Who Were the First Five Authors You Read in Your Favorite Genre?

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Looking back on the books and authors that introduced us to our favorite literary genres can be a fun trip down memory lane. That nostalgia can bear even more meaning for writers. Sure, those authors built the foundation for our reading tastes. But if we consider our “relationship” with their work closely, we can also discover how their stories or writing have influenced ours.

Today, let’s discuss the first five authors we read in our favorite literary genre, or the genre we prefer to write in. I’ll go first with my first five fantasy authors (since fantasy is more than just my great literary love), as well as one takeaway from each that has impacted my writing. Then, you can respond by either commenting on this post or writing about it at your own blogs. This isn’t just for fantasy writers, by the way. Book bloggers and avid readers of all genres are welcome to jump in – so, please do!

The First Five Fantasy Authors I Read (In the Order I Read Them)

J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit)

Sara L Tolkien Talks photo-minI’m part of the generation of Tolkien fans that read his work after seeing the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. (I know, shame on me, right?) Since LOTR was the story I knew best from him, I started with that series, then read The Hobbit shortly after. After that, my life as a writer and reader was changed forever. And while I promised to offer one takeaway from each author, I can’t write about Tolkien without sharing three – because that’s how important his work has been to me.

First, Tolkien’s Middle-Earth stories were my gateway to fantasy literature. Apart from K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series, I didn’t read any speculative fiction when I was in middle or high school. (Yet my younger brother was assigned The Hobbit in 9th grade. Go figure.) Once I read Lord of the Rings, I wanted all the fantasy books I could get my paws on. And being a “visual” reader who pictures each scene, I easily lost myself in Middle-Earth and all its peoples and events. So, not only did Tolkien’s work open the door to a whole other literary realm for me, but it also beckoned my imagination in the wildest, most breathtaking way.

LOTR book trilogyTolkien’s work also reignited my general love of reading. I went through a period in high school when I HATED reading. The books assigned in English class didn’t interest me, so I felt robbed of the joy that reading had given me for so long. Then when I read The Lord of the Rings in college, that spark returned. I didn’t just want to read more fantasy – I wanted to read more, period. In that way, I’ll always be grateful for Tolkien and his writings, because they reminded me that reading really can be fun.

Finally, I can’t discuss Tolkien’s influence on my writing without mentioning his world-building. The history, conflict, languages, and cultures he created for Middle-Earth make it rich and realistic. His posthumous collections (think The Silmarillion) especially show how well he understood the workings of his invented world. That meticulousness – not necessarily Middle-Earth itself – is what I aim for in my own world-building. I’ve even created separate documents to flesh out that world-building outside the story (and to avoid info-dumping in the WIP itself). And once my stories have been published, if readers find the worlds within them believable and immersive, then I’ll know I’ve done my job.

If you’d like to know more about Tolkien’s influence on me, check out my Tolkien Talk interview at Pages Unbound here.

C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia)

narnia-omnibus-coverC.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia was a no-brainer for my next fantasy series. I was already familiar with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe after watching the animated film and the PBS mini-series when I was younger. Plus, as I discovered later, Lewis and Tolkien were members of the Inklings, a writing and literary discussion group affiliated with Oxford University. How amazing is it that two of fantasy’s most influential authors were friends, colleagues, and readers of each other’s work? 🙂 So I snuggled up with the movie tie-in omnibus edition (pictured right) and fell in love with Prince CaspianThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and all the others.

If anything, C.S. Lewis’s stories taught me that heroism knows no age limit. The Pevensies, their cousin Eustace, Jill Pole, Shasta – they’re all children, and they play pivotal roles in their stories. I still remember watching the TV adaptation of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe years before I read the book, and thinking how COOL it was that there were stories where kids my age could talk to animals, fight evil witches, and save the world. (Tolkien’s work explores a similar angle, where everyone – including everyday people – can be heroes.) That idea resonated with me again not only as an adult, but as a writer. In my future stories, I want to feature a wide range of characters as protagonists – not only in age (teens or adults), but also in background and societal roles.

