"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." is I think one of the most known startsentences of a book. I already read the hobbit a few times, but always in the german translation. And I have to say, the german translation (at least the one by Walter Scherf (I have not read the one by Wolfgang Krege)) is a very nice one, all the names are translated in such a beautiful way, and the German is in most cases nicer than is the English original. But, I did not want to discuss the german versions - sorry for the excursus.
I think I need not go into detail regarding the story, most will have read the hobbit at school, or later on when the big Lord of the Rings fever began, and those who have not read the book sure have seen the film(s) (if you like fantasy you should see the Jackson movies). All the same, since I saw the Hobbit on BD shortly before I started reading, I constantly had the dwarf-song in my mind, whenever I read the book, which came in handy when Thorin sang his song :-).
I did not manage to finish the book before I went to see the 2nd movie (The desolation of Smaug), which was a pitty, because some things are changed in a way I could not understand, and now in reading the book, I kept myself asking, when is this to happen, when is that to happen... as my memory did let go (growing old, I think ;-) ).
So all in all I love the hobbit, and I love the lord of the rings, I read both for the first time when I was about 12 and they are recurring in my reading calendar. Reading the english version had its drawbacks however, the names, as already mentioned are much more suggesting in the german translation, eg. The Shire --> Das Auenland, Rivendale --> Bruchtal... it might be that I like them more because I know them since I was little... all the same, the book tells a good story, and I am continuing with the Lord of the Rings :-) looking forward to going back to Mordor (it's been at least 12 years...).