Having been voted "The Greatest Book of the Millennium" chances are you are already familiar with this epic manuscript. J. R. R. Tolkien is the grandfather of fantasy as we know it, having invented many of the characteristics popularly associated with fictional races such as Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Orcs. Even if this wasn't such a great story (and it is) it would still be near the top of the list due to its sheer influence over the fantasy/high fantasy genre as a whole—not just literary, but games and movies as well. Tolkien himself is interesting to read about. With a background in the study of language, time spent in actual warfare, and a vast knowledge of mythology, he was the perfect mix of knowledge and creativity to give life to our favourite genre.
The story itself is appropriate for all ages and follows the adventure of Frodo Baggins, a hobbit who has come into the care of a very powerful relic. If you think you know the full depth of the story, having only watched the movies, then guess again. Everyone should own a well-worn version of this book, even if digital media is your preference.
The Hobbit is the single-book prequel to this trilogy, which is another essential read for fantasy buffs. It follows Bilbo, Frodo's older cousin and guardian, as he first acquires a rather important trinket from Gollum.
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. More on Goodreads.