What'cha reading?

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Holy tomatoes!
Originally I had three favorites to put in my post, and none of them were published within the last thirty or forty years.
I added The Curse of Chalion at the last minute both because it is awesome and because I thought it had a better chance than any of the others to garner support and actually win a vote some day.

P.S. I must say, though, that Grendel is right up the Mythgard alley. I mean: Beowulf from the monster's POV? How could it get any better than that? Even if few of the voters have actually read it, that should be enough, wouldn't you think?

P.P.S. I see that there is a new "expanded edition" of Riddley Walker -- added to WishList -- with an author's essay, notes, and glossary (which will probably be real helpful: I'd read the novel multiple times, but it was only while reading it aloud to my wife, when we got to "we need to do some posaym" and she called out "symposium!", that I finally GOT that one!)

P.P.P.S. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is my current paperback book-by-the-bedside re-read (as opposed to the several books I'm always reading at the same time on my Kindle) and I just today discovered there's a new Bujold Vorksoverse novella, starring Ekaterin, The Flowers of Vashnoi. Buying that one as soon as I get home! It just might make up for the missing 80 pages of Diplomatic Immunity that they inaccountably failed to print in my copy, wherein Ekaterin rescues Miles, Saves the Babies, and discovers the power of the name of Lady Vorkosigan...

P.P.P.P.S Do NOT use it! no, wait -- wrong letter . . .


Saw a few books that I am looking up in this thread. But I wanted to ask this group what High Fantasy series they love that is worth reading that comes near (but of course nothing compares really) to Tolkien. Worldbuilding, characters, heart, etc. Maybe there's nothing new under the sun, but I am wondering if I am missing anything.

Let's assume these series are already off the table:
  • Narnia and Harry Potter, of course
  • Memory, Sorrow & Thorn by Tad Williams - a series I highly recommend and has a version of immortal elves that I like. I think I have read this one 5 times, I will return to it again.
  • Earthsea (Have not read it, on my list though - not sure if I will like it)
  • Thomas Covenant - not sure of the feelings here on these but I love them, especially the first two trilogies. I will have to hit the whole series again someday.
  • Game of Thrones - enjoyed reading the published works, but like many I really don't think he will finish the series. Giving up on it.
  • Belgariad by David Eddings is another favorite- and I love his magic system.
  • Name of the Wind - starting to despair of ever seeing the final book, and the first two were amazing.
  • Not into Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan or any Shannara books (although have poked around a few).
  • Probably not interested in Golden Age fantasy if it hasn't aged well.
Maybe there's nothing outside this list - but I'm guessing there's a few gems I am missing.

I was just trying to read the Witcher book - and I just can't finish it. Sort of interesting but too disconnected.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
High Fantasy series they love that is worth reading
I haven't read the Tad Williams - thanks for the recommendation: I have added it to my (rather long) wishlist.

Earthsea is one of my favorites, but it's a bit of a weird one because the first three novels are YA fantasy and then long after, the fourth, subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea" came out and is very much more adult and disturbing: many dislike it (not me!). Then much later again, there appeared several volumes more! I am a big fan, but lots of people recommend the first three only.

I agree with you about the Patrick Rothfuss. I really want volume three of the Kingkiller series: he hasn't killed a king yet, or even met one, as far as I can recall! I keep re-reading the first two hoping that the third will magically appear as I finish. . .

My #1 recommendation for you would be Lois McMaster Bujold. The Curse of Chalion is totally awesome. That lady sure can write! (I also like her MilSF/humorous "Vorkosigan" series a lot.) Chalion is set in the "five Gods" universe: there are three novels and a continuing series of novellas as well. She also has another fantasy series, the "Lakewalker" books, that are pretty good: it's really a single huge novel in four volumes.


I really can't recommend Memory Sorrow and Thorn enough. Great characters and story. A world that feels real in a similar way, if not quite as deep as Tolkien. Makes me want to read it right now.

I was just looking at Chalion, and I am putting that on my list - might even read it next. That's good insight on Earthsea - I never knew any of that about the other books. And yeah, Rothfuss drives me crazy - especially because the books are so darn good.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Earthsea - I never knew any of that about the other books.
The history of Earthsea would make a great MythMoot paper!

LeGuin wrote the YA trilogy and it was quite successful. There were a couple of short stories, too.

