Well, I searched manually back to last year, and I used the search option as well, and since I saw nothing in the Pollantir, I thought I'd ask the question!
What is your favorite (Middle-earth related) Tolkien book? Lord of the Rings is considered one book since Tolkien considered it so. I also added those published post-humorously, and put the HoMe books in one bunch. Sorry if any of the dates are wrong!
For argument's sake, I'm going to go with...
[In reply to]
... The Silmarillion!
LOTR is probably the best 'book', but what I really like about the Silmarillion is that it leaves a lot to the imagination. LOTR really doesn't... Everything, everyone and every event is pretty much described in great detail. Nice, but occasionally I like to dream a bit...
The Silmarillion and LotR. It's usually LotR, but often I get to the point, when listening to Martin Shaw's narrative of the Drowning of Numenor when he reads about everything going down into the abyss, and when he reads about the mariners who are rumored to glimpse Tol Eressea just before they die--well, I think it may be the Sil. So I have to go with both.
I think I love the equally. (This is what I tell Neil when he asks me who I love more out of him and my cats. In that case, it's quite clearly a lie, the cats come first) ahem, but back to the question! I have read LoTR more times than I can remember, and it never gets boring. It always gives me the same sense of wonder. And, having just re-read The Silmarillion, for perhaps the third time, I can finally say I understand it! Having read it before at a young age, I found it quite tough at times, but I'm so glad I persevered, it's been well worth it. It covers such a vast period of time, and the details are wonderful. Some of the writing is absolutely beautiful, the descriptions of various places can create such clear mental images!
You've limited the options to the Middle-earth books (for which you list all the dates correctly, by the way). But some people might name Smith or Farmer Giles of Ham as a favorite.
The Lord of the Rings is my favorite, with Smith and The Hobbit tied for second.
It may be worth emphasizing that Tolkien saw nine books (I think) through to publication in his lifetime: A Middle English Vocabulary (1922), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1925), The Hobbit (1937), Farmer Giles of Ham (1949), The Lord of the Rings (1954-55), Ancrene Wisse (1962), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), Tree and Leaf (1964), The Road Goes Ever On (1966), and Smith of Wootton Major (1967). But three of these are academic works, two of them are long short stories, one is a poetry collection, one a reprinting of two shorter works, and one just a pamphlet accompanying a recording.
The other titles you mention --The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth collection, and The Children of Húrin-- are posthumously-edited from manuscripts that Tolkien left in various states of disarray. Charles Noad has argued (in his essay in the 2000 collection, Tolkien's Legendarium) that Tolkien intended The Silmarillion to be a much larger work than what appeared in 1977, including full length versions of the story of Beren and Lúthien, Túrin and Glaurung, Tuor and Gondolin, and Eärendil's voyages, plus the condensed "Quenta Silmarillion" version of First Age events, plus more besides. But Tolkien never finished any of it.
Oh come on, am I the ONLY one who voted for that one??? No way! It's awesome! Second would be Silmarillion, third would be LOTR, and fourth would be The Hobbit. I haven't read enough of any others to pass judgement. CoH rocketh my sockeths!
for me... I guess it's The Silmarillion. It's so multi faceted and complex that it's easy to get lost in it. And I don't mean "lost" in a bad way, escapism into Tolkien's world is my favorite past time! Each time I read The Sil I feel like I unearth a new treasure or understand something I hadn't before in a new light (and insights not necessarily restricted to the stories in The Sil themselves) and that's a nice feeling.
Though, if I had to answer this question after just the first time I read the book, I probably would have chosen LotR, it definitely needs to be reread to be fully appreciated.
Tolkien experience was when i read the fellowship of the ring and from then i am stucked on the realm of middle-earth! So i can say that my favourite Tolkien book is The Lord of the Rings ...but i believe his greatest work is the Silmarillion.