I like the LOTR books and how Tolking makes it all seem so real. But even though I'm a fan, I must say that the books are quite heavy to read. Took me years to get through them, the first was best and did not take so long to get through, the second and third took much more time to get through. But I did enjoy them all.
Just like other people already suggested, try The Hobbit!!!
I've read it three times, maybe I should read it again, before the movie comes out. The book is fantastic and I know that the movie will be too!