Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fantasy Novels 101

I love the fantasy genre of fiction. I love being able to be taken to another world where anything can happen. I feel like sometimes fantasy gets a bad reputation for being just for kids or something because there's magic. I don't think that's the case. What's so awesome about fantasy is you can deal with real issues and problems and emotions but in this epic world and I think sometimes it helps us to learn even better than we would be able to reading "normal" fiction. It's a great way to portray people and situations and issues so we think about them in a different way.

And you know... dragons, fairies, and such are awesome.

If I met someone who had never read any fantasy novels ever and wanted a taste of what the genre is, these are ten books I would recommend. Think of this as Fantasy 101.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

It's a classic and everyone knows the story and movies. But how many people have really read the book? Or maybe they've read it when they were a kid and it's been awhile. I'm all about going back to the original and seeing where it all started.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone by JK Rowling

Because... obviously! I love Harry Potter, but this series has become a staple in the fantasy genre. In fact, it's opened the doors and influenced modern childrens/young adult/fantasy novels. Therefore, if you haven't read Harry Potter, you need to.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Another classic - but one I truly feel like not many people have read. Let me tell you - IT IS WAY DIFFERENT THAN THE MOVIE! When you see movies like The Great and Powerful Oz, it's more based on/inspired by the books, not the movie from 1939 with Judy Garland. Trust me - there is a HUGE difference. Besides, this book was kind of like the Harry Potter of it's day. Everyone read and loved this book and all of the ones which followed. (Yes, it's a series.) This is a must if you want to see some of the roots of the fantasy genre.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is another staple for fantasy/science fiction. I hadn't read any of his books before and a friend told me this was a great introduction to his writing. It's fantastic! It's about this normal guy who falls into this other world under the streets of London.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit is probably one of the best introductions to JRR Tolkien and Middle Earth. Let's be honest - The Lord of the Rings trilogy is kind of intimidating. The Hobbit though is much less so. I read it in 7th grade for a literature class and it definitely one of the books which made me want to read more Tolkien and other fantasy novels.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

I know, it's another children's book, and it could be taken as science fiction depending on how you define things. However, it's also another classic about time travel and space and going on great adventures. There's crazy creatures and planet hopping and other awesome things in it.

The Princess Bride by William Golden

No, it's not just a hilarious movie. It's a book too! If you love the movie, you need to read the book too.

The Works of the Brothers Grimm

Okay, you don't have to read every single one of their fairy tales. (There are a lot of them!) But you can find collections of these classic stories and I think they're fascinating. We all are familiar with fairy tales, but most of the time it's modern versions. Or even 1930s versions from Disney. Some of these aren't even the originals, but just the Grimm brothers version. But if you love fairy tales, you have to go back to the start and see where it all came from. Also, there are a ton of stories which aren't as famous which are still awesome!

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Why are so many fantasy books written for children? I don't know! But honestly, just because it's technically a "childrens" book that doesn't mean adults don't love and appreciate them. If you go in chronological order for The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician's Son is first. However, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first one which was published and the most famous of the Chronicles. Yes, it's also Christian fantasy, but whether or not you are a Christian you'll still love this book. Who doesn't want to find a magical world while going through their closet?

Today I'm linking up with The Broke and Bookish for 10 on Tuesday where I recommend 10 books of a specific genre to someone who has not read any. You can link up by clicking here.

What books would you tell someone to read if they had never read any fantasy? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?


  1. The only one I haven't read is Neil's, but I do need to! The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorites!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. I haven't read Neverwhere or A Wrinkle in Time (MUST remedy that one) but the others are all favorites, either from my own childhood or from reading to my children. Great list! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of the first books I remember my father reading to me - we didn't have a TV when I was little, so my dad would read aloud to my mom and me every evening.

  3. For a long time, I didn't read fantasy/sci fi at all. It just didn't appeal to me. But I'm slowly coming around. These are definitely some great suggestions!


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