I read them when I was about twelve years old. I thought they were needlessly detailed and confusing. A few years later, I started The Silmarillion, but didn't get past the first chapter.
Two years ago (winter of 2012), I started learning the Tengwar for English mode for personal writing. My friend saw it and challenged me to learn Sindarin. I began studying it in earnest over the summer, and also began rereading The Silmarillion. I took a break to read The Hobbit and LOTR again in preparation for AUJ in theaters. Then I got The Children of Húrin for Christmas. After I finished that, I went back to finish The Silmarillion and then read Unfinished Tales. I started reading The Book of Lost Tales, but I got busy with other things and quit part-way through. But I've since begun rereading the First Age stories again, and after that plan to return to the Third Age in time for TABA this coming December.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Probably Túrin. I am drawn to his tragic story and the idea that everything he does is wrong despite trying to change his fate. I also like his eventual redemption in the Battle of Battles. He is a strong, multidimensional character, and The Children of Húrin is probably my favorite Middle-earth book.