Required Reading for the Fantasy Buff

I’m going to do something different today and just give a list of books I think should be required reading for a fantasy buff or a fantasy author. I’ll also give a few brief reasons why I believe such books belong on the list.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (children’s) and The Lord of the Rings (adult) – come on, it’s Tolkien.
  2. C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (children’s) – another famous author. Christian literature that provides an example of how a religion or specific philosophy can influence a piece of literature.
  3. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (children’s) – talking animals. Haven’t read it in a while, but it’s a classic.
  4. 4.      Richard Adams’ Watership Down (children’s) – talking animals (rabbits) perfected. The first real book I ever read.
  5. Patricia A. McKillip’s The Riddlemaster of Hed – another childhood favorite. Not sure why I put this on the list, though.
  6. Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles – classic AD&D style adventure featuring a bad guy everyone loves (Raistlin Majere).
  7. Robert Jordan’s (and Brandon Sanderson’s) Wheel of Time – okay, only the first book should be required because the series is too long to demand of anyone, but it provides a good example of a giant series that I personally found rewarding.
  8. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Series – provides insights on how to make a distinctive magic system.


Well, that’s eight. I think they are all deserving. Anyone have any they would like to add?

2 thoughts on “Required Reading for the Fantasy Buff

  1. Alex

    A few other essentials:
    Earthsea series by Ursula k. Leguin, Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, and
    to a lesser extent, the Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper
    Also, technically Raistlin wasn’t the bad guy until the second trilogy 😉

    I can’t call it essential, but “The Charwoman’s Shadow” by Lord Dunsany is a profoundly amazing example of early satirical low-fantasy.


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