After having finally seen L.O.T.R. part 3, I decided to be the last adult in North America to read the books. This seemed fitting to me, my father was the last man in Canada to own a colour TV, my sister the last girl in her high school to get her ears pierced, etc.
Finding myself at the local library one day on business, I checked out the three volumes which make up the 8 books (sorry, I'm a little fuzzy on details). I brought them home with the express intention of a reading marathon.
I read the forward, where I found this interesting comment by Tolkien, "I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." I liked that, and it was certainly true that I found much 'applicability' in part 3 of the cinematic coverage.
I'm afraid I didn't get any further. The books have now gone back to the library. They just didn't grab me, I guess timing is everything. Now I've got reading for a course, missionary biographies, Holy War (right Tod?), etc. etc. etc.
I might get to Tolkien in my retirement, except, wait a minute, would that be too much like a shell collection?