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D&D General The ENWorld Summer Reading List - First Book Selected

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
So I thought it would be fun to put together a summer reading list for those of us at ENWorld: a list of 12-20 books, each highly recommended by the staff and members of ENWorld. Something that would let folks add their favorites to a list (each book in its own thread), and let folks vote for their favorites.

I asked for nominations, and you guys really came through with over a hundred of them! As you recommended your favorites, and upvoted/downvoted the rest, several titles floated to the top of the list and some sank to the bottom. And after things quieted down for a week, I picked the top vote.

But this isn't over! One book does not a Sumer Reading List make! (And I think I finally got a handle on how to do this "choose a book from the list" thing, using the Question feature of the software. I know it's not a perfect system, previously I was going to compile a short list from this larger list, but that had its own problems. Anyway...)

We will be reading "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander first, beginning on Friday April 30th. This list here will still be active, and people are still invited (encouraged, even) to recommend more books, and upvote/downvote the books already nominated. Perhaps you decide that Lloyd Alexander is the bee's knees and you want to recommend more of his work? Maybe it changed your mind about a different book? Maybe you didn't care for his work all that much, and don't want to read more? Use those up/down arrows to inform the list.

Another book will float to the top, and it will be the next one selected...probably around the second weekend of May.

Here's the rules:
  • Nominate a fantasy fiction book you would recommend to a stranger. It should be something that might inspire Game Masters and players alike, in whatever tabletop roleplaying game they are running. It can be classic fantasy fiction ala Tolkien, it can be space opera ala Star Wars, it can be dark fantasy, gritty fantasy, fantasy horror, modern fantasy, whatever you like.
  • Please list only one book per post. This includes trilogies and series! Don't put "All of the books in the Xhaslafqagrgg series, by Famous J. Author." Post each book in its own comment, even if it means creating 20 different posts. Please and thank you. Don't force everyone to downvote an entire catalog just because of one single book.
  • Tell us a little bit about it. You nominated it for a reason, so sell it to us! It's helpful to include a link to the book's website, some reviews, or maybe some cover art. Not everyone is going to automatically recognize your book on name alone, especially if it's recently-published...help your nomination get the votes it deserves.
  • Please don't duplicate any nominees. If you see your favorite book already listed, don't make another post for it! Just click the up-arrow and recommend another book instead. UPDATE: Check the "Current List of Nominees," below, to see if your book has already been nominated.
  • Remember the goal. The goal here is to create a list of fantasy novels, each highly recommended by the good people of ENWorld, from a variety of genres. We're looking for books that will inspire and spark the imaginations of players and GMs alike, giving us fodder for adventure. And who doesn't love a good book? This isn't just a popularity contest, there aren't any winners, this isn't a bookworm's humble-brag, and there's no prize for "best book" or whatever.
Thanks in advance!