J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter Series)

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows coverLike with Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, I was late to the J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter party. I didn’t read any of the books until after I had seen the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, during a charity event. I didn’t understand all of it without the context of the first two movies – but my goodness, did it grab my attention with its school setting (Hogwarts) and young characters learning how to wield magic. So I plunged heart-first into the books; and by the time the first Deathly Hallows film was released, I had finished reading the series and fallen rhapsodically in love with it.

What did I adore most about the Harry Potter books? The characters. Of course I felt endeared to Harry, Hermoine, and Ron; and was touched by their loyalty to one another. But I also loved Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Dobby the House Elf, Hagrid, Professors Lupin and Snape… A huge chunk of the supporting cast, in other words. They all had distinct personalities, quirks, and emotional wounds. Thus, J.K. Rowling’s stories showed me the importance of making every character memorable and (above all) human. The protagonists aren’t the only ones who are driven by desire, hurt by others’ actions, or paralyzed with fear. So, the writer needs to understand their supporting characters inside-out, from their personal histories to the motivations for their actions.

Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy)

GoldenCompass_coverI still remember the day I discovered Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. I was browsing through a local bookstore when I came across the book with this cover. Between the title and the trio of a little girl, polar bear, and mouse, I wanted to know more about the adventure that would bring those drastically different characters together. Then when I was buying the book, the bookseller said, “Oh, did you know a Golden Compass movie is coming out later this year?” That prompted me to start the book that evening – and the rest, as they say, was history. Not to mention my inner child wanted a daemon badly. 😉

The Dark Materials Trilogy was my first fantasy series with a female protagonist, and she stuck with me long after I finished it. Lyra Belacqua is equal parts daredevil, scholar, silver-tongue, and devoted friend. Even though she was half my age when I read The Golden Compass, I admired how she fixed her sights on rescuing her playmate Roger and (to avoid spoilers) was just as devastated as she was at the end. Lyra might not meet the definition of a kick-ass leading lady, but she shows courage and vulnerability in other ways that make her unforgettable and endearing. Now, when I think of creating my own characters (either male or female), I use Lyra and other protagonists I love as “models” for clear motivations, fears, and inner strength.

Ursula K. Le Guin (Earthsea Cycle)

Wizard of Earthsea coverOddly enough, I don’t recall how or where I first heard of Ursula K. Le Guin and her Earthsea novels. I know I was looking for more fantasy stories, either current or classic. Regardless, I stumbled upon A Wizard of Earthsea after the other four authors and series mentioned above. That book (and the entire Earthsea cycle) changed my life in ways that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings had, and then some. Because by reading A Wizard of Earthsea, I discovered the author who has become my all-time favorite.

For starters, Le Guin knows how to build worlds as thoroughly as Tolkien and other fantasy greats. Earthsea in particular features a soundly developed magic system and deeply rooted cultures that vary depending on where one travels. Le Guin also made an effort to set her invented world apart from others. Its archipelago setting, racial diversity, and influences from the Bronze Age (as opposed to Middle Ages) and Taoism – no other place in literature is quite like it, and I delighted in my every visit there. Thus, Le Guin’s stories reminded me that if I imagine my story taking place in a “long-ago” time and location, I should look for logical ways to make it stand out from other fictional worlds that readers may be familiar with.

And the quality of her writing. If A Wizard of Earthsea wasn’t the first novel where I lost my heart to an author’s writing style, it was certainly the strongest such experience. Le Guin’s prose is eloquent, lyrical, and succinct. Only a few sentences demonstrate how fully she understands the power of precision and the beauty of cadence. This applies not only to the Earthsea novels, but also to Le Guin’s science fiction novels, essays, and poetry. (Yet another reason why I love her work: its versatility.)

So when I edit my own stories, I pay attention to word choice, the flow of thoughts and sentences, and the overall “economy” of the writing (i.e., making every word count). In other words, I want to draw out the qualities I love most about Le Guin’s writing in my own. I wouldn’t say I’m trying to emulate her style – because let’s face it, I won’t ever be able to write as magnificently as she does. Instead, when I think of high-quality writing, I think of how Le Guin and my other favorite authors achieve it, then strive for it in my own way.

Who were the first five authors you read in your favorite genre? What impact did they have on you as a reader? If you’re also a writer, how did those authors influence your work?

NOTE: Original version of banner image courtesy of MorningbirdPhoto.

