The Silmarillion is the collection of lore, myths and history of Middle-Earth. It was compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien’s son, and gives not only a depth of understanding into the world of The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, but contains many interconnected short stories that are brilliant by their own rights.
I was given The Silmarillion as a challenge by my friend Ben, who kindly loaned me his copy. He has long been a Tolkien nut, and as I had already read (and enjoyed) The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he recommended this to me as one of his favourite titles. The timing happily coincided with the release of Peter Jackson’s second installment of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and I am so glad I read this first as it gave me a bit of insight into certain aspects of the film.