As a fan of The Lord of the Rings books (liked them) and the movies (loved them), I finally wanted to read The Hobbit before seeing the movie. Most people seem to read The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings, but I got it backwards.
I enjoyed the novel well enough, I guess, maybe, but I found it lacking the weight that The Lord of the Rings has. It is a simple story about a simple quest to get treasure back from Smaug the dragon. The episodic nature of the novel added to its simplicity: the band go here, fight something, win, move on.
One of the best scenes is with Bilbo Baggins and Gollum asking riddles to each other. The dialogue is fun, and it helps see the origins of Gollum and the hobbits to be explored later. Just precious.