47 thoughts on “Who Were the First Five Authors You Read in Your Favorite Genre?

  1. What a great question, Sara:). As a youngster I was always drawn to fantasy books like Paul Gallico’s writing which I devoured and Ray Bradbury was another one who set my imagination alight. But, like you – I arrived at my favourite genre after having hit a major reading slump as an adult. Contemporary literary novels didn’t hold any interest for me – I didn’t WANT to read about men and their mistresses yearning for a better life. Or dissatisfied housewives. I wanted to escape… When Himself started sharing his store of books it felt like coming home – I tucked into C.J. Cherryh’s backlist and LOVED her writing. I think she is the author who has most influenced my writing. I also burned through Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series and Sherri S. Tepper was another author who had me fizzing with excitement:)). I’m grinning at the recollection – it is still amazingly emotional to recall the time when I realised there were people out there writing books that set me on fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “… It is still amazingly emotional to recall the time when I realised there were people out there writing books that set me on fire.”

      Isn’t it? I definitely feel a sense of gratitude as well as excitement and nostalgia. These books and authors changed my life (and the ones you spoke of did the same for you, it sounds like), and I wouldn’t writing what I’m writing now if it weren’t for them.

      Gosh… I think Ray Bradbury is the only one on your list that I’ve heard of! :S But you’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy a lot longer than I have, and it’s interesting to read why you love their work and how they may have influenced your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – you may be caught the fact that even writing about it had me reliving that sense of excitement and wonder… It’s one of the reasons why I love writing the reviews and the blog – I still feel that buzz when I read yet another good book and want to share it!

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  2. It’s amazing how much our first five authors coincidence! But the first four are in a different order for me and I haven’t read any of UKLG’s books (I will, as soon as I can find them). My post is going to be very similar to yours, but I really want to do this, so I think I’ll choose the mystery genre and replicate this on my own blog done day soon. I had such a lovely time reading this post – it brought back so many memories! 🙂

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  3. I came to fantasy late, actually – didn’t really get into it until 6 or 7 years ago, and books by authors like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie were my gateway. Harry Potter though has always been a childhood favorite! And I may catch some flak for this, but I never really got into the LOTR trilogy, though I recognized the books and Tolkien for their role in the genre.

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    • “And I may catch some flak for this, but I never really got into the LOTR trilogy, though I recognized the books and Tolkien for their role in the genre.”

      You’re still OK in my book. 😉 I can see why Tolkien’s stories or writing might not appeal to all fantasy fans, so I don’t give anyone flak if they’re not a fan.

      Yay for J.K. Rowling and Patrick Rothfuss! I didn’t start reading Pat’s books until last year, but gosh do I love them. And I’ve yet to read anything by Brandon Sanderson or Joe Abercrombie, though I have Sanderson’s Elantris waiting patiently on my bookshelf…

      Thanks for chiming in, Mogsy!

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  4. Tolkien, CS Lewis, (first the movies then the books) were my influencers, and Harry Potter of course, though only the movies (I’ve yet to read the books, *blushes*). Robert Jordan with his series Wheel of Time, and all of Brian Jacques’ works, came after that and carried me through highschool. 🙂 I’m late to Brandon Sanderson’s works but after reading Mistborn this year, he would be author #6, rekindling that love I have for fantasy.
    It’s fun and interesting to look back and remember those who influenced us in our love for the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay! We have three of the same first authors. 🙂 I haven’t read any of Robert Jordan’s or Brian Jacques’ works yet, though. *blushes* Or Brandon Sanderson’s, though I have one of his books. I just haven’t prioritized it yet. Maybe the next time I update my Leaning Tower of Books…

      And yes, you need to read the Harry Potter books. 😉 IMO, the movies were good adaptations of the books, though some of the content from the later books was condensed or left out of the movies for time’s sake. But yes, do read them.

      “It’s fun and interesting to look back and remember those who influenced us in our love for the genre.”

      It is, isn’t it? You look back and remember why you loved those stories to begin with, and what you learned from them as a writer, too. How do you think Tolkien, Lewis, Jordan, and Jacques influenced your writing?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great picks! I love the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia. Those have to be my first two picks as well haha. The other three would have to be Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis, The Blood of Kings by Jill Williamson, and Grimm’s Fairytales.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    • Ah, Grimm’s Fairy Tales. 🙂 I can’t say they influenced me as a writer, but I read several of those stories when I was young. Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Snow White…

      Not surprised that LOTR and Narnia would be on your list. 😉 Do you have a favorite Narnia story? Or do you love them all equally?