CURRENT LIST OF BOOKS
99 Recommendations, Alphabetical by Author

(last updated: 3/29/2021)
Aaron, Rachel. "Nice Dragons Finish Last."
Aaronvitch, Ben. "Rivers of London."
Abercrombie, Joe. "A Little Hatred."
Akers, Tim. "Knight Watch"
Alexander, Lloyd. "The Book of Three."
Asprin, Robert Lynn. "Another Fine Myth."
Bardugo, Leigh. "Six of Crows."
Bear, Elizabeth. "Karen Memory."
Bester, Alfred. "The Stars My Destination"
Behrsin, Chris. "A Cat's Guide to Bonding with Dragons"
Boyett, Steven R. "Ariel."
Brennan, Marie. "A Natural History of Dragons."
Brett, Peter V. "The Warded Man"
Brooks, Terry. "The Scions of Shannara"
Brooks, Terry. "The First King of Shannara."
Brust, Steven. "The Phoenix Guards."
Bujold, Lois. "The Curse of Chalion"
Bujold, Lois. "Penric's Progress."
Bujold, Lois. "The Sharing Knife" Trilogy
Bull, Emma. "The War for the Oaks."
Bunn, Cullen and Owen Gieni, "Harrow County: Countless Haints."
Butcher, Jim. "Furies of Calderon"
Butcher, Jim. "Summer Knight."
Butler, D.J. "Witchy Eye"
Carey, M.R. "The Girl With All the Gifts."
Catling, Brian. "The Vorrh"
Cho, Zen. "The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water."
Chupeco, Rin. "The Bone Witch."
Clark, Susanna. "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell."
Clarke, Susanna. "Piranesi"
Cole, Nice and Jason Anspach. "Forgotten Ruin."
Cook, Glen. "The Black Company."
Corey, S.A. "Leviathan Wakes."
Correia, Larry. "Destroyer of Worlds."
Crowley, John. "Little, Big."
Dickson, Gordon R. "The Dragon and the George."
Eisenstein, Phyllis. "Sorcerer's Son."
Emrys, Ruthanna. "Winter Tide."
Flint, Eric and Walter H. Hunt. "Council of Fire."
Freer, Dave. "TOM."
Gaimen, Neil. "The Ocean at the End of the Lane."
Gerrold, David. "Legend."
Greenwood, Ed. "Grand History of the Realms."
Hobb, Robin. "Assassin's Apprentice."
Hughart, Barry. "Bridge of Birds."
Ireland, Justina. "Dread Nation."
Jackson, D.B. "Time's Children."
Jacques, Brian. "Redwall"
Jemisin, N.K. "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms."
Kay, Guy Gavriel. "Tigana."
Koontz, Dean. "Odd Thomas"
Leckie, Ann. "Ancillary Justice."
Lee, Fonda. "Jade City."
LeGuin, Ursula K. "Gifts"
LeGuin, Ursala K. "A Wizard of Earthsea."
Lockwood, Todd. "The Summer Dragon."
Lynch, Scott. "The Lies of Locke Lamora."
McGuire, Seanan. "Every Heart a Doorway."
McGuire, Seanan. "Middlegame."
McGuire, Seanan. "Rosemary and Rue"
McKillip, Patricia A. "The Riddle-Master of Hed"
McNeil, Carla Speed. "Sin-Eater."
Meiville, China. "Perdido Street Station."
Moers, Walter. "The City of Dreaming Books."
Moon, Elizabeth. "The Deed of Paksenarrion."
Muir, Tamsyn. "Gideon the Ninth."
Nazarian, Vera. "Cobweb Bride"
Nix, Garth. "Sabriel."
Norton, Andre. "Quag Keep."
Novik, Naomi. "Spinning Silver"
Novik, Naomi. "Uprooted."
Nuttall, Christopher G. "Schooled in Magic."
Okorafor, Nnedi. "Akata Witch."
Ostertag, Molly Knox. "The Witch Boy."
Priest, Cherie. "Boneshaker."
Pullman, Philip. "The Golden Compass"
Rajaniemi, Hannu. "The Quantum Thief."
Rice, Morgan. "Realm of Dragons"
Ringo, John. "There Will Be Dragons."
Rosenberg, Joel. "The Sleeping Dragon."
Rowley, Christopher. "Bazil Broketail."
Saberhagen, Fred. "The Second Book of Swords."
Salvatore, R.A. "Archmage."
Salvatore, R.A. "Hero."
Salvatore, R.A. "Maestro."
Sanderson, Brandon. "The Hero of Ages."
Sanderson, Brandon. "Mistborn"
Sanderson, Brandon. "The Well of Ascention"
Schwab, V.E. "A Darker Shade of Magic."
Shannon, Samantha. "The Priority of the Orange Tree."
Spencer, Wen. "Tinker."
Stevenson, Noelle. "Nimona."
Tolkien, J.R.R. "The Fellowship of the Ring."
VanderMeer, Jeff. "Annihilation."
Watt-Evans, Lawrence. "The Lure of the Basilisk."
Wheeler, Jeff. "The Queen's Poisoner"
Williams, Tad. "The Dragonbone Chair."
Wooding, Chris. "Retribution Falls."
Zelaney, Roger. "Jack of Shadows."
 
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Solution
This will be the first book we read, beginning on Friday April 30th. Grab your copy and meet us over in another (upcoming) discussion thread!

"The Book of Three," by Lloyd Alexander. Book One of the "Chronicles of Prydain" series. One of the finest kid-lit fantasy novels I can remember (and probably first one I ever read.)

I'd nominate the whole series, honestly, but I'll just put the first book up for the sake of brevity. The most famous book in this series is probably "The Black Cauldron" (Book 2), since it was made into a Disney cartoon.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780805080483
Publisher...

