When I was younger I read some fantasy - more than TLOTR, but not too much more.
One of the best things that I read was Ursula Le Guin's The Earthsea Cycle. To me, the prose was just ... hmmm ... fluid. It was warm and hearty and expansive and pleasant all at the same time.
But, I could never figure out why it was classified as young adult fiction. The only things that merited this was that the books were short (novellas actually), and that they concerned a child/adolescent in the first book. The writing didn't seem non-adult to me. It still doesn't.
Anyway, while taking the kids to the library a month of so ago, I saw a book of collected novellas on display (Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, 1998, Robert Silverberg, Tom Doherty Associates, NY.). One of them was a new addition to the Earthsea Cycle entitled Dragonfly. Here's a snipett:
...a low, light, bare room with a small-paned window looking out on the kitchen gardens of the Great House - handsome, well-kept gardens, long rows and beds of vegetables, greens, and herbs, with berry canes and fruit trees beyond. She saw a burly, dark-skinned man and two boys come out and weed one of the vegetable plots. It eased her mind to watch their careful work. She wished she could help them at it. The waiting and the strangeness were very difficult. Once the Doorkeeper came in, bringing her a plate with cold meat and bread and scallions, and she ate because he told her to eat, but chewing and swallowing was hard work. The gardeners went away and there was nothing to watch out the window but the cabbages growing and the sparrows hopping, and now and then a hawk far up in the sky, and the wind moving softly in the tops of tall trees, on beyond the gardens.
I don't have any idea why this writing gets to me so much, but it does. Rereading a book never evokes the same feeling that it did the first time. And, I thought that the feeling that I got from the first time I read Earthsea was just one of my many fading memories of the 1970's. But, it returned with this novella. I feel like I was given a 40th birthday present.
Note that the book also contains another edition to Stephen King's Dark Tower series entitled "The Little Sisiters of Eluria". I read it, because I've never read any of King's fantasy, but I've always liked his horror stuff (especially The Stand, The Dead Zone, Pet Semetary, and Gerald's Game). I was not very impressed with this novella - but not enough to be dissuade from reading the rest of the Dark Tower stuff in the future.