To me the best sign for any book or movie is if you can remember with great detail where you were at the time you first experienced it. My first Tolkien experience was in my Grade 5 classroom, by the side windows, analysing an excerpt from 'Riddles in the Dark'. We didn't read the rest of the book in school, but it was pretty clear to me I needed to get to the library pronto. Tonnes of fantasy literature, and of course the trilogy, followed shortly after.
Favorite Tolkien character:
A wonderfully complex, unpredictable and engaging character, Gollum's pitiable and tragic nature combined with ruthless cunning have made him iconic.