This is actually a question I can’t answer, it should really be answered by someone who majored in English Literature at university and I believe I do have friends who answer that description, but I’m going to share a few thoughts about him anyway.
Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, he was three years old when his mother took him and his younger brother to England for a lengthy visit. They ended up staying there as his father died in South Africa. He was very much influenced by George MacDonald’s fantasy books. He married Edith Wharton in March 1916 and used their love and courtship as the background for the story of Beren and Lúthien, ensuring these names were added to their tombstones.
As to why we love his works so much? My feeling is that it stems from the depth to which he wrote. He wrote the back story for many of the legends mentioned in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he wrote the languages he used and I feel this gives us a much deeper and richer understanding of the whole. We get more than just the story, we get the background behind the story and the languages, the disputes between the different people and it all goes to make it a very rich story. I believe he wrote much of the back story before the publications of these two works and therefore had a very good idea of the cultures he was writing about. He was quite enamoured with poetry and wrote the poems published in these books. The more you know about a topic the better you can write about it and this is what I feel happened. The fact that it just happens to be about swashbuckling adventure with elves, dwarves, magic and dragons might also have something to do with it.
I’ve been quite taken with Tolkien since I read The Hobbit when I was fairly young. I just loved the idea of going off on an adventure and meeting with a dragon. It was just such a wonderful idea. I’ve read and reread both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so many times, I’ve tried to read The Adventures of Tom Bombadil but that’s poetry and I really have trouble with poetry, I haven’t managed to get through The Silmarillion despite it being such an important work. Unlike Peter Kenny who will feature on Collectors this Friday. Kenny was given Lord of the Rings 35 years ago and wasn’t very excited by it. Some years later he was introduced to The Hobbit and the magic stuck. He’s an avid collector of Tolkien works and I’m very keen to see his collection shown.