Upon realizing that summer was already halfway over (*gasp!*), I decided it was time for a summer reading list. But I didn’t want to waste my time on just any book–I wanted books that were unforgettable.
Thankfully, the internet is full of knowledgeable people. I asked the fantasy-lovers of reddit for their favorite book. They answered with dozens of their favorite stories. Using some of the highlights, I concocted a “Grand Summer 2017 Reading List” …that I’ll hopefully finish before summer 2018. It includes both nostalgic childhood-favorites and beloved tales discovered in more recent years.
Without further ado, here are the titles.
1 – The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
“It wasn’t just a thriller, it had weight and depth, and I could read it several times and learn something new each time. I could really get lost in a fictional world full of wonders.”
“I love it, the prose is just beautiful.”
“It GRIPPED me. My dad gave me his copy from when he was in his twenties, and I devoured it. I got completely sucked into the world, the descriptions, the emotions it stirred. I felt like I was a part of something huge, and could spend hours imagining me riding along with Frodo and company on another adventure.”
2 – Harry Potter by JK Rowling
“That series got me into reading and changed my life. Harry Potter was not just books to me. Hogwarts was my home. The people there were my family. It’s the first fantasy setting in which I let my imagination wander freely. It got me out of tough times when I got bullied. Helped me with my anxiety. And it’s like that for a lot people from my generation. Harry Potter will always mean a lot to me.”
“I was six which is making the fact that it’s the 20th anniversary this year make me feel quite old. Although I got it when I was five I remember not looking it that much. Came back a year later and fell in love. I read it so much I could pretty much recite the first chapter word perfect. My whole family used to read them, and go to the movies as they came out. I still learn new things every time I read them.”
3 – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
“I don’t have a pretty story about when I was a kid reading books. I basically just started about 2 years ago…I thought to myself that If I wanted to read fantasy I would start with a new series. First fantasy book I read was The Final Empire and ever since then 90% of what I read is fantasy.”
Mistborn: Hero of Ages
“The writing is a little weaker, the characters aren’t really grey but more black and white but the red herrings, the twists and how everything just makes sense(still i haven’t read anything that rivals mistborn when it comes to this).”
4 – Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
“Of all the fantasy I’ve read over the years Howl’s Moving Castle is by far my favourite. I hate to think how many times I’ve read it. I just love the setting and the magic and every part really.”
5 – The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
“Found it by complete chance in the local, tiny library because it had been accidentally placed on the wrong shelf (horror, instead of the tiny table with the miserably small collection of F/SF books they were offering). Took it home because, why not? And basically inhaled it over the following weekend. I was 14 then, and I think that book was the first time I realized that a girl could actually be the hero in a work of fiction that was not romance, but adventure.”
6 – Belgariad & Malloreon by David Eddings
“The Belgariad got me with how human it was. Again, read it as a teenager, and wasn’t so exposed to the Heroes Journey trope. But following along with Garion’s coming-to-age-and-power story was powerful to me, as someone who floundered with his place in the world. The characters were not these marble statues of virtue and single-mindedness. It was written with humour and a grounded sense of self. And it was the series that led me to my fiance. Both of us are avid fans, and David Eddings was what we bonded over.”
7 – Mermaid’s Song by Alida Van Gores
“I was around 16 when I first read it. It’s the only book I’ve ever read about mermaids that creates a true fantastical world setting for them that has nothing to do with humans. The societies, the way it paints their everyday life, the interactions with animals – all of it is wonderfully done. Plus it has an awesome heroine, just a hint of magic, and amazing Sea Dragons…
“No other book in my 40 years of reading has touched me, and still moves me, the way this book does. Sadly, it was a one-hit wonder, as the author died very young without writing anything else.”
8 – Uprooted by Naomi Novik
“Being Polish I really got a kick out of the Polish references. And I enjoyed that it was a personal story, even though it had larger implications.”
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Beyonders by Brandon Mull
Your Turn – What’s your favorite book? How old were you when you first read it? What was special about it? Why did you read it in the first place? What made it memorable? Let me know in the comments!
Esther Davis writes family friendly science fiction and fantasy. She has an upcoming book, A Dog, 3 Cats, and a Dragon, and regularly posts new stories on her blog. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or by subscribing to this blog.