Well, I've only read LOTR 4 or 5 times, The Hobbit 8 times and the Silmarillion 1 1/2 times, but I've listened to the really fantastic BBC LOTR BBC Radio play 12+ times and while it is abridged it's very well done and doesn't add or change anything beyond music and some ommisions of text (though it does completely omit Tom Bombadil and Ghan-buri-Ghan). It's very well done with the voices of 25 British actors, Music and Sound effects. And Ian Holm, the actor that plays Bilbo in the new movies, is the voice of Frodo. I heartily endorse it for listening pleasure.
Myself, I love to run role playing games and I sometimes run a Middle Earth campaign. As a GameMaster, I feel responsible for knowing the text intimately. I also like to write and Tolkien's world and style are my favorites. So, I have persued purchased many books and books on CD that analyze Tolkien's text and Tolkien himself and actually study his works and those things analyzing them from an academic POV, making notes and making personal connections with his points. If his work ends up pulling you so, as it has with so many of us, you too can go down that path and achieve a place among the Wise. :cool: Heh!
Now, about this T name thing... I see what is being said but I don't agree. I think incuding any name with Tar- is erroneous as it is a title that many hold. T is a very common use letter in our language and also Tolkien's languages and 2 of the main characters that go though suffering, loss and tragey are Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins. No Ts in those names. And Frodo goes through incredible loss and suffereing. Starting as a child with his being an orphan all the way to his leaving ME and all that he loves due to weariness and pain. Many other charcters with out T names go through loss and tragedy. I think the concept of coping and enduring loss and tragedy and finding/keeping hope in desperate situations is a main ideal of his works.
Glor... fin... el? Darn... Well, I can accept my flaw with spell check, now... But whacking orcs still makes me feel good! BAM! BAM! BAMBAMBAM!!! Yeah... Take that, Orc-face.