Here is the fourth of my one-book-at-a-time bookshelf.
I was fortunate to read The Hobbit at an early age. Tolkien wrote this for young readers and I've found, as an adult, that it isn't as accessible. It is still enjoyable and a must have on my bookshelf, but the real magic seems to belong to the very young. It would make an excellent book to read to your children one episode at a time. Try reading it aloud and you will see what I mean. The author talks to the reader and Tolkien shows that he just loved telling a good story. His much longer Lord of the Rings is more developed, more dense and more complex. Clearly more satisfying for an adult but then it is an adult's story. The Silmarillion, published after his death, is another beast altogether. Don't be surprised to see me add these works to my blog in due course.
It would be remiss not to comment on the Peter Jackson retelling of The Hobbit. I've seen the first installment and while I found the first half a little slow paced I liked it overall and am looking forward to the rest of the story. For those who are fond of the book, as I am, it might be helpful to think of the film as Peter Jackson telling the same story for an adult audience. In many ways it is the story of the hobbit told in the style of Tolkien's later work with a dash of Peter Jackson's typical love of the gruesome.
Is The Hobbit on your bookshelf? I can't imagine not having a copy on mine.