes in our reading, we are reading the Joseph Pearce books in advance of our Tolkien reading in the hopes that Pearce will help us to have eyes that see.
We would like to read Pearce’s biography of Tolkien as well. We have not included it in the schedule because we do not want to overwhelm the book club participants. We plan to consider including Tolkien: Man and Myth at a later date. If you are curious about the biography, check out my review here.
I would love to encourage you to build a book club in your area!
Here is a PDF of the schedule: Hobbit Club Schedule
June 18, 2018: Bilbo’s Journey, by Joseph Pearce
July 15, 2018: The Hobbit, Chapters I-VI
August 19, 2018: The Hobbit, Chapters VIII-XIX
September 16, 2018: Frodo’s Journey, by Joseph Pearce
October 21. 2018: Fellowship – “Book One”
November 18, 2018: Fellowship – “Book Two” – CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS
December 16, 2018: Departure of Boromir – Treebeard
January 20, 2019: The White Rider – The Palantir
February 18, 2019: Taming of Smeagol – Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
March 17, 2019: Window on West – Choices of Samwise
April 28, 2019: Minas Tirith – Mount Doom
May 19, 2019: Field of Cormallen – The Grey Havens