October 27, 2016

Tolkien 2018 Calendar Speculation

I have a theory.

I believe that the 2018 Tolkien Calendar will feature Alan Lee's artwork. More than that, I believe it will be from the forthcoming Beren and Luthien, making it a "2018 Beren and Luthien Calendar."

How did I arrive at this conclusion?

Every so often, I check out sites like Amazon UK or Book Depository for listings of upcoming books (not limited to Tolkien). I saw that the 2018 Calendar was listed, so I went to the page there. It stated that Alan Lee is the illustrator. Also, it says this:

20 b/w, 12 col illus.

Checking out the page for Beren and Luthien (also illustrated by Alan Lee) it states this:

20 b/w illus, 8 col plates, Index.


Based on this, I believe it's fair to guess at this point that I may be accurate. Please note that when The Children of Hurin was published in 2007, the 2008 calendar featured artwork (from both the book) by Alan Lee.





October 26, 2016

"Enemy of God" (Warlord Chonicles Book 2 of 3) Book Review



This book definitely lives up to, and continues, the standard of quality established by the previous installment. It doesn't "feel" different, in that some sequels, or continuations do, from its predecessor. Includes a few unique and interesting takes on the Arthur saga, as well as elements about it. One thing in common with other, and traditional, Arthur tales: it features romance, heroism, and tragedy. Also includes an Author's Note once the story-portion of the book concludes, found at the back of the book.

5/5

October 19, 2016

"Beren and Luthien"


Well, this is definitely unexpected!

May 2017 will see the publication of Beren and Luthien; the first new Middle-earth Tolkien book since The Children of Hurin.

Much like The Children of Hurin, the story already exists in various Tolkien books. Also, like The children of Hurin, this will be illustrated by Alan Lee, and features the complete tale between its own covers.

The book will be published in both hardback and deluxe edition. A paperback will follow, at the earliest, in 2018, for those that like that format. So know here comes the official word, as well as ISBNs. Please note that the deluxe edition artwork has yet to be revealed.

"Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.

Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.

In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost."

The book will be 304 pages, and published May 4, 2017.

The ISBN for the hardback is 9780008214197

The ISBN for the deluxe edition is 9780008214203.

I'll be pre-ordering the standard hardback edition, and place it right next to my copy of The Children of Hurin on 'The Shelf'.

Now, the only of 'The Three Great Gales' that remains to be published in this style is The Fall of Gondolin....

October 18, 2016

Tolkien Tuesday: Ideas For Future Tolkien Editions

  
One of the things that got me into books, not reading, but books, was seeing all the various editions and formats of (essentially) the same text.



When I first got into Tolkien, it was late 2001. At that time, bookstores were that: bookstores. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure, sometimes at the cash line up they may have some gooodies here and there but back in those days it was all books. No home section. No American girl, nothing.

And so, after getting The Lord of the Rings in Christmas 2001 (this edition: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/usedphotosna/43903642_614.jpg ) I went to see what else by Tolkien there was. And, I was baffled that they carried 5 or 6 different types of The Lord of the Rings: paperback, hardback, one book, three books, seven books...).

So it is because of that, that I'm "designing" some food-for-thought for Harper Collins for future editions of Tolkien's works.

The following is meant to be the 'next wave' of deluxe editions, and features the same contents the current ones have, plus what I have outlined below.


THE HOBBIT
- Contract / Thorin's Letter as a facsimile on photo paper.
- Smaug Flies Round the Mauntain (or Lonely Mountain) facsimile on photo paper.

- book and matching slip-case foil-stamped embossed with Tolkien's design of Smaug, and 'JRRT' on the back
- updated, reset and definitive text [if needed since previous deluxe (possibly the same text as the facsimile first edition, the original story???)]


THE LORD OF THE RINGS


- 3 volumes (rather than a single volume) (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) housed in a single slipcase which is foil-stamped embossed with Tolkien's Ring-and-Eye motif. I say this so it'll easier to read. 1 volume rather than 3 is more 'reading friendly' and the most common way the books have existed through the years.

