It's been 80 years since The Hobbit was released into the world, and I'm hard pressed to think of a book (other than its counterpart, The Lord of the Rings) that has been as influential to the fantasy genre as it has been. Because it is required reading in many schools across the United States, it is many kids' first exposure to fantasy. It's the gateway drug in many cases, leading to a lifelong addiction to reading and escaping to magical worlds of dragons, adventure, treasure, friendship, and more.
The Hobbit also introduces the reader to ways of dealing with adversity, and how different groups and races of people can come together to fight for a common goal. It shows how even the smallest of us can accomplish great things.
So what has The Hobbit meant to you? When did you first read it?
Melanie R. Meadors is an author of fantasy where heroes don't always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She has edited two upcoming genre anthologies, MECH: Age of Steel and HATH NO FURY, and is the science, books, and pop culture blogger at The Once and Future Podcast. You can find her at her website, melaniermeadors.com, on Facebook, and Twitter, @melaniermeadors.