So wrote Ursula K. Le Guin, and I have heard the opinion echoed many times. I share it myself. And if you live in Michigan (or near enough; N.E. Brigand, I’m talking to you), you might think about swinging by a public reading at Hope College this weekend. From a local news story promoting the “marathon reading”:
The department of English at Hope College will sponsor a marathon reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring in the college’s Pine Grove on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and 25. The reading will extend from noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. All are welcome to sign up for 10-minute reading slots, either in advance at the department of English, located on the third floor of Lubbers Hall, or at the event itself if slots are still available.Fifteen hours for approximately 175,000 words (not counting the Foreword or Prologue) — it’s going to be tight. This would be a reading pace of just under 200 words per minute, which really seems like wishful thinking. In all likelihood, the reading will either have to run over its allotted time, or else leave the Fellowship before the breaking at Amon Hen. In any case, it sounds like a wonderful event.
 Le Guin, Ursula K. “Rhythmic Pattern in The Lord of the Rings.” Meditations on Middle-earth. Ed. Karen Haber. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001. 101–16, p. 101–2.