I had a comment on my "The Hobbit" post that I would like to address here. In the comment the question was posed - do I think that "The Hobbit" is a good introduction to fantasy for someone who has never read the genre before, or should a person start with something else. I think it depends on the age of the reader. I received "The Hobbit" from my sister for my 12th birthday (that was 40+ years ago) and I couldn't put it down. I'm not sure that I would have picked up a copy at my current age had I not already read it when I was young. Granted, I am enjoying it just as much - maybe more - as I did then. Hmmm.
My daughter, who just turned 18 in December, is planning to read "The Lord of the Rings" this spring. I will be interested to see what she thinks of it. She is a big fan of C.S. Lewis. She did a term paper on him last year. I had to get permission to read her Narnia books last summer because they are so precious to her. Right now she is immersed in King Arthur and Merlin. I bought her Mary Stewart's trilogy for Christmas. She has also read all of the Harry Potter books. I would say she is a bona fide fantasy fan. But then, she started young as well.
I'm trying to think of someone who has never read a fantasy and what they DO read. My sister is an avid reader. She reads a variety of genres, but not many fantasy books - oh wait - she has read the "Outlander" series (or some of them) by Diana Gabaldon. And, she's read Harry Potter. She may be interested in Tolkein. I'll have to ask her.
Where do you think is a good place to start someone just venturing into the fantasy genre?