My older brother got me into them not very long before the trilogy was filmed. I was in love with them and have read them from Silmarilion to the Return of the King almost religously every year.
Favorite Tolkien character:
Faramir (in books) Shows a noble character and is a younger brother dealing with many of the same struggles that I face in a similar situation.
Second Choice is Sam. He shows the progression from nervous gardener to brave warrior throughout the books and I find that inspiring.