Brandon Sanderson's stormlight archives starting with the Way of Kings. Read them last year and they are awesome. I have heard the Wheel of Time referenced several times and enjoyed the first few books. When Robert A Jordan knew he was dying, who did he choose to finish out his epic book series? Brandon Sanderson.
I've only read his Stormlight Archives and really enjoyed them. They are very long and verbose, but the storyline is great with fantastic characters and great world building. My only complain is that if Sanderson describes clothing the same way Tolkein describes language and Martin describes food... just too much.
As far as shorter books, you mentioned LOTR... the Hobbit is great if you never read it. Also, in my opinion Tom Clancy's best book wans't part of his main series and is his one of Red Storm Rising WW3 book. The Expanse novels mentioned above are also great books with unique world building. They were born out of the back story for a planned MMORPG.