2019 Goal: Reading Top 100 Fantasy Update

At the end of 2018 I set a goal for myself of reading all of the books on the Top 100 Fantasy and Top 100 Science Fiction book lists.

Wow. I was/ am ambitious. Fortunately, I’ve read a number of them already, so it isn’t really 200 books to read, more like . . . ulp . . . 140. That’s  . . . *sigh* a bit under three books a week.

For now, I’ve started two books: The Blue Sword and Sabriel. I’ve also created a list with notes and comments about the books so you, my invisible friend, can follow along. I’ll update monthly.

Here are the fantasy books I’ve read previously (44 of them!)

100 Years of Solitude Marquez, Gabriel Garcia x F I am intrigued that this is a ‘fantasy’ book. In any case, it’s great. “The story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women.”
A Wizard of Earthsea Le Guin, Ursula x F A classic of so-called children’s literature, this is a coming of age novel that will delight adults and deserves re-reading regularly.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Carroll, Lewis x F Weird. Wonderful. An absolute classic.
American Gods Gaiman, Neil x F Strange and thought-provoking.
Assassin’s Apprentice Hobb, Robin x F First of a series; 1 and 2 are good and then it goes off the rails and not in a good way.
Bloody Crown of Conan Howard, Robert E. x F How can I describe a book so original it transcends classic? The writing is turgid, the characters nearly one-dimensional, but it’s still great.
Book of Jhereg Brust, Steven x F If you don’t know Brust and his protagonist Vlad, you must.
Color of Magic Pratchett, Terry x F Not Pratchett’s best, so find another; that said Pratchett needs to be on this list.
Crystal Cave Stewart, Mary x F One of my favorite Arthurian books ever.
Deed of Paksenarrion Moon, Elizabeth x F Superb characterization and world-building.
Dragonflight McCaffrey x F A classic for a reason (and on the list with Sci Fi to boot!); ingenious and wonderful.
Elric: Stealer of Souls Moorcock, Michael x F A doomed anti-hero with a conscience, witness to the downfall of his culture, carrying a cursed sword. Glorious.
Eye of the World Jordan, Robert x F The first in a (literally) epic span of books, this is a coming of age tale that touches on power, manipulation, finding oneself, and saving the world.
Fellowship of the Ring Tolkien, J.R.R. x F Again, a classic for a reason. FotR launched a genre that grows and evolves gloriously.
Fifth Season Jemisin, N.K. x F I’m alone in my social circle for not liking this book, but I agree that it is worthy of inclusion in the top 100.
Game of Thrones Martin, George R.R. x F The first in the series and the best, to my mind. Frankly I loathed every book after the 2nd one, and I don’t care how wonderful the dragons are.
Golden Compass Pullman, Phillip x F AWFUL. This book/trilogy is dark and awful and I can’t stand what the author puts his characters through.
Harry Potter & the Sorceror’s Stone Rowlink, J.K. x F The first in what has become a ‘must’ read for children of all ages.
Interview with the Vampire Rice, Anne x F Once there was only Dracula, then Rice came along and blew our minds with an elegant and amoral character who captured our dark fantasies and brought them into the light.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Clarke, Susanna x F I just could not get through this novel. I found the writing tortured and the plot enervating.
Kushiel’s Dart Carey, Jacqueline x F Lush world-building in a country populated by the descendants of angels and blush-inducing sex scenes make for a heady combination.
Lord Foul’s Bane Donaldson, Stephen R. x F A problematic, whiny ‘protagonist’ caught up in his self-centered righteousness makes this a difficult read. Nonetheless, it’s a classic for a reason.
Magician: Apprentice Feist, Raymond E. x F A coming of age tale and the first in the RiftWar saga; this series is beloved for a reason. (Note: I prefer Feist’s Daughter of Empire trilogy.)
Magic’s Pawn Lackey, Mercedes x F If you don’t know Lackey and her Valdemar then RUN to get this and start an adventure of a lifetime. These and their successors are on my regular reading pile.
Riddle-Master McKillip, Patricia x F Woven from Celtic mythologies and full of glorious world-building this book (and its sequels) are superb.
Storm Front Butcher, Jim x F Imagine if Gandalf got dropped into a Marlowe novel — its not your typical fantasy novel.
Swordspoint Kushner, Ellen x F A ‘cult classic’ filled with remarkable plot twists and unexpected humor. Elegant writing and scintillating wit are bonuses.
The Belgariad Eddings, David x F A classic fantasy coming of age. First read in my late teens, this series in still in my library.
The Black Company Cook, Glen x F Ugh. I really hated this book. Grown men giggling and committing atrocious acts of mayhem. If this is the best of grimdark fantasy then that’s a sub-genre I never want to explore again.
The Book of Three Alexander, Lloyd x F The first book of the series which will enchant and enthrall you. Another one still on my shelves and in rotation.
The Golem and the Jinni Wecker, Helen x F Quirky and delightful. That period of time is ripe for magical realism stories and this one fits right in.
The Hobbit Tolkien, J.R.R. x F Before The Fellowship was simply a hobbit and an adventure. Still my favorite Tolkien.
The Last Unicorn Beagle, Peter S. x F Barely a fantasy novel, lacking backstory or much context, TLU is more about the tension between magic and reality and doing what needs to be done, no matter the cost.
The Lies of Locke Lamora Lynch, Scott x F A vividly realized world with richly imagined characters, this is a must read from the modern era, destined to become a classic for all time.
The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe Lewis, C.S. x F Our introduction to Narnia, and still the best story from the series. Adults may not see beyond the religious allegory, but children see only Aslan.
The Magicians Grossman, Lev x F AWFUL. The fundamental problem is the utter lack of character growth. Wonderful things happens to Q, but he remains a  whiny, entitled, depressed child.
The Mists of Avalon Bradley, M.Z. x F Many came to alternative spirituality because of the beauty and profundity of this tale . . . The author’s problematic (to put it politely) lifestyle prevents me from recommending her writing ever again.
The Name of the Wind Rothfuss, Patrick x F The first of a trilogy and a superb world-building event. Fall into the story and emerge waiting breathlessly for the end.
The Night Circus Morgenstern, Erin x F A luscious and fantastic world with a compelling plot. I am one of the few (it seems) who didn’t love it.
The Once and Future King White, T.H, x F A childhood favorite. An exploration of totalitarianism and human nature when it comes to power and justice, all within the Arthurian mythos.
The Princess Bride Goldman, William x F True Love. RoUS. Cliffs of Insanity. Playing games of death with a Sicilian. Better as a movie, but still an awesome novel.
Watership Down Adams, Richard x F Anthropomorphized rabbits flee the destruction of their home to seek safety. Just thinking about the tale brings tears to my eyes. Have tissues handy.

 

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