An old friend of mine contacted me recently, and asked for suggestions for some good fantasy stories. He had read Lord of the Rings, and enjoyed it, and was looking for some more good, engaging stories.
After replying to his request, I thought it might actually make a good blog post, so here's the text of my reply:
Well, you already named my favorite fantasy story of all time. If you enjoyed LoTR, I would also recommend The Hobbit. It was written for Tolkien's children, so it is at a lower reading level (albeit higher than you will find in modern children's literature), but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
Raymond Feist is a good author who has written probably 20 or more novels all set in the same fantasy world/universe. The very first 4-book series started with Magician: Apprentice, followed by Magician: Master, then Silverthorn and finally A Darkness At Sethanon. He's written several additional series since then, although I can't say I've completed any of them.
David Eddings' The Belgariad is a 5-book series that I enjoyed. I would say it's about the same quality as Feist. Eddings has written multiple fantasy series since then, so if you enjoy The Belgariad you might like to follow up with The Mallorean (set in the same world), or one of his other fantasy stories.
If you really want to dig into something, try Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. It finally ended after 13 books, and he died before it was done so he passed the torch to Brandon Sanderson to complete the last couple of volumes. I read through book 10 I think, and enjoyed them - in fact I'm giving serious thought to starting over at book one and reading the whole series. Be prepared to work your brain though, as the story contains no less than 6 major characters and a score of secondary but still strong characters, and each of them gets their own plot-line so it can be quite a bit to try and keep track of. The advantage anyone would have now, is that you can pick up all the volumes and read them one after another, rather than waiting 18 months between books and then having to struggle to remember what was happening to whom.
L.E. Modesitt has written several standalone novels in his world of Recluce, and I've enjoyed every one of them. A few have the same main character and supporting cast, but others are written for completely different characters. Modesitt has also written some good sci-fi, and I consider him a good author in both genres.
One of my guilty pleasures is Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, and I have several volumes of his short stories and novellas all about Conan. Don't think of the movies when you think of Conan, though - Howard's writing was actually quite good.
Hopefully that's enough to get you started. :-)