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I rate J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" as pure excellence, a masterpiece to be read by fantasy readers everywhere! Why? Once you take it up you become so caught up in this fictional world of Middle Earth and so caught up in the plot that you are loathe to put it down.
This award winning fantasy novel occurs some time before what happens in the book "Lord of the Rings", and thus focuses on Bilbo's adventures with the ring and Thorin's dwarves. So basically, if you read or watched "Lord of the Rings" and wanted more background information on how this ring got into Bilbo's possession this is the book to read.
It's also a good book for all those who would have liked to find out about why the Mirkwood elves and dwarves have a rift between them. This book is a definate must read. If you don't believe me, buy and read it yourself ;)