Ahh... the trick with Lord of the rings is skip the entire begining which is ahead of book 1. And begin reading from book 1 - The Fellowship of the Ring. That's where the story truely begins.

The begining (call it a prologue if you will) is bundled with book 1 and it is incredibly long (the size of most full novels nowadays) and monotonous. A right bore to read. It just tells of Frodo and co. going from one place to another with nothing much happenening and nothing relevant to the main plot. To be honest, i don't even know why it's there. And I think a lot of readers never reach the begining of book 1 because of it. I don't blame them. I almost didn't. The LotR is not perfect, it has many faults, but each can be forgiven for its overall genius.