D&D General The ENWorld Summer Reading List - Nomination Thread


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...) Pretend you are browsing a bookshelf at the library. "Hmm...this book looks interesting...this one too...this one doesn't really look interesting...ooh I love this book!...ugh, this one looks boring...this one looks good..."

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!

117 Recommendations, Alphabetical by Author

(last updated: 4/30/2021)
Aaron, Rachel. "Nice Dragons Finish Last."
Aaronvitch, Ben. "Rivers of London."
Abercrombie, Joe. "A Little Hatred."
Akers, Tim. "Knight Watch"
Alexander, Lloyd. "The Black Cauldron."
Alexander, Lloyd. "The Book of Three." (Currently reading, April 30-May 14)
Anderson, Poul. "The Broken Sword."
Anderson, Poul. "The High Crusade."
Arden, Katherine. "The Bear and the Nightingale."
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"
Cherryh, C.J. "The Dreaming Tree."
Cherryh, C.J. "Fortress in the Eye of Time."
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."
Cook, Glen. "Old Tin Sorrows."
Cook, Glen. "Sweet Silver Blues."
Cook, Glen. "The Tower of Fear."
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."
Reikson, Steven. "Gardens of the Moon."
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."
Ishiguro, Kazuo. "The Buried Giant."
Jackson, D.B. "Time's Children."
Jacques, Brian. "Redwall"
Jemisin, N.K. "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms."
Jordon, Robert. "The Eye of the World."
Kay, Guy Gavriel. "Tigana."
Koontz, Dean. "Odd Thomas"
Lawrence, Mark. "Prince of Thorns."
Leckie, Ann. "Ancillary Justice."
Leckie, Ann. "The Raven Tower."
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."
Norton, Andre. "Witch World."
Novik, Naomi. "Spinning Silver"
Novik, Naomi. "Uprooted."
Nuttall, Christopher G. "Schooled in Magic."
Okorafor, Nnedi. "Akata Witch."
Ostertag, Molly Knox. "The Witch Boy."
Pratt, Brian S. "The Unsuspecting Mage."
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 Way of Kings."
Sanderson, Brandon. "The Well of Ascention"
Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann. "The Healer's War"
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."
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Limit Break Dancing
We're approaching 100 nominations...excellent work everyone! If you've posted in this thread, take a moment to go back through the comments and upvote the books that you would be most interested in reading and discussing as a group. It's not a contest, however: If a book doesn't interest you, you don't need to downvote it--nobody is going to twist your arm and force you to read a book this summer. :)

I'll collect the top results later this month.

log in or register to remove this ad


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
using the ^ and v arrows to the
right of each comment.

This is a question thread. At time of writing we have 3K views and the highest rated book has 5 upvotes. I can't believe that every single book on here is such a stinker that not even 2% of the people would recommend it.

Please Vote!



The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Classic work that seems as fresh today as when it was written. Quick, intense page-turner, story of revenge, intrigue, and the fate of humanity in the cosmos.

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
using the ^ and v arrows to the
right of each comment.

This is a question thread. At time of writing we have 3K views and the highest rated book has 5 upvotes. I can't believe that every single book on here is such a stinker that not even 2% of the people would recommend it.

Please Vote!
I'm waiting to vote until all the nominations are done, so that there isn't a bias (from me at least) towards the earlier posted books.


Having loved ‘Jonathan Strange’ it’s hard to think of a book that I’ve been more excited about before release. But this exceeded my expectations.

The first two sentences of the book‘s blurb was enough to spark an interest in me as a Planescape fan...

‘Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant.‘

The Vorrh trilogy by B.Catling was one of the strangest things I’ve ever read.

Catling was a poet and a painter who didn’t write the first novel until he was in his 60’s and the prose reflects this, which I guess is for better or worse (depending on your tastes).

