The Hobbit is a book by JRR Tolkien written prior to, but acting as a prequel to, his Lord Of The Rings series of books. The book introduces the character of the hobbit, a short, stocky humanoid with furry feet and a polite manner. They live in homes they tunnel into hillsides, and generally keep to themselves.

In particular, one hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is befriended by Gandalf the Grey Wizard and asked to come along on one of his adventures. Joining up with Gandalf and a team of dwarfs, Bilbo goes off with them on a quest to destroy a dragon. Along the way, after being caught by Orcs, Bilbo stumbles across a ring in a dark cave. This, not knowing it's worth, he drops into his pocket and forgets about it.

After destroying the dragon, and several other adventures, including being captured by giant spiders, held hostage by Wood Elves (where Bilbo discovers the ring holds the power of invisibility, allowing him to elude capture), and a battle with Orcs, Bilbo returns home with a hefty treasure from the dragon's horde.

This book gives a good background into the hobbits, the Middle Earth setting, and a brief insight into the Ring itself. It is a must-read for anyone interested in starting the Lord Of The Rings trilogy as the story and characters (and especially the olde worlde writing style) become easier to understand.