View Full Version : Recommendations from fellow writers

05-01-2008, 03:25 PM
I'll admit, I am not very widely read and I understand this to be a weakness in my craft as a writer. I humbly ask you fellow writers to please recommend great pieces of literature (preferably fiction/fantasy, since that's what I'd like to write-- actually, that's what I do write, but would like to write better) that I should read, which are classics and which you find to be outstanding, which I should read in order to improve my craft. I've already read LOTR and all the Potter books, if they apply at all... Oh, I feel uncomfortable... Anyway, please do give me some recommendations for books I should definately try and get my hands on. Thank you. :)

Matera the Mad
05-02-2008, 05:48 AM
I'd be the last to say that some of my favorite books don't apply. I'm catching up on Harry Potter right now. Ever read Roger Zelazny? If his Amber series isn't a classic, it ought to be.

05-02-2008, 05:52 AM
Thanks, Matera! I'll look for it now.

05-02-2008, 07:23 AM
Here's Gary Gygax's (the creator of Dungeons and Dragons) recommended reading list:

Classic Fantasy Literature (http://ulmo.mux.net/fantasy/)

Some of the work listed is science fiction, but a quick check of the cover via Amazon should tell you which is which. :)

I should look into some of these myself at some point; apart from LotR my fantasy library is mostly contemporary.


05-02-2008, 07:48 AM
Thanks, DragonHeart!

05-02-2008, 08:16 AM
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy by Phillip Pullman

Oh, and CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. Must read.

05-02-2008, 08:18 AM
Thank you, Exir!

05-02-2008, 04:34 PM
These are not all classic fantasy, as some spill into sci-fi and other genres, but they are great on the imagination/world building/classics from my childhood and today.

Patricia C. Wrede (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/patricia-c-wrede/)
Anne McCaffrey (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/anne-mccaffrey/) : specifically her Tower and hive series, Moretta, and Dragonflight (the first book in the Pern world)
David Weber (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/david-weber/)
Eric Flint (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/eric-flint/) 1632 - GREAT book.
LKH (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/laurell-k-hamilton/) : but only the Anita Blake series through book 4 or 5. After that they majorly suck and could be used as a guide on how NOT to write. First couple were brilliant though.
J.D. Robb (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/r/j-d-robb/) : These are technically romance, but they are set in the future. I only point them out because I think they are a really different and great writing style from some of the heavy thick tomes I listed before, so they are a nice counterpoint.
Piers Anthony (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/piers-anthony/) : Funny, quick, but I can only take so many punny, punny, puns. :) His first four Incantations of Immortality series are FANTASTIC. Don't know about the rest, though I just saw a new one came out. (anyone read it? Is it anygood? let me know!)
Robert Aspirin (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/robert-asprin/) Myth books are cute
R A Salvatore (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/r-a-salvatore/) His Drizzt series starts with Homeland. I made it about 10 books in, got tired of it. :)
Tad Williams (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/tad-williams/) : Great books but very heavy reading
Robert Jordan (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/j/robert-jordan/) : Wheel of Time series through book 7-8 is good. I read them consecutively and got overloaded, lol.
Brian Jacques (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/j/brian-jacques/) : Redwall is a true classic
Not an author (I will get to them, :)) but one of my favorite all time books. Good Omens (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/terry-pratchett/good-omens.htm).
Neil Gaiman (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/neil-gaiman/) - Awesomely good
Terry Pratchett (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/terry-pratchett/) - Also awesomely good, and funny
Hmmmm....I am sure I have a million more. You should probably ask in the sci/fi fantasy forum. They might even have a running list somewhere they could direct you to.

ETA: Duh! Simon R. Green (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/simon-r-green/). I am reading his Nightstalker series right now, very quick, fun, dark, nitty gritty books. Almost Film Noir but for books. Book Noir? Anyways. Good books!

Mr Flibble
05-02-2008, 04:42 PM
you forgot CJ Cherryh. (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/c-j-cherryh/) Some of her stuff is Sci Fi, but she does a nice line in gritty fantasy. I particularly reccommend the Morgaine series

05-02-2008, 04:56 PM
I'd be the last to say that some of my favorite books don't apply. I'm catching up on Harry Potter right now. Ever read Roger Zelazny? If his Amber series isn't a classic, it ought to be.
I don't understand why, but he gets mentioned so rarely when you consider how popular he used to be. Maybe he only appealed to other writers, and that's why he won all those awards...

Therefore, it's probably a good idea for writers to read what he wrote, just for the exposure. So I'm going to recommend digging into his work beyond Amber. Take Lord of Light, for example. And he wrote many great short stories in addition to his novels, but finding them in one place may be difficult--I've seen them scattered through anthologies over the years.

I also have to recommend LeGuin. She was sort of contemporary with Zelazny. If you want to see where Ms Rowling got her inspiration, read LeGuin's Earthsea novels.

05-02-2008, 05:00 PM
I just finished a book by Julia Cameron that I think all writers should read "The Right to Write".

And this is the one I just checked out of the library the other day that if I ever get a chance to read it, I think will be very beneficial. It looked pretty good in the library at least:


05-02-2008, 05:11 PM
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (It does not even closely resemble the awful movie with Will Smith.)
Stephen R. Donaldson's "White Gold Wielder" series. Book 1 is Lord Foul's Bane.

As far as "Literature" goes, you can't beat Poe, or Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories. I love Herman Melville's short stories.

Richard White
05-02-2008, 09:37 PM
Brian Dailey - "The Doomfarers of Coromande" and "The Starfollowers of Coromande" (Probably have to find it in a used book store, but worth the hunt.)

Anything by Glenn Cook - "The Black Company" is my favorite

Anything by Barbara Hambly

Patricia McKillup - The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy is great (again, you'll probably have to haunt used book stores here.

Not quite fantasy, but not quite SF - C.S. Lewis's "Perelandra" trilogy is phenominal, the first book especially.

05-02-2008, 11:58 PM
H. P. Lovecraft, for dark fantasy and cosmos (not just world) creation.

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - best fantasy since Tolkien, but too "Brit-lit" for some tastes. That is to say, the comparisons to Jane Austen, Thackerey, Dickens, etc., are apt.

05-03-2008, 04:39 AM
The Once and Future King was one of my childhood favorites. Others were:

First Men in the Moon and Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham