Woohoo, another new fan! I don't feel so bad. Most of the people I know read the books years ago. I was more into the straight-up science fiction like Star Trek, Star Wars, etc..
I wound up getting the boxed set of the three LOTR books and The Hobbit for Christmas from my mom last year. Once I started in on The Hobbit, I was hooked! The books are even better than the movies, and that's saying a lot!
"Bloody Hell" is one of my favorite phrases too, but I never say it. I just don't have the accent to make it sound right. ::grin::
I'm Vinnie by the way, nice to meet you!