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Old Tin Sorrows by Glen Cook - book four of the Garrett P.I. series. I don't want to list the entire series, no matter how much I like it, but here's what might be my favorite in the first six. A bit more of an old fashioned "closed circle mystery", or is it?
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The Tower of Fear by Glen Cook. Better known for his series (Black Company, Garrett PI, Dread Empire), this is a standalone novel set in a city with the flavor of the eastern edges of the Roman Empire. A view of the major players, the everyday people, and how they intersect - it will give the DMs out there some interesting character ideas as well as some thoughts on political intrigue. Some think it gets off to a slow start, but it's laying out things and will get you there in good style. Be sure to read the epilogue.

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jasper

Rotten DM
The Unsuspecting Mage (The Morcyth Saga Book1) by Brian S. Pratt ...
“Want to be a mage? Then do we have the job for you…”

Sounds great for a veteran role-player. When on-the-job training entails battling demons, learning magic through trial and error, and living in a world without toilet paper, things could get rough. But to be dropped in the middle of a forest and having to do it on your own with no instruction…welcome to James’ world...... Great for teens.

 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I don't know what the deal is with this thread, but it's really annoying to see the same post recommending the same book on three different pages. It suggests there are posts that keep shifting out of sight, and ergo I cannot vote on them. And if voting on something causes the order to shift...that's just annoying.

Edit: Actually, I just remembered I came to this thread because someone on another thread mentioned they were starting a book they'd seen here. I forgot that because, after clicking through the entire thread, I actually haven't seen that book listed. So there are definitely books I'm not seeing.

Edit edit: OK, I just went through it a THIRD time, keeping track of post numbers, and it seemed to hold steady this time. Dunno. Maybe I'm just cranky.

I respectfully suggest that next time have a thread taking suggestions; OP can choose "x" of those (30?) and then post a single poll whittling that down to 10 or whatever.
 
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Nellisir

Adventurer
The Bear & The Nightingale, by Katherine Arden. The first author I actually sought out and had sign my copy of her book (it was at a book reading; I didn't stalk her house or anything).


 
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Nellisir

Adventurer
The Dreaming Tree, by CJ Cherryh. This is a bit of a cheat, since it's an omnibus edition of The Dreamstone duology, but it's not like they're super-big books. Or slice it down to just the first book. Ms Cherryh's fantasy generally breaks my brain, but this thread isn't just about safe choices, right?
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I don't know what the deal is with this thread, but it's really annoying to see the same post recommending the same book on three different pages. It suggests there are posts that keep shifting out of sight, and ergo I cannot vote on them. And if voting on something causes the order to shift...that's just annoying.
That's really weird. I can't duplicate that on my browser...I don't know what might cause entries to jump around like that. As far as I can tell, there's only one book per post in this thread. And with one exception (that was noted), the same book has not been listed more than once.

I respectfully suggest that next time have a thread taking suggestions; OP can choose "x" of those (30?) and then post a single poll whittling that down to 10 or whatever.
That's not a bad way to do it, but I'm really trying to kill two birds with one stone here: the readers are the ones who make the list, and the readers are also the ones who whittle it down to the top 10 or whatever. It feels like the most efficient way to do it.

And also, I really want to start using this "Question" tool more. It's a cool feature that isn't used nearly enough, and I'm trying to get people more accustomed to it. :cool:
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
That's really weird. I can't duplicate that on my browser...I don't know what might cause entries to jump around like that. As far as I can tell, there's only one book per post in this thread. And with one exception (that was noted), the same book has not been listed more than once.
It was definitely the same posts repeating, not two people listing the same book. If I upvoted it, it remained upvoted. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that you can sort the whole thread in multiple ways.

That's not a bad way to do it, but I'm really trying to kill two birds with one stone here: the readers are the ones who make the list, and the readers are also the ones who whittle it down to the top 10 or whatever. It feels like the most efficient way to do it.

And also, I really want to start using this "Question" tool more. It's a cool feature that isn't used nearly enough, and I'm trying to get people more accustomed to it. :cool:
Posts already have a de facto "upvote" feature that people are already accustomed to using. It's the LIKE button. You could have this entire thread as-is, and just see what gets the most likes. Also removes the downvote option, which lowers conflict IMO.

