You say Potato, I say ...
Although I appreciated Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, I did so more from a perspective of appreciating the architecture and framework than the story itself. It was truly a masterpiece of creation, and a great work, but, to me, a fan of Robert E. Howard first, the characters didn't sound like they were talking, they sounded like I was hearing what they meant.
There are obviously people who would disagree with me. But what I found was that Dennis McKiernan's work, while clearly an homage in ways and surely draws influences from LOTR, was more emotively satisfying. I am well aware that this is sacrilege to the fans of Fantasy.
But, taste is a personal thing. I like my characters to be human. Unless of course, they aren't. I heard the emotions in the voices of McKiernan's characters.
Dennis McKiernan's home page
So, I need to ask you: are you tired of winter? Do you need a fun read?