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  6. He wasn’t my first fantasy author, but he was the one who made me fall head-over-heels in love with fantasy. David Eddings. I was ten when I picked up the first book of the Belgariad. I read all five books in a daze and needed more. Fortunately there was another five-book series that followed, the Mallorean. I read those too, but they ended too soon. When I finished I was bereft, so I did what any sensible person would do: I started at the start again. And again. I’m not exaggerating when I say I must have read those ten books at least five times over in a row, possibly more.

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    • That’s sort of like my relationship with UKLG’s work. She wasn’t the first fantasy author I read, but she’s the one who has left the biggest impression on me.

      What kind of fantasy did David Eddings write? I’ve heard of him, but haven’t read his work before…

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  7. I love fantasy and classic literature, so I’ll bend the rules a bit here and just list the books from my youth that inspired me to write.
    One of my first fantasy books I read was Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I remember watching the old movies as well, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Magician’s Nephew was by far my favorite because it was the odd one out from the typical sibling stories.
    Anne of Green Gables. This ties with the Little House on the Prairie books. These stories will always hold a special place in my heart of my single-digit youth. Little House in the Big Woods was the first “full-length” story I read.
    Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance series, along with Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms series, have made me forever love the fantasy genre. And the series just keep going on and on! They still inspire me.
    Anne Rice. She made me fall in love with the art of words. She is the reason why I became serious about writing.
    During my teen years, I loved fantasy modern stories, and was loathe for those “old dusty” books. Until I decided to give them a try at 18, in which I picked up Crime and Punishment (and then Jane Eyre). And then my reading lists have never been the same!

    I love your post and reading how your reading books growing up have influenced your writing! I have to give those Golden Compass books a try. I didn’t pick up le Guin until my early 20s, but she is definitely a treasure of fantasy authors. LofR and HP… well, there’s really nothing left to say! I read Hobbit when I was around ten and believe it or not, thought it was “okay” because it took a bit longer than usual to get through. My sentiments have changed since then, of course!

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  8. Tolkien and Lewis would be on my list too, and perhaps Le Guin, although not for Earthsea but Planet of exile. Which is a slim little book and one of her first, not her best I’m sure, but I read it young and it had a big impact on me. The idea of a long lost colony cut off from Earth for generations, interacting with an indigenous population, had quite an effect. And it’s funny, but re- reading it recently I was struck by the similarities to Game of Thrones- generation long winters, ghoulish invaders from north, etc. Maybe it influenced Martin? 🙂

    One thing I did like about Earthsea was the archipelago. Such a great setting, and everything felt so rustic. My other picks might be David Eddings and Terry Brooks. Eddings’ Belgariad series had a big impact on me, the world and the place names and some of the personalities. I’m not sure it would hold up for me today, but I look back fondly.

    As for Brooks, I read his Shannara stuff before Lord of the Rings, so I didn’t realize how derivative of LotR his first book was, until later. But he had a big impact on me as well, although I don’t read him these days. I know this is five but I just remembered Edgar Rice Burroughs (huge impact) and Andre Norton as well. Very old school by today’s standards but they did have an impact.

    http://gregsbookhaven.blogspot.com/

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    • I haven’t read Planet of Exile yet. If it’s one of UKLG’s earliest books, I wonder if it’s still in print…? Because I’d definitely like to read it if it is.

      The archipelago setting is one of my favorite aspects of Earthsea, too. It sets it apart from other fantasy worlds. I sort of want to write about my own archipelago world at some point – though I wouldn’t copy what UKLG did with hers. 😉

      You’re the second person to mention David Eddings in their comments here. I haven’t read his work before. What is his series like?

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      • I would love to read about more archipelagos in fantasy! I think David drake had a series set in an archipelago but I haven’t read it. there was something about Earthsea, I used the word rustic before but I’m not sure that’s the right word- but it just seemed, pastoral, maybe? Definitely a great setting. And the map certainly didn’t hurt- fired my imagination!