- each of the 3 volumes could have this page opposite the title page, rather than a list of works by Tolkien; which like how in the same spot for The Silmarillion it lists all the parts. http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/tolkien-book-store/images/001368-10.jpg
The Fellowship of the Ring: foil-stamped embossed with Tolkien's 'Ring-and-Eye' motif (matches the slipcase) and 'JRRT' on the back. The frontispiece fold out sheet could feature Tolkien's dust-jacket design on one side, and The Forest of Lothlorien in Spring on the other. 

-
hand-written caligraphy style Ring-verse by Tolkien at the very beginning of the book, rather than typed in italics.

- red ink as it appeared in the 50th anniversary edition where appropriate to text.

- the most up to date text [later impressions of the boxed set featuring the Reader's Companion, or the text used for the single-volume with the Alan Lee art]

- Doors of Durin on photo paper (it does have it's own page anyway...)

- leaves from the Book of Mazarbul from the 50th

-The Two Towers: foil-stamped embossed with the Nazgul Fell Beast, and the words which translate into “In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie” [as seen on the spine of the The Two Towers 50th anniversary hardback edition], with 'JRRT' on the back. The frontispiece fold-out sheet at the front could feature Tolkien's dust-jacket design on one side, and Fangorn Forest on the other [or perhaps this drawing of Orthanc: http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/tolkien-book-store/images/001260-9.jpg ]

-
The Return of the King: foil-stamped embossed with the Throne of Gondor, Crown of Elessar, and tree motif [as seen on the spine of the dustjacket for The Return of the King 50th anniversary hardback edition] with 'JRRT' on the back. [Essentially take the images from the spines of 50th anniversary hardback dust-jackets, and foil-stamp them on the respective books.] The frontispiece fold-out sheet at the front could feature Tolkien's dust jacket design on one side, and Barad-dur on the other.


- updated, reset, appendices and indexes

- red-and-black fold-out maps: Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age at the end of each olume, & Gondor, Rohan and Mordor near the beginning of The Return of the King.

- silk ribbon-marker in each volume (gold, scarlet, emerald respectively)




THE SILMARILLION

- heraldic devices segment (appeared in Collector's Edition of 1999 previously, as well as the calendar from the '70s)
- book and slip-case foil-stamped embossed with Tolkien's device of Luthien with 'JRRT' on the back.
Halls of Manwe illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien facsimile frontispiece included on glossy paper. The reverse side could feature Fingolfin's device.

-
red-and-black fold-out maps of Beleriand (and the Lands to the North), and Noldor and Sindar
- silk ribbon-marker (sapphire)

And that's all! I believe the deluxe editions of Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin, Tales From the Perilous Realm, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur, Beowulf, and The Story of Kullervo do not have anything further to add. Maybe re-publish them (or keep them printed) to go with The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion editions mentioned above.

October 17, 2016

"The Story of Kullervo" Deluxe Edition

We now have cover art!

Oct. 20, as of now, marks the publication date of the (long-awaited) deluxe edition of The Story of Kullervo. Why it was not published closer to the original hardback as per usual is beyond me, but here we have it! Looks like Harper Collins is going with a red/orange colour scheme, and an embossment of Tolkien's design.

Aside from the fact the book is quarter-bound, slipcased and superior paper quality, I'm fully expecting the page s/ contents of the book to be the exact same as the standard hardback. Since it's not out yet, and no site list the 'features' of the deluxe, I can't list them off here. The rest of the post is official publisher info, so I'll close here by saying if you want to brush up on related knowledge to this book, check out The Kalevala (as far as I know the only 'readily available edition' is the paperback offered by Oxford.)

Here are the specs:

192
Hardback
J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Verlyn Flieger
20/10/2016
9780008166724
Deluxe Slipcased edition

"Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.

Tolkien wrote that The Story of Kullervo was the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own’, and was a major matter in the legends of the First Age’; his Kullervo was the ancestor of Trin Turambar, tragic incestuous hero of The Silmarillion. In addition to being a powerful story in its own right, The Story of Kullervo published here for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, The Kalevala, is a foundation stone in the structure of Tolkien’s invented world."

