'Middle-earth' is the name of a continent in the fictional world created by English professor J.R.R. Tolkien, and is also used as a collective title for the various books he wrote which are set within it, the best-known of these being The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Although there are references in some books to events and characters from others, most of the works have few or no direct narrative connections to each other, and when taken together they build up a patchwork or mosaic-like picture of Middle-earth's history, rather than forming one long narrative strand as happens in many other book series.
Being the creations of a professor of languages, Tolkien's writings are notable for their superior command of English, and also for the emphasis placed on the various languages of the Middle-earth races, and their literature, with various poems and other writings often appearing, either in the constructed language and/or in an English translation, within the body of the book. For example, the 'One Ring' poem, which describes the nature of the Ruling Ring (which is the focus of The Lord of the Rings), was written in the 'Black Speech of Mordor', and the Black Speech version, as well as the English, is contained in full in The Lord of the Rings.
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Books in the series
Published during Tolkien's lifetime
- The Hobbit
- The Lord of the Rings (Usually published in three volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King)
- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
- The Road Goes Ever On
Published after Tolkien's death
These were all edited by Tolkien's son, Christopher, who took on the huge task of editing some of the stories Tolkien wrote, and publishing them.
- The Silmarillion
- Unfinished Tales
- The History of Middle-earth (12 volumes)
- Bilbo's Last Song
- The Children of Húrin
- The History of The Hobbit
- Reading Age: some works can be read from about 9 or 10 by a confident reader
- Read Aloud Age: maybe be suitable from 8 or 9, depending on an individual child's disposition
Middle-earth is a high fantasy world, with frequent appearances made by strange races (such as the 'Ents' or 'Tree-People' (tree-like beings that walk) in The Two Towers), individuals with magical powers (such as Tom Bombadil, and wizards including Saruman and Gandalf), and various monsters, including giant spiders, trolls, goblins, a dragon, and a fire-demon. Although some of the books are lighter in tone than others, none are suitable for very young children.
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- The works of C.S. Lewis
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