The list below is sorted according to the default set of
preferences, which should be a decent reading order for many people.
(It's close to my own preferences, but with less emphasis on Tolkien's
essays.) It also gives a default amount of information (it doesn't
include information on how "canonical" each book is, for example).
If you would like a list tailored to your own personal preferences,
you can find the customization form at the bottom of the
Books in the "History of Middle-earth" series are labeled
by series order: [HoMe N] is the Nth book in the
Keep in mind that the suggestions that follow for
parts to look forward to and parts you may want to avoid are just
educated guesses; don't read too much into the exact order in
which they are listed. Positive recommendations are ranked from best
to worst; negative ones from worst to best.
For the very hasty only: try the
or the annotated list in
The first thing to specify is how detailed you would like the list
to be. Depending on this setting, you can see anything from titles
only to detailed notes on what parts of each book you are likely to
enjoy most (and least).
Should the list include:
Some people treat some of Tolkien's writings about Middle-earth as
more "canonical" (trustworthy) than others. How should your list
Do you want your list to include notes on how "canonical"
each book is?
The most important differences between Tolkien's writings about
Middle-earth are their general styles. Select the choice that most
closely describes your feelings about each type of writing below.
Examples of each style come from The Lord
of the Rings and its appendices. The abbreviations for the
four attitude choices mean:
Would you also like
to list interests in specific topics? (If in doubt, say no! These
options have not been carefully tuned or tested.)
[More options will be
shown here if you say yes and press "submit".]
Finally, for a few "influential" books you can specify if you
have already read them or decided to skip them. (The list will still
show where each book would go, but it can affect other
priorities.) The abbreviations below answer the question "Have you
read this book?" as follows:
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