Years later, though, she was troubled by the traditional role of women in her fantasy world, and wrote Tehanu, the last book of Earthsea, which has very much a not-wrapping-it-all-up ending. She wrote somewhere that she didn't know what happens next or where the world of Earthsea was headed. I, personally, took this to mean that she had brought Earthsea up to about the same place with respect to the role of women that our own world is at, and just like nobody could say what we would do next, she couldn't say what Earthsea would do from there.

Years later yet, I guess she got some ideas, and I think became uneasy also with another aspect of her world (which I won't spoiler) and wrote some more short stories, novellas (notably Dragonfly, which explores the role of women again, and of course, of Dragons too) and a novel, The Other Wind, which does wrap things up, at least in the sense of closing a chapter on the old regime and offering a fresh start.

Everybody (except perhaps feminists) loves the original trilogy, and some of the shorts. The rest of it can be denigrated as "too philosophical". But I am very glad she continued and wrestled with the issues. I find the whole series very rewarding reading.


Hestia of the Hearth
Right now:
- The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (living room)
- The Wise Man's Fear (bedroom)
- The Fifth Season (e-book out & about)

ruth barratt

Active Member
So I have found a new book and a new author
Grey sister by Mark Lawrence who I have read before but I think this is one of his best.
Then I found A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish, book one in the Shadow Dance series I have never read this guy before but have been enjoyed them.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
I haven't been keeping up on this at all . . . Right now:
- Laughing Shall I Die by Tom Shippey (highly recommend)
- Le Mort d'Arthur (of course!)
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (bedroom: started over as soon as I finished it! Maybe I'm just too lazy to cart another book upstairs.)

I'd also like to comment on a few recent reads:
Jumper by Steven Gould: classic science fiction, surprisingly good: how did I miss this one?
Fish Tank by Gregory Bennet (a forum participant). Excellent!
Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. Disappointed me (in many of the same ways as The Sword of Shanarra). May still try Memory, Sorrow and Thorn anyway.


Oh neat! Steve Gould's "Jumper' is one my favorite SF stories. He's an Aggie, y'know. And of course I'm quite fond of "Fish Tank," bein's't'how I wrote it. (Anyone who might be interested can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited. It's a hard-SF story; totally rivets.) Thanks for mentioning it, Jim! :)

At the moment, I'm reliving the grand adventure of Jack Chalker's "River of the Dancing Gods" serial. There's a fun story to the writing of the story: Jack reached a mental block while writing "Four Lords of the Diamond," so the took a break and in one long weekend wrote the first three "Dancing Gods" stories.


Hestia of the Hearth
Actually, that's Librivox.org and I've listened to a fair number of novels from there, and have some recommendations!

Librivox only has audiobooks of works that are out of copyright, so in general, that's 90+ years old. They are read by volunteers. Some are read by computers. There was a rush of computer-readings about fifteen years ago, and those are very bad. But the very worst of the human volunteers are even worse! However, the best of the human readers are as good as any professional paid readings you'd buy on Audible.)

And some are read by Amy Sturgis!! - she's also fabulous :)


I'd also like to comment on a few recent reads:
Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. Disappointed me (in many of the same ways as The Sword of Shanarra). May still try Memory, Sorrow and Thorn anyway.
Don't judge Tad W. by Tailchaser - that was pre-MST. MST is truly classic high fantasy. You won't be disappointed.


I'm working on a podcast about The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, so I've been reading that again. I'm also looking for guests to talk to about it. Let me know if you're interested, or if you know of someone who might want to participate!


New Member
I'm rereading Dune and listening to the podcast as I go. I've also started Laughing Shall I Die. I'm finding that there are not enough hours in the day since I stumbled across Mythgard...


New Member
I've been reading up on the Great War, with the anniversary of its end coming up. So right now I'm working through John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War and rereading All Quiet on the Western Front.

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Neil Gaiman. Oh, my.
I don't like graphic novels, so I've never read the stuff he is most famous for, but both Neverwhere and Stardust strike me as the most Tolkien-esk renditions of Faery outside of Tolkien himself.

Just read his new book Norse Mythology. It is a delightful retelling of familiar legends.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman said:
"Because," said Thor, "when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki's fault. It saves a lot of time."
I also recommend Steven Brust's Serenity fan-fiction My Own Kind of Freedom.


Active Member
I'm re-reading Lois Bujold's Sharing Knife sequence in the hope that I can get hold of the new novella.

I recently re-read Michelle Sagara's Chronicles of Elantra so as to catch up for the latest release, Cast In Oblivion.