I found the Lord of the Rings in high school. I had tried to read them several times, but did not realize they were a trilogy. (This was a really long time ago)
Finally a friend told me to read The Hobbit first. I was captivated and enchanted and never looked back. I literally devoured the books. When Gandalf fell in Moria I cried, when he returned in The Two Towers I leapt around my living room, shouting with joy. My parentís thought me mad. Since then I have an annual tradition of rereading the books. Always in the winter, because they are so winter books. Curled up by the fire with a cup of Earl Grey tea (cream and sugar required) and hot buttered toast. (Now I am hungry). My college roommate loved them too. She was an art major and we had pictures of hobbits and wizards hung on our dorm room walls. When I heard they were making movies from the books I was horrified. Even more horrified when I discovered who was directing them (anyone seen The Frighteners) but, waiting a month after FOTR debuted, by old college roommate drug me to see them. They were good. I loved them. I never thought of Aragorn or Legolas as romantic types. The descriptions in the book certainly did not make them seem so. Aragorn is described as tall and stern, and the elf is really a little flighty. Peter Jackson cast the roles perfectly, and directed the actors well. It is the characters I love, I think Viggo Mortensen is more than a little flakey and Orlando Bloom looks about 12 without the hair and ears. Put them in costume and character and it is a whole other story. So, since there was not Fan Fiction while I was in college, now I get to play in Middle Earth and it is a fantastic playground.