im not sure if this is the right thread but ive read lotr, hobbit and im reading the silmarillion. wen i finish sil. im planning to read one of the history of middle earth. which is the best one to start with (by the way the silmarillion is the best book ive read so far...even though i havent finished it)
You proplably should start from number one and make your way up from that. But if a particular part of middle-earths history interests you you maybe should jump to a volume that tells more of the subject.
1. Book of Lost Tales
2. Book of lost tales 2
3. The Lays of Beleriand
4. The Shaping of Middle-earth
5. The Lost Road and other writings
6. The return of the Shadow
7. The Treason of Isengard
8. The War of the Ring
9. Sauron Defeated
10. Morgoth's Ring
11. The War of the Jewels
12. The peoples of Middle-earth
I recommend going from start to finish however my favourite is Morgoth's Ring, though I have to admit I have read none of them from page to page. Remember these are not really stories. They are notes and short tales with Christopher Tolkien commenting on them. They are basically JRR Tolkien's notes.
I have spent alot of time looking at my computer screen and i managed to read them all. I have to say my favorite was the lays of beleriand. It is not that hard to read them because they are very interesting.
HME includes the only complete 'Silmarillion' tradition ever written, and a fairly full version (has a major gap from Túrin becoming an outlaw to Earendil coming into the West). Page after page of poetic tradition concerning the Túrin and Beren tales (though not completed, there's quite a bit). Complete Annalistic traditions, of which even the updated Grey Annals goes pretty far. The only 'fullish' (albeit very early before Tolkien invented Frodo's world) version of The Fall of Gondolin (example from the early Book of Lost Tales. The later version in UT was abandoned before completed). At least one complete version of the Drowning of Anadűnę. Just for examples!
The drafts for The Lord of the Rings, complete poems... some stuff is relatively brief or does not read in the same manner as The Lord of the Rings, but The History of Middle-Earth is much more than worth the cash in my opinion.