In 2003 the first movie came out. One of my best friends at the time (unfortunately, she cut off all contact. I miss her) is a HUGE Tolkien fan, so we went to see the movie. I think we went four times. It was then that I read the books. I'm not the most literature-minded person, so I ended up liking the movies better.
I spent three, if not more, years with these movies. I made online friends. I wrote (bad) fan fiction. For myself, and others, we spent a significant chunk of time with these characters.
Not being a Tolkien purist, I'm looking forward to the Hobbit. I last read the book as a Junior in High School, so I don't remember much.
I lost my Extended Editions in the divorce, so I spent the day watching the movies on TNT. I sobbed most of my way through Return of the King. It was a good day. Good memories.