I began reading after watching Fellowship of the Rings, and was drawn in by the "Council of Elrond" chapter. It is still one of my favorite chapters with regards to Tolkien's exposition and description of Middle Earth.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Aragorn is my favorite character because there is so much depth to him. He is destined for greatness, and is a leader of men, and yet laments his sometimes poor decision making. There is a humility to his leadership that I find inspiring.