I picked up this magazine at Toys 'R Us last week. It's pretty nifty -- lots of lovely pictures and interesting text. it's divided into three sections: Creating Middle-Earth, Exploring Middle-Earth, and Celebrating Middle-Earth.
Creating Middle-Earth tells all about how Tolkien came up with the idea for his fantasy world, drawing on his love of myths and languages, his wartime experiences, and his dissatisfaction with modern fantasy stories at the time.
Exploring Middle-Earth had lots of maps and some timelines. I especially liked the timelines, as sometimes I get a bit lost as to what events happened in which age and so on. I suspect that I will be referring to those from time to time.
Celebrating Middle-Earth is about how popular Tolkien's fiction still is, the adaptations people have made, and so on.
I have only one quibble with this magazine/compilation/thing, and that's about this sentence from page 41: "In Middle-earth's version of the Big Bang, the 'Music of the Ainur' created the physical universe." Um, no... pretty sure that's the Middle-earth version of the creation story from the Bible. In the Bible, God speaks the world into existence, and in The Silmarillion, Illuvatar sings it into existence, and the Ainur embellish on his work. The magazine/compilation/thing earlier talked about Tolkien's Catholicism and how it informed his fiction, so I was pretty disappointed in the obvious mistake here. But it's one sentence out of 90+ pages, not enough to make me recommend avoiding this if you're a Tolkien fan. Don't avoid it! It's a fun and pretty collection, and like I said, I'm sure I will be referring back to it.