Some weeks have more posting time than others so I'm cashing in an "easy" chip today and sharing a photographic representation of my "Appendix N":
That's the annotated Hobbit on the left, more Tolkien, original series Conan, original author's cut Conan etc, Elric, then King Arthur on the right. Up on top we have Complete Enchanter, Worm Ouroboros, and the Prydain book collection. All of this stuff I read either before I started playing D&D or read it the first year or two that I was playing. I'd call it the core of my early fantasy reading.
Note: These are not all the original copies that I was reading - those paperbacks got tossed in a backpack, taken on the school bus, loaned to friends, read by the pool, etc.
These would be the "later" part of my fantasy reading, basically the rest of the 80's. I think a couple of those Swords books bleed into the 90's but you get the idea. That's the Thieves' World series on the left, plus Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame, then Saberhagen's Empire of the East and Swords series, the first 3 fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books (with a pink cover of all things), then the rest of Moorcock's books - Corum, Hawkmoon, etc, and then Laurence Watt-Evans Garth the Overman series. There were a lot of fair to crappy D&D books consumed in that time as well but those live on a different shelf, at least the few I still have.
Anyway, when I think about "Fantasy" as a genre, these are at the heart of my frame of reference.