I agree the question tool is interesting and potentially cool, but I'm not convinced that a multi-page, ongoing thread is the best way to highlight it or the best use of it. It's also interesting that I didn't get any notices about this thread until you replied to me directly. I don't get notifications if someone adds a new post, which hasn't been my default settings, and possibly is an artifact of this being a non-standard item/thread/whatsit?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It's also interesting that I didn't get any notices about this thread until you replied to me directly. I don't get notifications if someone adds a new post, which hasn't been my default settings, and possibly is an artifact of this being a non-standard item/thread/whatsit?
I'm not sure how to fix that. I get notifications whenever someone posts to this thread, whether they quote me or not. I thought everyone did.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I'm not sure how to fix that. I get notifications whenever someone posts to this thread, whether they quote me or not. I thought everyone did.
Probably because it's your question.
I only get notified if someone reacts or quotes my stuff. MAybe that's why no one is coming back and upvoting stuff?

I will note the upvoting seems to be anonymous in a way liking isn't. Also, while the upvoting/downvoting - you only get to see the total, so you don't know if potentially 100 voted positive and 100 voted negative for a title, resulting in a 0 (unlikely but possible).
 



Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I re-read Never Let Me Go earlier this year, and it was incredible, again. Here's another book of his I have heard good things about.
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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The Raven Tower is literally there on my shelf, waiting for me to read. Found it on the side of the road during my nightly walks.
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Nellisir

Adventurer
Someone up thread said CJ Cherryh fantasy breaks his brain. Here's another series of hers I want to read.
View attachment 134852
Ha! That was me. Her sf makes my brain hurt, in a good way. Her more recent (ie post mid-80's) fantasy just breaks me. I read Fortress In The Eye of Time and just...had no idea what I'd just read, or who did what to whom.

And yet I recently bought it again, and a bunch of the sequels. I will prevail!

Just to be clear, I love CJ Cherryh. :)
 



CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
A month ago, I asked everyone to nominate some books that they would like to read as a group with their fellow ENWorld members. And you guys totally came through, with over a hundred book nominations and upvotes. The current leader is "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander, so that will be the book we start with.

Of course it won't be in the lead forever, however. As we move through the summer months, new books will rise and fall on this list. Books that we finish will sink to the bottom, old favorites will float to the top, and new recommendations will arrive on the scene. The current book that we are reading as a group will be flagged with the green checkmark, or "Answer."

"The Book of Three" is 190 pages long. And from the information that I collected in another thread, I estimate it will take the average ENWorld member about three and a half days to read a book of that size (but let's round that up to one week). So grab a copy! We start on Friday, April 30th.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780805080483
Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Services
Paperback, 190 pages
Audiobook narrated by James Langton, 5:03:00.
Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle format on Amazon.com, and at public libraries everywhere
Support your local indie bookstore
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
A month ago, I asked everyone to nominate some books that they would like to read as a group with their fellow ENWorld members. And you guys totally came through, with over a hundred book nominations and upvotes. The current leader is "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander, so that will be the book we start with.

Of course it won't be in the lead forever, however. As we move through the summer months, new books will rise and fall on this list. Books that we finish will sink to the bottom, old favorites will float to the top, and new recommendations will arrive on the scene. The current book that we are reading as a group will be flagged with the green checkmark, or "Answer."

"The Book of Three" is 190 pages long. And from the information that I collected in another thread, I estimate it will take the average ENWorld member about three and a half days to read a book of that size (but let's round that up to one week). So grab a copy! We start on Friday, April 30th.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780805080483
Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Services
Paperback, 190 pages
Audiobook narrated by James Langton, 5:03:00.
Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle format on Amazon.com, and at public libraries everywhere
Support your local indie bookstore
I'm loving this @CleverNickName! And I will def participate in later books. Since I just read the series within the past 3-4 years, I'm going to skip the first book, as I also have a huge wall of books I am looking at right now. Maybe I should put all of them onto this list and one will float to the top.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Like for example...

Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings (Book #1 Stormlight Archives). I've been holding off because I'm sort of avoiding starting massive fantasy series until they finish, but since he's got 10 books planned, and only 4 books published, I may die before he's done... (heck, HE may die before he's done!).

I will also say I was surprised - Brandon Sanderson's books came up a lot on this list, but not this one. Well, here it is.

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