I have stated it before I have read a lot of books that I found were good stories to read. The latest ones I read that caught my attention is the life after the war series by Angela White. It is not complete but she is getting close to the end. It is about people in the USA after WWI.
Yes, the Simarillion is an epic. I love the story, even though it is such a sad story. I fell in love with all the Elves and the men who aided them fighting Morgoth. My favorite elf was King Turgon and the beautiful city of Gondolin in Tumladen. What an incredible story. What a tragic end. This lays the groundwork for everything that came afterwards chronologically, i.e. LOTR, even though LOTR was published first. After reading The Silmarillion I realized that Galadriel was one of the strongest beings alive during LOTR and why that was so. I understand who Aragon is and how he is a direct descendant of Eärendil, and through him Turgon, and through him Fingolfin, and ultimate all the way back to Fingon. And ultimately, even though it's a sad story it's a story ultimately of redemption and victory. I love it all.
My favorite book right now is Brian Staveley's "The Emporer's Blades." It's part of a trilogy, but so far I've only read the first book. It's a sort of medieval fantasy novel, but it goes so much deeper than a lot of other stories do. The author has taught history, philosophy, religion, and an array of other subjects. This is abundantly clear in the way he creates his world. While I did enjoy George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, it was a bit graphic for my liking. Staveley handles mature topics in a very tasteful way.
I think the best book I've read is called The Iron Druid. Well, it's not a book, It's a series, and what's awesome is that it's still going. The author, Kevin Hearn has done an amazing job of mixing gods, monsters, and artifacts from different legends. With an awesome plot and a grate reader, well. I enjoyed every minute. [One] thing to keep in mind though, it has strong language and some adult scenes. The first book is called Hounded. Let me know what you think.
So, I have to add one more series in here. It's a very long series by an author named Glen Cook the first book of which is The Black Company. It's a story that follows a mercenary company through its campaigns, trials, and tribulations… the twist is that this mercenary company is fighting in a fantasy setting. The book is great as it looks at things through a soldier's eyes. Even better, the way it's written sounds like a soldier wrote it. I liked the series a lot.
All the classics come to mind: Lord of the Rings, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Goethes Faust, the devine Comedy, several stories of Lovecraft…
But one story lingers in me for years. A book, totally forgotten by society. A book that changed my life and my way to think and judge things.
The legacy of Gonzalo Porras (In German: das Vermächtnis des Gonzalo Porras) by Claudia Gudelius.
It's about the real life events of a Spanish man in the age of wars against the Incas in the new world. A man who lost his voice through an injury when he was a child and since tried to find his identity. A life riddled by war and misjudgement.
I deeply recommend it.
My current favorite is Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold, a delightful space opera featuring her greatest creation, Miles Vorkosigan..