        How to describe Eddings? I’d say he’s pretty traditional high fantasy -boy is a chose one of sorts, his grandparents are powerful wizards who sort of shepherd him, he has to take on a quest, meets a pugnacious girl who he’s doesn’t get along with at first but of course they’re destined to be together, there’s a dark lord- all that stuff. Pretty trite by today standards but back when it came out, not so much? I read it when I was young and really liked it. Tried re- reading it a few years ago- not so much. But it does have a somewhat interesting world and characters (Silk is awesome). The problem for me is I’m not really into the dark lords/ gods walking the earth/ all that stuff anymore, and it’s all a shadow of Tolkien anyway. Same with McKiernan and his Mithgar series.

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      • “Pastoral” is a very fitting word for Earthsea. But “rustic” works just as well, too. 😉

        Yeah, a lot of the elements you mentioned in Eddings’ story sound very (or a little too) familiar. But it definitely wouldn’t hurt to give his work a fair chance. The first book is “Pawn of Prophecy,” right?

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  9. It seems like you and I have a lot in common Sara 😀 Pullman, Lewis, Rowling and Tolkien were definitely my earliest inspirations. Unfortunately, I still haven’t read LeGuin but I’m hoping to change that soon! I’d have to say that the fifth author to inspire me in the fantasy genre was Eoin Colfer with his Artemis Fowl series. Though there was also Jenny Nimmo and her Charlie Bone series. And then there was Jonathan Stroud and the Bartimaeus series. And David Clement Davies with The Sight and Fire Bringer. Okay. Choosing five authors is too difficult ;P
    These authors. Their worlds. Their characters. They made me want to spend the time crafting my own magical system, my own ensemble!
    Great post, Sara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* I know the feeling. Part of me didn’t want to limit myself to only five authors. But if I hadn’t, then this post would have been much longer. 😉
      If I had to continue after those five… I think my next fantasy authors were Kristin Cashore, George R.R. Martin, and Tamora Pierce. After that, my memory gets a bit jumbled. 😉

      That’s quite a list you have! And I like that we have so many common “firsts” between us. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in, Faith!

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      • I still have to read Kristin and Tamora’s works! I have Alanna at home, but probably will only get to it in December.
        I just realized I didn’t even mention Guy Gavriel Kay 😉
        I read a lot of fantasy when I was younger. It’s always been my go to genre. The whimsical worlds captured my heart then and have held it captive ever since ❤

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      • See, I didn’t read a lot of fantasy until I was an adult. So that explains a lot of the “catching up” I’m doing now, and why I haven’t read a number of YA or children’s series that other fantasy writers / readers have read yet. *sigh* So many books, not enough time….

        I loved Kristin Cashore’s first two books, especially Fire. And while I’ve read two of Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness books, I haven’t made finishing the series a priority. But I will in 2017! 😉

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  10. I have never read Ursula K. le Guin but really want to. I guess Earthsea is where I need to start. I got really happy, though, when a literary editor that came into class considered her one of the best self-editors of fiction… since it’s so rare to find SFF authors appreciated in those circles. That just made my desire even more fierce. With the exception of her, though, our lists are are the same! Though I technically read Gaiman’s Neverwhere before I read Harry Potter, and I also idolize Jane Yolen.

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    • You could also start with UKLG’s science fiction. Between that and the first Earthsea novel, you can’t go wrong. I focused mainly on Earthsea, since I read UKLG’s fantasy stories before her science fiction (which I’m slowly catching up on now and loving just as much). Her poetry is stunning, too.

      Yay for having similar lists! I love Neil Gaiman, too, but I’ve only started reading his work in the past couple years. So he’s another author whose books I need to spend more time with.

      Can’t say I’ve heard of Jane Yolen, though. What kinds of stories does she write?

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  11. I don’t specifically remember the first five authors I read in historical fiction, but I keep coming back to my 5th grade year, which is when I read “Anne of Green Gables” (a gateway book for a lot of writers and readers!) which opened me up to higher-level reading in general. I also had a teacher who encouraged global connections with reading, so we did a lot of ELA/Social studies pairings. We read “The Trumpeter of Krakow” and “The Endless Steppe.” Both had a big impact on me in terms of world-building and understanding of historical context. I started devouring books that took me to past times and places, including “Gone With The Wind,” which I read in 6th grade (though I didn’t understand as much as I did when I re-read it last year). My dad used to motivate me to read historical novels by letting me watch the movie versions afterward.