October 13, 2016

"Fantastic Beasts" Series Now to be 5 Films



It was revealed today that the Fantastic Beasts series of movies went from 3 to 5.

“I can say one thing, we were doing some script sessions the other day and we always knew it was going to be one movie. We always knew that from the start. We said a trilogy as a placeholder because we knew there would be more than one movie. Now I think we can say, I’ve done the plotting properly so we’re pretty sure it’s going to be five movies.”

Fantastic Beasts: Part 2 is expected November 2018, and Part 3 of the then-planned trilogy will follow in 2020. If that trend continues, expect Part 4 to come 2022 and Part 5 in 2024; though 4 and 5 are guesswork on my part.

We'll see if this is a wise move. There are times where too many films in a franchise can be a bad thing. We'll have to wait and see, but expanding '3 to 5' sounds ok, as they always had more films planned, but as the quote above mentions, now that they sat down and plotte dit out, it seems they have their focus.

Time will only tell if 5 movies is the way to go, or if 3 should have been enough.
 

October 11, 2016

Tolkien Tuesday: Tolkien Editors & Scholars

Before I begin, please note that I am in no way saying anything negative about the people mentioned in this post. It is just an opinion, and speculation on my part.

As of late, I have noticed that Christopher Tolkien is editing less Tolkien material, and that Veryln Flieger has been editing more.

Is it entirely possible that Christopher Tolkien is either stepping away, reducing his duties or handing the reigns to someone else? Any, or all three, are possible. However, please note that this post is purely guesswork and opinion. 

Christopher Tolkien has been editing Tolkien material since the 1970s (and assisting his father beforehand, as well) with projects such as The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth. He edited other Tolkien books here and there, but continued to do so from 2007 - 2014, with publications such as The Children of Hurin, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur and Beowulf. This year he turns 92.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention The Story of Kullervo. For that publication, Veryln Flieger took the role of editor. This year will also see The Lay of Aortrou and Itroun re-published. Verlyn once again takes on the editing role, while Christopher Tolkien will supply a new prefatory note on the text.

As I mentioned, the fact that Christopher hasn't edited a Tolkien book since Beowulf is purely guesswork. He didn't after all, work on The History of The Hobbit, either. Maybe he's taking it slow and steady these days, with reduced roles and responsibilities. Maybe he's hard at work on something else.

I confess I do not know that much, or anything, bout how Tolkien projects get handled. I have noticed that usually Christopher Tolkien takes on the big or significant projects. Not to undermine their work, other Tolkien scholars and experts also pour huge amount of work and dedication into their work as well. They usually work on supplementary work, study or analysis which examine or enhance Tolkien's works. 

First up of additional mention, is Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. If I don't know the answer to something Tolkien related, I usually point the asker towards works by them. Their Lord of the the Rings Reader's Companion is sometimes contained in the same box set as The Lord of the Rings. Not only that, but they were heavily involved with the updating and correcting for The Lord of the Rings' 50th (and up) publications. Those two facts alone right there show me they know their stuff.

Then, there's the Tolkien Reader's Guide and Chronology. It's being revised and re-published next fall. This multi-volume set presents anything and everything you could possibly wish to know about Tolkien. On top of that, they have also done other projects, such as those about Tolkien's artwork (Artist & Illustrator, The Art of the Hobbit, and The Art of the Lord of the Rings)

There's also Douglas A. Anderson, also involved in Tolkien's texts. He is among other scholars, such as Verlyn, involved with Tolkien Studies. Most famously, he is responsible for The Annotated Hobbit.

There is also John D. Rateliff, who received Christopher Tolkien's blessing for The History of the Hobbit, which is a sort of companion to The History of Middle-earth. 

There are many others that deserve mention as well: Brian Sibley, Tom Shippey, Alan Bliss, Karen Wynn Fonstad, John Garth, Humphrey Carpenter, Dimitra Fimi, Andrew Higgins, and many more.

