This is the third time I have attempted reading the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I'm happy to report that I was finally successful in reading it all the way through. I think my previous failures were due to the age at which I tried reading it. When I was younger, I read because I wanted to know what happened; I was much more interested in plot than the writing itself. Now that I am older and have matured as a reader, I can sit back and enjoy the words, as well as the story they convey.
It's still a slow read; the tale meanders and stutters. It is much like a classical epic that way - the object isn't so much the outcome but how it is reached. Like Odysseus, Frodo Baggins is an unwilling hero in his own tale, but he does what he must to reach the end.
I must admit to having seen the Hollywood versions of the trilogy, and the book tends to pale in comparison. I'm sure that, in large part, this is due to my own preconceived notions. I have the movie running through my head as I read, so spectacular and larger than life, that it makes the book seem not quite grand enough. I do wish I had had the chance to read the books before seeing the movies, as I'm sure I would read them with different eyes.
That being said, the tale is grand and much fun to follow, and Tolkien's voice is skillful and alluring. I look forward to continuing the journey.