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    • This was wonderful to read, Leanne. I think I can see how those stories influenced your love of historical fiction. 🙂 I also liked the hearing about how your teacher encouraged global connections with the books you and your peers read. One of my history teachers did something similar; he assigned Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” when we were studying World War I. In hindsight it was a good learning tool, but I would probably appreciate it more now that I’m an adult than when I read it as a teenager.

      You know, I remember reading “Anne of Green Gables” and maybe the next book after that… And I enjoyed them both, but I never finished the series. Maybe it happened around the time I was feeling disenchanted with reading, because the book I was assigned for school readings didn’t appeal to me…

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts, Leanne. 🙂

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  14. Interesting how life, background, etc. influences our reads.
    I started reading my first genre books (and I’ll go with “speculative fiction” to bulk together fantasy and sci-fi) when I was in my early teens.
    The first books were Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series and Howard’s Conan series. I’ve also read Mercedes Lackey’s Herolds of Valdemar series (the only one really age-appropriate at the time 😉 ). I got to Lord of the Rings only long after reading Sapkowski, so Tolkien couldn’t enchant me anymore: Sapkowski’s wordbuilding and storytelling is superb (though one has to get through the first two books – short stories collection, to fully appreciate the size and complexity of his world), his language rich and his tales, “modern” in a way. I liked LotR, but Le Guin’s Tombs of Atuan left a much deeper impression on me.
    On top of that, shortly after reading Tolkien, I’ve read some Mike Resnick’s books (including “Miracle of Rare Design” which I love to this day) and Dan Simmon’s “Hyperion” (and all other in the series) which I’d consider “my Tolkien”.
    Harry Potter suffered similarly as Tolkien – when came out, I was quite a seasoned reader already, so even though I’ve read the whole series, it left no impact other than “It was fun to read”.
    As for other books, a year and a half ago a friend tagged me to write about “10 most formative books”, so if you’re curious, here’s a more detailed list: http://melfka.com/archives/858 (also, as I re-read this post, I can see how my English had improved since then ^^ ).

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Interesting how life, background, etc. influences our reads.”

      ^^ Agreed. Even though you and I read in the same genre, our lists of first authors and books from that genre are very different. I’ve heard of Sapkowski and his work, but haven’t read it before. It looks like only a few of his works have been translated into English…?

      And I know what you mean about The Tombs of Atuan. It’s unique compared to other fantasy stories, especially because of Tenar’s internal conflict and growth, and the catacombs setting as well. I think it left just as great an impact on me as A Wizard of Earthsea did, but in its own way.

      And before I forget: I haven’t read any Mercedes Lackey books yet. Which one(s) would you recommend to a new reader?

      Thanks as always for commenting, Joanna!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sapkowski has really written only two series – as far as I know, only the Witcher one was translated (mostly due to the popularity of the video games that were based on his world and characters). As I said on Twitter, he’s definitely worth a go (and his way of showing the scene through the eyes of some unimportant character you might not ever see again is just superb).
        Agreed, Tombs of Atuan are unique. You could say “nothing happens” in the book, but it still keeps you glued to the pages till the last one. And then you want more. I loved all the Earthsea, but this one is my favorite.
        I started with “Arrows of the Queen” (Heralds of Valdemar is a series of multiple trilogies spanning hundreds of years) and if you can bear 13 year old girls, talking white horses, go for it. I remember these books as very warm (some cruel and gruesome things happen, but it always leads to some “happy” ending) and she was inclusive before it was “fashionable” (for lack of better words) – each book features at least two lesbian/gay character (usually in a happy relationship or finding one in the course of the book), and the Last Herald Mage has a gay character as a protagonist.
        By the way, Titan Books started re-releasing the trilogies in handy ombibuses. Here’s the Arrows one:
        http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Heralds-of-Valdemar-Omnibus-Mercedes-Lackey/9781783293780?ref=grid-view
        (yeah, I’m shamelessly advertising Book Depository, because I love their site for the sales and free shipping 😀 ).

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