I had read The Hobbit once before, when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in theaters. But I guess I didn't read it very well because when I read it this time I had forgotten everything. Oh well.
I really like the way The Hobbit is written. It's much easier to read than Lord of the Rings (even though if I tried reading that again I could probably do it). Even though it is a bit slow in parts, I felt the pacing was alright most of the time. I love how Gandalf just shows up and is all "Ok Bilbo you're going on an adventure no time for chitchat LEAVE NOW." I especially love how Bilbo ends up outside his house without even a hat or his pipe. That really showed how suddenly he was shoved into this.
My favorite character in the book has to be Beorn. I mean, come on. He can turn into a huge bear! How cool is that?! He also really cares for his animals enough to follow Bilbo's group for days just to see if the ponies are safe. I laughed at the way Gandalf tricks him into letting all the dwarves and Bilbo stay in his house.
I felt like the ending sort of dragged on and on. I mean, they got rid of Smaug and got the treasure. I felt throughout the whole story that the dragon would be the climax of the book. The story could've ended there with Bilbo just returning home with his share of the treasure. But instead it goes on into this big final battle scene that just felt sort of tacked on and suddenly the lead dwarf decides to be a jerk to Bilbo. It didn't ruin the book for me, but I was pulled from the story a bit.
Overall, The Hobbit is a great story, even if it wasn't written with the audience in mind. I've just always had a soft spot for epic fantasy adventures though, and this one is no exception.