I was in high school in 1974 when I read "The Hobbit" and "The LOTR". These books made a huge impact on me like no others before or in the 38 years since. The Peter Jackson movies were quite good but you really need to read the books. There were a few small problems I had with the movies.
In the eighth grade, I met a very sweet and charming girl who was very much into LOTR. Wanting to impress her, I went ahead and bought a huge one-volume edition from the local bookstore. I instantly fell in love with the masterpiece of worldbuilding that was Middle Earth and all the wonderful characters.
Needless to say, I was totally immersed. I still have that old, battered copy with me after all these years and it's one of my most prized possessions and I try and read it through every year. Definitely my favorite book of all time even after all this time.
I first experienced the series by having the story told and retold to me by my friends. That was before the movies came out, so when I finally saw them it was like watching an adaptation of a folk story.
I read the novels first way back in the 1970's and I have watched all three extended edition dvd's back to back more than once. I guess I am addicted. I have actually read the novels about five times in my life so yes I am addicted.
The first time I heard a read-through of Lord of the Rings, it was in my kitchen when I was 6-years-old. My parents and their friends had a long-running tradition of gathering together every few years, usually in winter, to sit down and read the story out loud. I've heard the story in the way all the way through at least five times in my life.
My favorite part is by far the Balrog. My brothers and I would be on the edge of our seats, knowing it was coming, waiting for my dad to read the part about Legolas running screaming down the stairs, "AIEEE! A BALROG!" He's stomp on the floor and scream it at the top of his lungs. This made me very, very disappointed that the movie version reduced it to Gandalf going, "It's a Balrog," in a breathless whisper. Because when calm, collected Legolas is running screaming for his life at the first sight the thing? Gets the point across a LOT better that they should all be running screaming about then.
I finished my first complete read through of LOTR when I was 12. I have read it cover to cover at least a dozen times (not that I a slobbering fan, I just read a lot). The funny thing was that I never really read the words. I would read but it would become a high definition movie playing in mind and the words would fade out as the characters came to life in my imagination. Watching the movie for the first time was an unusual experience for me because so much of it was identical to my imaginings that it was like I had already seen it. To the point where Gandalfs confrontation with the Balrog was identical.