I tackled Fellowship when I was around 11 years old and remember being tremendously peeved when "Strider" became "Aragorn." Don't ask me why- I think it had something to do with priding myself on learning all the characters names in a story, and then to have this switch up boggle my poor young mind. Of course, Tolkien had multiple names for characters depending on the particular culture that was describing them: take Gandalf, for instance. So I had to learned to appreciate the various possible identities each character possessed.
I tackled the books again when I was 15 and thoroughly enjoyed them. But the best experience with the books I've had was reading the end of Return of the King aloud to my wife on a long plane flight from Ireland back to the States, both of us starting to bawl when Frodo leaves for the Grey Havens... ("But, I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire too...")
Favorite Tolkien character:
Each one of the Hobbits really resonate with me. I know that's a cop out- perhaps if I could share a pint with any of them it would be Pippin. Robust, simple, cheerful even in the face of danger, and as Gandalf states, full of surprises. Something about someone being only three feet tall and conquering the greatest evil in the world- yeah, I like that.