Tag Archive for Lucy A. Snyder

High fantasy reading list

I was talking with Lucy Snyder at the Ohioana Book Festival about how I wish I was better able to respond to students’ high fantasy stories since so many are interested in writing them, yet with a background in realistic literary fiction, high fantasy just isn’t something I’ve read a lot. By god, Lucy was kind enough to put together a reading list for me. I think it’s awesome that someone as busy as she is (she has eight stories to write by the end of the year–all of which are solicited by editors–and that’s only the top of her to-do list!) would take the time to put this together. Thanks, Lucy! She gave me permission to share it on the blog, and again, I note her generosity in opening this up to other readers. Here it is, verbatim from her email so I can include her wonderful notes:

I suggest starting with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; if you don’t read any other high fantasy, read these four books, because so many other works are derived from them.

Background books (not fantasy, but lots of fantasy novels were inspired by these):
Beowulf
Epic of Gilgamesh
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Greco-Roman mythology
The Old Testament

More novels, in order of importance (IMO):
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
The Earthsea Trilogy – Ursula K. Le Guin
A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin (book one of his A Song of Fire and Ice series)
The King of Elfland’s Daughter – Lord Dunsany
The Once and Future King – T.H. White
The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
Dragonflight – Anne McCaffrey (science fiction, but “feels” like high fantasy and has influenced lots of fantasy authors)
Lyonesse – Jack Vance
The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe (also actually SF, but never mind 🙂
The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan (Book one of his Wheel of Time series)
Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake
Conan of Cimmeria – Howard, Sprague de Camp, Carter (or other Conan books written by Howard)
Elric of Melnibone – Michael Moorcock
Any/all books in the Oz series – L. Frank Baum
The Black Company – Glen Cook
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser – Fritz Leiber
Nine Princes in Amber – Roger Zelazny

More recent excellent epic/high fantasy, if you need a palate cleanser:
His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novik
Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Range of Ghosts – Elizabeth Bear