I certainly don't dislike it, so what's up with that? And there are lots of small moments I really need to renew in my brain. So, I decided to start again on Saturday night, and right away I hit the wall.
Aha -- last night I decided to pick up the paperback copy that came with the last "reading" set I bought, instead of taking the large hardcover annotated Hobbit to bed. Fell asleep with my nose in the spine just moments after Bilbo picked up the ring.
The annotations are interesting - too much so, apparently, for a geek like me. I don't know if it would have gotten better further on, but the beginning is so heavily annotated that I never picked up a narrative thread.
I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner, since I had a similar problem reading the histories - had to force myself to hold all the asides till the end of the chapters.
Anyway I am barreling along now (ha ha)