If you are new to Tolkien’s work, or are looking to reread, or just haven’t read everything yet, here is a list in the order I think the books can be appreciated the most.
- The Hobbit
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Silmarillion
- Unfinished Tales
- The Children of Hurin
- Beren and Luthien
- The Fall of Gondolin
- The Histories of Middle-Earth
I would suggest starting with The Hobbit as to enjoy it you needn’t know anything about the world. It is a wonderful introduction and leads perfectly onto…
The Lord of the Rings. This story is what Tolkien is most widely known and appreciated for. The epic scope of Middle-Earth is unveiled and events and people mentioned in this book are developed in detail in others further down in my list.
The Silmarillion is what I see as the Bible of Middle-Earth. Everything is covered, in a lot of detail. It is not an easy read, but for those who want a summary of the incredible world Tolkien created, this is the book to read.
Books 4-7 in this list are for those who want to learn more about the events described in The Silmarillion. If you want an in depth analysis, these are the books to read.
Talking about in depth exploration, The Histories of Middle-Earth are the books you read when everything else has been read and understood. A lot of things you read you will already know, but there is always something extra, small or big, that was never described before. For any fan of Tolkien, these books will give you everything you want to know, yet leave you still asking for more!
Do you agree with this list? What reading order would you recommend?