Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reading beyond Tolkien

As we finish our course and head into a summer that might contain some new reading, what authors (other than Tolkien) will you be reading or would you recommend to others who enjoy Tolkien's work?

One of my personal favorites is Guy Gavriel Kay, a fantasy writer, who got started by helping Christopher Tolkien compile The Silmarillion. If you are looking for high fantasy to read, consider The Fionavar Tapestry by Kay. It makes me laugh and weep in some similar ways to Tolkien's texts.

6 comments:

Radagast said...

I know this has come up in our class and I assume most people have already read it, but if you haven't read Harry Potter, I strongly recommend it! My personal favorite series!

Elladan said...

I am going to try to finish The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales this summer. I have started them both previously, but have never been able to find the time to actually read them in their entirety. I am also very curious about Farmer Giles of Ham, and would love to delve into The Adventures of Tom Bombadil from our Tolkien Reader.

Miriel said...

I'm definitively going to finish the Silmarillion.
100 years of solitude and The Island are two other books I'm going to read... haha but they aren't fantasy.
For people who like King Arthur, I would highly recommend Mary Steward, who wrote a series. Crystal Cave is the first one, and the best in my opinion.
Also Mists of Avalon (its like 1000 pages) is really awesome if you have the time and motivation! It is through the eyes of the women.

Finwe said...

It is not exactly fantasy but Water For Elephants was an excellent book. Also, they aren't very long but A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels are excellent. I think I will try to finish the silmarillian this summer.

Thengel said...

I read waaaaay too much fantasy for my own good. So here is my long-winded list of suggestions:

1) I support Dr. Donovan's recommendation; Guy Gavriel Kay is a fantastic writer and I especially loved a novel titled The Last Light of the Sun.

2) There are the obvious ones...do check out Narnia, do check out Harry Potter. I did enjoy those books. However, I can't really pitch for several other popular writers, like Robert Jordan and Terry Brooks. I just never got into them.

3) STEPHEN LAWHEAD. I don't particularly recommend Lawhead's Arthurian cycle, but he writes beautifully, mostly about Celtic/British lore, myth, and history. His King Raven trilogy is my favorite adaptation of the Robin Hood story EVER. The Song of Albion trilogy ranks even higher; I absolutely loved it. Other books I recommend of his include Patrick and Byzantium.

4) GEORGE R.R. MARTIN. Yes, HBO did just release its series based on Martin's books...and I'm actually quite enjoying it! Martin's best known series is A Song of Ice And Fire. The books are ginormous (which always makes me happy) and endlessly complex and political. If you have problems with good and evil being too black and white in fantasy books, read these-- you're never sure who's good in the end.

5) TERRY GOODKIND. Please, please, please don't base an opinion of these books off of seeing the CW's "Legend of the Seeker". That series hurt my soul. I think that Goodkind is quite a prosaic writer, and most people who love The Sword of Truth really get absurdly attached to the characters. I want to marry Richard. That is all.

6) ANNE MCCAFFREY. Dragons! Dragons! Dragons! Dragons! Best dragons ever! I love these dragons. Dragons! (hint: The Dragonriders of Pern. The initial trilogy is the best, along with Dragonsdawn and the Harper Hall trilogy.)

7) MARY STEWART. In my opinion, this is the best literary adaptation of the Arthur stories. It's just hands down brilliant. If you love Arthur, read Stewart's Merlin series. Then go tell Malory how uncool he is.

Honorary mentions: Robin Hobb (I'm just barely starting to get into Hobb, but enjoying The Soldier Son trilogy so far), Patricia Bray (she's not well known, but I loved The Sword of Change), and Brandon Sanderson (Elantris).

Sci Fi? Tad Williams, Orson Scott Card. Magical realism? Charles de Lint, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman.

I'll follow up if I remember anymore! But that should give you a bit of an idea at the moment!! :D

Miriel said...

Thanks very much for all your suggestions Thengel! I wrote them all down... hopefully i'll get to some of them this summer :)
There are so many good books to read!!!!!