This will be a short one, so I can get it over with an get to the Good Omens review, a book I read about 2 months ago and have been wanting to post the review for for ages.
The short stories* were Smith of Wooton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. They were nice little stories, fairy tales really. Written before and after Lord of the Rings (my all-time favorite series), they're really not at all related to Middle-Earth, and seem more like little exercises in story telling that Tolkien wrote for kids. They're more like The Hobbit, really, with Farmer Giles featuring a dragon and the cutesy dialogue and all that. Not bad stories to tell your kids, really.
So, they were a fun read but not really that big a deal. It's always nice to read something else by Tolkien, and after you've read LOTR and The Silmarillion you might as well read this. They're short and pretty funny sometimes.
And if you should really, really, really read LOTR if you haven't yet. And The Hobbit.
*They were each about 200 pages long, so they count.