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Thread: What do I read first?

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I remember reading the Lord of the Rings a few years ago and enjoying it. Now I feel like returning back to the book for another read through. However I want to read all of it, meaning, I want to read most of Tolkien's books, not just the Lord of The Rings. The thing is, I don't know where to start or what to read first. Should I read the Hobbit first or the Simarillion or the History of Middle-Earth. I'm so lost. I'm guessing I should read the histroy first, but I want to make sure. So can someone please tell me where to start and in what order I should read these books. Thanks in advance! Oh and by the way, I don't want to read the books with just poems in them. I'm not into that.
You should read HoME LAST if you read them at all (which, from what little I can tell, you probably will, except perhaps for stuff like The Lays of Beleriand, which you'll skip for the same reason I did.) If it's been so long it's hazy, I recommend reading them in chronological order of publication: The Hobbit, the Trilogy, the Silmarillion, the Unfinished Tales (generally regarded as canon even though published in much the same way as HoME) and finally, HoME. The Silmarillion is a truly stellar book, but you need the Trilogy background, I think. And if you read HoME before the Silmarillion you'll NEVER keep all the changes straight (I still have trouble remembering which parts are the official Silmarillion version of some stories and which are the non-canonical parts of HoME.) Plus, opinions are VERY split on what is and isn't canonical in HoME; my personal opinion is anything not EXPLICITLY CONTRADICTED by the Silmarillion is fine, but others hold if it's not in the Silmarillion, Trilogy (Hobbit included) or Unfinished Tales, it's just a potential revision the Professor never made. Now, why UT makes the cut and HoME doesn't I have no idea, but that's another perfect example of what I mean. Reread the Trilogy, or maybe the Silmarillion first and then the Trilogy (that should be fine, and the Silmarillion is a great book.) Until you've read the Silmarillion you have no way of knowing if HoME's worth your time or not, at least the first few before you get to the notes and manuscripts of the Trilogy in the middle volumes, and things like The Shibboleth of Feanor are irrelevant to you right now.

Oh, and howdy, welcome and enjoy your stay. The more the merrier. See ya 'round the boards.
You shouldn't read any of those books, really. They're not that good.
Welcome to Planet-Tolkien Link4000z Happy Elf Smilie and pay no attention to that Virumor hiding behind the curtain (this time only) for he is a Council Member, and knows better than to be sarcastic to first time newbies. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

If you have previously read LotR and remember the story, then you may as well start at the beginning with The Silmarillion, then The Hobbit, LotR, and Unfinished Tales. If You want to continue after that, I'd read The Lost Tales Parts 1 and 2, but I'd skip The Lays of Beleriand unless you love poetry. From there I'll let Valedhelgwath point you to which ones to read next and which ones to skip, for even I haven't read them. I do own the first five of the twelve volume HOME series, but became unenamored with them.

I would also recommend you get The Letters of JRR Tolkien Edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien, ISBN 0-618-05699-8. This is a collection of the Professor's letters that clarify his thinking about many of the peoples, places, items, languages, etc in his books. There are additional explanatory notes for many of the letters and my copy has almost 50 pages of an expanded index making it very useful.
Ok, thanks for the help. Can't wait to start reading them.