It is good to see that Tolkien's legacy is in good, responsible and respectful hands. As ever, I look forward to what come next; whether it'll be a brand new publication, revised and and updated re-issues of current works, anniversary editions of existing books.

I am definitely grateful to all of them, and appreciate their hard work and dedication. Once I even gave some information about my Lord of the Rings boxed set to Hammond + Scull's blog, which I hope has been of assistance to them. 

As always, keep an eye on my blog, and once I'm aware of upcoming Tolkien books of note, I'll be sure to spread the word by doing a post.

October 10, 2016

Presidential Debate: Poinless If You're Not American

I live in Canada. I was born in Canada, I live in Canada, very strong chance I'll die in Canada. Therefore, I am not a U.S. citizen.

One thing that annoys me to no end is seeing updates on social media from fellows Canadians about the election and the debate, and anything going on in regards to US politics at the moment, and coming in Novemeber.

Why?

Because we're not U.S. citizens!! We cannot participate in the election!If Canadians could, then I'd be all for following it, and getting interested in it. Now, I'm not telling you what you can and can't watch, or what you should or shouldn't like, I'm just asking: what's the point?? We, here up North, can't do a damned thing about it!  The only time I would watch a U.S. debate like that, would be if I was interested in one of the candidates. Judging from people's comments, reactions, etc, nobody seemed to like either of them.

Just my thoughts.

October 9, 2016

"Fantastic Beasts" Soundtrack Info



Well, I am excited for Fantastic Beasts. Initially I wasn't. The book is much smaller than The Hobbit, and getting 3 films ... and other factors. Like I've said many a-time on this blog, sometimes all it takes is a poster, photo or trailer to turn one's opinions. It was so with me and Fantastic Beasts, and the trailer named "final trailer", which was the only one I've seen.

Anyway, so here is the soundtrack info - release dates, formats, tracklisting...

So it's being released on the 3 main formats: vinyl (the ultimate way to own physical media. It seems CDs as an afterthought nowadays...), CD, and iTunes.

The vinyl version will be arriving November 4th, and will be a "12" picture disc." Here are the available photos at this time:



"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an all new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. Featured on the picture disc are two early recordings by James Newton Howard that helped shape the musical vision for the film. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, Newt Scamander might have come and gone without incident... were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. The 12 inch Picture Disc LP also features artwork from the film and is packaged in a clear plastic sleeve."

The CD and iTunes versions are pretty much identical, with the iTunes using it's own special sound mix, much like how vinyls have a specified mix of that format.

Here is the CD (and iTunes, I guess) info...both of which will be out Nov. 18.






Since the tracklisting for the vinyl is unknown at this point, I didn't include anything under that section. Hopefully it'll feature the same music as both the CD and iTunes releases....there's no reason not to. So, for the CD info + tracklist :

"This album is packaged in a 2 CD digipak with 26 tracks and nearly 100 minutes of music.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident...were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

James Newton Howard, describing the project and his introduction to the film, remarked, 'It's like joining a family in a way; I was made to feel very welcome. The scope of the movie, emotionally, visually, in every way, is very broad. There are funny moments, magical, beautiful moments, and there are some dark and scary moments. The music helps tell the story. I've had fun writing themes for the various characters and giving a musical voice to this wonderful new movie. It's been a great collaboration with musicians and filmmakers, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it!' "


  1. Main Titles - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
  2. There Are Witches Among Us / The Bank / The Niffler
  3. Tina Takes Newt In / Macusa Headquarters
  4. Pie or Strudel / Escaping Queenie and Tina s Place
  5. Credence Hands Out Leaflets
  6. Inside The Case
  7. The Erumpent
  8. In The Cells
  9. Tina and Newt Trial / Let's Get The Good Stuff Out / You're One of Us Now / Swooping Evil
  10. Gnarlak Negotiations
  11. The Demiguise and The Occamy
  12. A Close Friend
  13. The Obscurus / Rooftop Chase
  14. He's Listening To You Tina
  15. Relieve Him of His Wand / Newt Releases The Thunderbird / Jacob's Farewell
  16. Newt Says Goodbye to Tina / Jacob's Bakery
  17. End Titles - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Disc: 2

