I recently got the Tolkien book about long before the ring of the trilogy. it is called "the children of Hurin". it isn't all that long, but he is a master storyteller. I'm about halfway through it. I think m trying to drag it out. here is my favorite quote so far. a dwarf said this to a human. "You are one of the fools that spring would not mourn if you perished in winter"
my other favorite storyteller is Terry Goodkind, his books are much longer though.