I discovered this forum,and wanted to suggest some authors to read that aren't as popular as most here.
Guy Gavriel Kay-He writes very good, even lyrical epic fantasy. The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy and Tigana are awesome reads.
Manly Wade Wellman-He is REALLY tough to find these days. Most people know him from his short story "The Desrick on Yandro," but His John the Balladeer stories and the Beyonders are good books. He's something very rare, a sf/fantasy writer that is a regionalist.
Gordon *************** the dragon and the george series, which inspired the cartoon "the flight of dragons" (which murdered the original books XD, and also the chylde cyle..with books like dorsai and the final encyclopedia. Straight up science fiction and fantasy.
Lois mcmaster bujold- If you like david drake's military fiction, her vorkorskigan (spelling) novels are very good.
CJ Cherryh-her foreigner series and rusalka series are good.
There are a LOT of good authors out there like Gene Wolfe, Melissa Scott, Alan Dean Foster, Cordwainer Smith, James Blish, Alfred Bester, and Pat Cadigan. I used to work in a large chain bookstore, and it made me sad at how many good authors get crowded out of shelf space because robert jordan or phillip k **** clogged the shelves with book after book. If you can find a good used bookstore, there's usally a lot wider selection than in most chains, and you might even find some forgotten authors like Jim Aiken.