  1. A Man and His Beasts
  2. Soup and Leaflets
  3. Billywig
  4. The Demiguise and The Lollipop
  5. I'm Not Your Ma
  6. Blind Pig performed by Emmi
  7. Newt Talks To Credence
  8. End Titles Pt.2 - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
  9. Kowalski Rag

October 7, 2016

Vinyl Revival: Wishlist



I've set myself up a wishlist for vinyl LP records through Amazon.ca . Here is the link.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/registry/wishlist/F68MQXZEZHSG/ref=cm_wl_list_o_4?

Now, this is out of interest to my readers. I'm not expecting any surprise vinyls to show up at my door. Please note, that I am after specific editions of albums.

Those that are listed on my list are ones that I plan to get 'sometime'. Obviously, there are some that I wish to get sooner rather than later, but yeah. Not really a time limit on those, provided they aren't discontinued.

I'll let the priority, and descriptions / comments speak for themselves.

Feel free to leave comments here.

October 5, 2016

"Tolkien Companion and Guide" (Revised Edition) to be Published

A set I've been interested in for a while, but was crazy expensive on the markets due to it out of print, is Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull's two-volume Tolkien Companion and Guide.

However, it is being revised and set to be re-published next year.

Here's the official word from Wayne G.Hammond and Christina Scull....

We were honoured to learn this past spring that HarperCollins want to continue to publish the Companion and Guide, not simply as a reprint of the existing text but in a new edition, corrected, revised, and enlarged. When we were commissioned to write a general book about Tolkien’s life and works, our first model was C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide by Walter Hooper, a thick volume of nearly a thousand pages; but we gathered so much material that our Chronology alone reached that length. Fortunately, HarperCollins agreed to give us two volumes, though we had to cut the text of the Reader’s Guide to fit the maximum number of pages the binding process would allow. Readers of our addenda and corrigenda know that we have continued to gather information about Tolkien, and in the ten years since the Companion and Guide appeared more works by Tolkien have been published, as well as a considerable amount of Tolkien scholarship and criticism. With so much additional material at hand, and so much more ground to cover, HarperCollins suggested that the Companion and Guide now expand from two volumes to three.

The first edition of our book was published both as a boxed set in a slipcase and separately as the Chronology and Reader’s Guide; and because the two volumes could be bought separately, our Preface, bibliography of Works Consulted, and Index were included in each. For the new edition, which will be published only as a hardback set, the Preface will appear only in the first volume and the bibliography of sources only in the third, but for convenience of use each volume will include a comprehensive, improved index. The Chronology will remain a distinct volume, while the encyclopaedic Reader’s Guide will now have two volumes, the first of which will include a list of topics covered, a feature more than one reader has requested. Further, running heads for easier navigation, which had to be omitted in 2006 for reasons discussed on our website, will be included in the new edition of the Reader’s Guide, as well as a greater number of cross-references.


When HarperCollins commissioned this new work, they asked us not to discuss it until they could arrange publicity to be released at an optimal time. But partial information about the book slipped out to Amazon UK and was soon noticed by fans. We asked for permission to announce the new edition formally in this space, and received it this morning. The publication date of 7 September 2017 mentioned in the Amazon listing is probably correct, but the number of pages given, 2,400, is just an early estimate.


Found at: https://wayneandchristina.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/tolkien-companion-and-guide-2nd-ed/

And here is the info as supplied by Amazon.co.uk :

  • Hardcover: 2400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition edition (7 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008214548

Here is the official description for the original set:

Designed to be the essential reference works for all readers and students, these volumes present the most thorough analysis possible of Tolkien's work within the important context of his life.

The Reader's Guide includes brief but comprehensive alphabetical entries on a wide range of topics, including a who's who of important persons, a guide to places and institutions, details concerning Tolkien's source material, information about the political and social upheavals through which the author lived, the importance of his social circle, his service as an infantryman in World War I — even information on the critical reaction to his work and the "Tolkien cult."

