The three books I currently have on the go here in Plymouth are The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein, South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami and Anna Karenenina - Leo Tolstoy.
I downloaded Anna Karenina onto my kindle because it was either free or dirt cheap on Amazon. I started reading it about a week before War & Peace started on the BBC, and promptly became very confused and they've merged into one snowy, high-class, Russian blur. I think I'll have to start re-reading this one from the beginning again, as I'd have no idea what was going on! I've heard from a friend that its "the most accurate representation of love and the human condition [he's] ever encountered" so I know I must finish it one day (in the near future).
Aaand... The Hobbit. Now this one I'm nearly half way through. It looks like a fairly thin book, but I feel the amount I've read I should be further through it than I am! Lord of the Rings is a funny one for me; I've never seen any of the films the whole way through, I've only seen odd bits when they've been on the telly and nothing else is on. I saw the first Hobbit film at the cinema, and was really confused at the end as they hadn't got anywhere - I only later realised it was going to be a trilogy, and I haven't seen the rest! My cousin and my brother love this book so I thought I should get round to reading it, and I was advised that I should read The Hobbit before reading Lord of the Rings.
I read most of this on the train back to Wales from Plymouth - a 6 hour journey, and the man with the drinks trolley said how good it was. I'm reading my Mum's copy form the 70s, and its full of annotations from her teacher training days. I can tell that this is written for children - but its also a book adults can thoroughly enjoy. I don't read a lot of Fantasy (apart from Harry Potter, which I've not actually re-read since they first came out). My problem with fantasy is that the situations aren't realistic - which I suppose is a given - but the author can put the characters in a sticky situation and then lo-and-behold a giant bird flies along and rescues them out of a tree that's on fire with angry wolves and goblins at the bottom. But I'll stick with it - Tolkein is an author I feel I must read ( and I'm not counting his Oxford English Dictionary entries).
I've noticed all these books have been recommended to me by someone who really loves them, which can only be a good sign. I know they're worth finishing.
Have you read any of these? Is there anything else I should be reading?