**Re-aired from 9-21-12**
No need to wait for Peter Jackson and his movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to arrive on Dec. 14: Middle-earth mania has already hit bookstores. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's immortal tale about the great adventure of furry-footed Bilbo Baggins.
Written by Tolkien, a British professor, for his four children and published in 1937 with a 1,500-copy first printing, it's the story of how a stay-at-home hobbit very fond of hearth and home ends up venturing forth with 13 dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf to retrieve treasure stolen by a savage dragon. The prelude to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit has been translated in to more than 50 languages and has sold 100 million copies worldwide.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the book by Corey Olsen. Olsen has read and re-read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings every year since he was 8 years old. Now 38, he is an English professor at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. In 2009, Olsen founded a popular website and podcast, www.tolkienprofessor.com.