So I finished the Hobbit, the first time since I was 11 (2002), and now I'm onto the Fellowship and realizing that I may not have actually read this book way back when like I thought I had. And I can see why some, like Kaz, "loathe" the Jackson films as there is a LOT that was skipped over or transformed when adapted to film, which definitely tarnishes the films for me.
Also, the story is absolutely nowhere near as grim or melodramatic as Jackson's film portrays it, as the Hobbits appear to be quite nonchalant about their run-ins with the Ring Wraith early on. Not to mention Gandalf actually touches the Ring when filling in Frodo on its lore (something I was unaware of, leading me to think I didn't read the LOTR when I was a kid).
That said, the jolly spirit of these books is quite invigorating and definitely what I needed to escape from the horrible bleakness of current events.