Happy 75 years, Hobbit!

As USA Today reports, we now celebrate the 75th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It’s amazing to think about what a landmark 3/4 century it’s been. Middle Earth spawned from the mind of one Oxford professor, and now it’s a part of the global consciousness. Look at what one person’s ideas can do for the world…what one small hobbit can accomplish against forces far beyond his control and in places he’s never known.

From USA Today:

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. Friday 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.

“These books have spawned thousands of fantasy novels and inspired hundreds of writers in the years since, but it’s important to note that it all began 75 years ago with the opening line of a book, ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit,’ ” notes Gary Gentel, president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade division, in an e-mail.

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