A lot of people have stated they have a hard time following Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=86083
My suggestion (which helped me immensely) is to get a copy of The Atlas of Middle-Earth (which should be available at any well-stocked book store). It’s got nice maps, and capsule descriptions which helped walk me thru what was going on, and put it into context. It enhanced my enjoyment and comprehension quite a bit!