The best fantasy book series I have ever read is The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. I bought a paperback on a whim a few years ago and it sat on my bookshelf for about a year because the first few pages of the prelude kind of put me off the book for a while.
It starts off with a flashback that seemed a bit overdone and without having read the series seemed meaningless and a bit bizarre, so I put it aside for one of those days when I needed to grab something to read in a hurry.
I broke my ribs about a year later and didn't have anything to read and so I picked it up again. I skipped the prelude and started the story. I couldn't put the book down and I continued reading until I finished the ten or so books that existed in the series at the time. There are still books being released from time to time and the series totals more than 12,000 pages and still growing. To learn more you can click here for the Wikipedia rundown...it is truly an amazing read. So if you are looking for something to do this summer (but I have to warn you the series is addicting) this is well worth checking out. It has been around a while so you can pick it up cheap from Amazon.com.
--The Clever Cynic, http://theclevercynic.blogspot.com/