This was my third or fourth time reading this book, over a span of several decades. It's still a most excellent read. It reads rather like a bed-time story, or perhaps something told around a campfire. Tolkein has a good eye for characterization and understands the basic nature of beings, human and not. How different from that piece of trash, Wuthering Heights
that I read after it, where the author was completely clueless about virtually anything.
update: 9 November 2013
Hazel seemed to think I should read this again, so I did. It's still a good book. It reads like a good bed-time story, which is always lovely.
Since I already reviewed this back in January of this year, I'll defer another go (well, I couldn't figure out how to add a book multiple times, once for each time read). Instead, I'll list a couple of quotes I liked:
His rage passes description—the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted. [this of Smaug, the dragon. p. 208]
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. [said by Gandalf, the wizard, who is also an admirer of Hobbits, apparently. p. 273]