The Chronology details the parallel evolutions of Tolkien's works and his academic and personal life in minute detail. Spanning the entirety of his long life including nearly sixty years of active labor on his Middle-earth creations, and drawing on such contemporary sources as school records, war service files, biographies, correspondence, the letters of his close friend C.S. Lewis, and the diaries of W.H. Lewis, this book will be an invaluable resource for those who wish to gain a complete understanding of Tolkien's status as a giant of twentieth-century literature.


October 4, 2016

Tolkien Tuesday: Editions For *YOU*

I did a somewhat similar post of this nature a while ago, but I’m re-branding, re-editing it for Tolkien Tuesday purposes. Also, this serves as the last planned posts about BOOKS themselves for Tolkien Tuesday. I mean, never say never, but this concludes what I’ve got to say.

So far, I’ve covered the books I own, great paperback editions which ‘mirror’ or reflect other formats, (deluxe included) and the deluxe editions for collectors.

Now, I’m going to go over which ones you can find the easiest!

What I mean by that is this. I recommended specific editions. But, what happens if by the time you get around to getting the books, that particular edition is out of print? I know, that may sound odd: me recommending a particular edition, if others aren't available! I mean to say, that these ones are easily found, and as of this writing, still in print. You don’t need to worry about them running out, in other words. I was showing my collection over the past few weeks, now I am going to help you begin yours (unless you prefer the 'ultimate paperbacks').

So what follows are some hardbacks if you want to get the books in that format, but do not care about uniformity in regards to if they’re part of a matching set, different sizes on the shelf (some taller than others), etc. Or, if you’re shopping for someone’s birthday, and they say they want “The Lord of the Rings in hardback.”Basically, if you or the person you're buying for is not as fussy I am (or others can be).

As always, stock varies vendor-to-vendor, but you generally shouldn’t have a hard time finding these. I’m providing the ISBNs so you can use those to search for them. Please note that I definitely recommend recommend the following covered via past posts, if you can get them:
Paperback: http://insurrbution.blogspot.ca/2016/09/tolkien-tuesday-definitive-paperback.htmlHardback: mentioned through my blog week-by-week starting in June under the 'Tolkien Tuesday' header
Deluxe: http://insurrbution.blogspot.ca/2016/09/tolkien-tuesday-definitive-deluxe.html


Now for the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to start a Tolkien collection:

THE HOBBIT

Due to its popularity, there are numerous editions. These ones are still in print, not too ‘costly’ and yet a ‘nice book’ as well.

This classic edition is quite lovely:




9780395071229 [note: on certain online retailers, even though they display this cover art and ISBN correctly, the DESCRIPTION is sometimes wrong: to clarify, this edition does not feature artwork by Michael Hague, but by Tolkien himself. It is a 'classic edition' in hardback] 

The edition illustrated by Jemima Catlin is also worthy of note: 



9780007497904

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Whether as one book, 3 or the 3 in a box, this as well as The Hobbit are the more popular of Tolkien’s books. The cheapest way to get The Lord of the Rings is the single-volume edition.



9780618645619
 


9780261103207

THE SILMARILLION


There aren’t that many editions of The Silmarillion to begin with, but this one is the most commonly found.



9780618135042



UNFINISHED TALES

Not to be a lazy writer, but what I said about The Silmarillion above also applies here.




9780618154043

With those, you should be on your way to having some great Tolkien books that you didn't have to fret about trying to get a hold of, and didn't have to pay an arm or a leg for.
 

Remember, I'm under the impression you'll be shopping online, and checking multiple vendors. Not to 'push' the web site but I did find that bookdepository.com carries all the ISBN's I've listed. Also, Abebooks is pretty good too, though read the description of the quality of the item, as well as make sure you purchase from at least 4 stars there to maximize the condition of the book. 

Happy hunting! Here's hoping you enjoy Tolkien's main books I've listed here, in both story and the edition you get. Or likewise if you're buying them for someone else.