I recently bought myself the Conan centenary edition as a prezzie. I'm not much of a book reader (preferring audiobooks lately, though my interest in them has waned). I've only ever really read the comics as a kid and of course watching the two Arnie films (which were intended to be but 2 in a long series of movies).
The first two short stories, "The Phoenix on the Sword" and "The Scarlet Citadel" are brilliant, if a little unoriginal (though given they're early pulp fiction they were probably original in 1933, which is pre-Lord of the Rings). The stories in the book are sorted by publication date, which is a little odd as both stories are set when Conan was king, i.e. towards the end of his career. However Howard writes incredibly vivid battle scenes and there seem to be a lot more resplendant mailed knights in Conan's world than I remember in the comics - probably more my unfamiliarity with the King Conan era.