A friend put me onto the series when I was telling him about an idea I had for a D&D adventure about a ‘wandering wood’, a magical forest that moves around the land. Whilst the novels aren’t about that exactly the do feature a magical forest, once the location of the garden of Eden.



Limit Break Dancing
I'm waiting to vote until all the nominations are done, so that there isn't a bias (from me at least) towards the earlier posted books.
Er...I mean, that's all fine and good, but when the nominations are done I'm going to assemble and post the summer reading list in a new thread. The top nominees in this thread will go on the ENWorld Summer Reading list, and the rest won't. So if you wait until after the nominations are all done, you'll miss your chance to upvote.

It's not a "Which books are the Best Books" thread. It's a "Which books do we want to read?" thread.

I've never heard of most of these, thus I won't really be able to usefully vote until I've read them - by which time it'll be too late. :)
We are building a list of books to read over the summer as a group. It needn't be a list of books you've already read...you can (and should!) nominate books that you haven't read yet but would like to read. If something looks interesting, upvote it!

I've only read about half of the books that I've recommended. And of the ones I've read, it's been decades since I've last read them and I'd be delighted to read them again. (I especially want to see how Lloyd Alexander holds up after more than three decades.)
Last edited:


Rotten DM
A Cat’s Guide to Bonding with Dragons by Chris Behrsin

One moment, he was enjoying a breakfast of salmon trimmings in his home in South Wales. The next, he was teleported across time and space onto the cold stone floor of an evil warlock.

Locked in the warlock’s tower through day and night, Ben may have to serve him for a while. He'll hate this, especially having to hunt those infernal demon rats when the warlock doesn’t feed him well at all.

Meanwhile, in a distant academy, a dragon is bored out of her mind. Unable to wear a saddle, no human dares mount her. Is there anyone in this land who can ride her into battle against the forces of the evil warlocks? Somehow, she doubts she’ll ever find a suitable bond.

Unless there is another creature with enough dexterity to fulfil that role. One, perhaps, who is currently sprinting right out of a warlock’s front
I did NOT like it because reads like it for kids up to age 14 but others may.


Rotten DM
Cobweb Bride Trilogy by Vera Nazarian

Chivalry and true love transform the myth of Persephone, set in an alternate Renaissance, from a Nebula Award Finalist author.

Death demands his Bride... Until she is found, the world is broken and no one can die.

This was a very weird trilogy. And very dark.


Rotten DM
Knight Watch by Tim Akers
John Rast went to the Ren Faire looking for a fight. Well, a simulated fight, with blunt swords and safety equipment. But when his final opponent turns into a living, fire-breathing dragon, John finds himself in the fight of his life. It’s John or nothing stopping a disaster in its tracks—and the only real weapon at hand is his mom’s Volvo. So John decides to let it roll . . .

IF you fought in the SCA or other similiar group. You may like this.


Rotten DM
Realm of Dragons by Morgan Rice
For young teens only, it was recommend by a younger family member who gave dice for a Christmas Present.




Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm waiting to vote until all the nominations are done, so that there isn't a bias (from me at least) towards the earlier posted books.
You have as many votes as you want without being able to double vote and you can remove your positive votes at a later date if you decide on some arbitrary schema such as only wanting to cast five votes. You are not ranking your votes, every one of your votes (or downvotes) adds (or subtracts) in exactly the same. So there's really no chance of bias as long as you return as you say you will.

But, with such a low ratio of votes to views - the highest was less than 2% when I wrote it, it's much more likely for the average viewer that they are unused to Question threads on ENWorld and are just forgetting to vote.

With no planned close of nominations, and a when a slowdown of nominations also meaning this will drop off the first page of recent updates, it's much more likely that the average reader will not vote at all if they wait for it to be complete. The topic has been up just about two weeks - a long time for people to put in their initial thoughts on a thread. You can consider this mature with the majority of recommendations already made - and any new you have the exact same voting power as any you vote on now.

Plus, there's no formal close of nominations with a voting period until the list is compiled.
Last edited:

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement