Around Thanksgiving I usually do a book recommendations I’m thankful for post, but this year I thought I’d mix it up. This isn’t truly Thanksgiving as we now start the big Christmas shopping season and start putting up decorations officially, but it’s still a season to be thankful for books and the ways they impact our lives. All of this was a long intro to say that this is all focused on books that I’m grateful for having read, not just because I enjoyed them, but because they pushed me as a reader.
- The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
- The first book of the Lord of the Rings, this is likely the most well known book on the list overall, if not just in the Fantasy genre. When I was first introduced to this book I’ll admit I didn’t really respect it like I should have. My dad had been asking me to read it, and I was more excited about tv, and easier books to tackle. I gave it a couple of years, and finally tried to read it again, and I ended up enjoying it so much more. It does start slow, but the books have been a big connection for my Father and I, which is why this book always ends up on my lists.
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
- I think for each new school level I hit there was an evolution to my reading. High school I didn’t really read like I do now. I was focused on school, fan fiction, and video games, not exactly reading. Somehow I ended up finding the Mortal Instruments, and a teacher even let me use it as my reading project, so my addiction to the series of course was encouraged by school. This series was pretty much the starting point for my love of books, and YA Fiction in particular. I don’t know what I would have been without these books, or if my room would have had the crazy bookshelves that live here now. They aren’t the best of Clare’s books, but they are special in how they get it all started for me.
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
- This series wasn’t a big reading change for me, but a really cool connection that made a friend in school that I still talk to about books today. It wasn’t even in an English course that we ended up talking this series, but a business one, so I’m going to just say it was meant to be. She saw I reading the third book in the series, and talked about where she was in the series, and if I was enjoying it. It sounds pretty casual and normal for a conversation, but for someone who hasn’t had a lot of people to talk books with it was an amazing moment, and definitely one I would love to repeat with others.
- Red Rising by Pierce Brown
- When I picked up Red Rising it was perhaps one of a few adult Science Fiction novels I had ever grabbed. At the time I was definitely in the thick of YA Fiction, and honestly enjoying that. I was not ready though for how addicted to this series I would be, or how much fun it was to occasionally get in conversation with others over how intense this series was. I had other friends reading this and then telling me how annoyed they were with how addicted they became to the series, buying the next books faster than they had intended.
- The Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin
- I’ll be honest, for someone who enjoys Fantasy, I haven’t read a lot of adult level fantasy books, and it mainly is due to size of the books . When you have reading challenges, book reviews, and a blog to think of it becomes harder to want to pick up a book you know will take a good month to get through. I still tend to not go for the thick books, but the Inheritance Trilogy bind up by NK Jemisin was my first book of that size, and a good way to prove to myself I could not only read books of that size, but really enjoy it too. Hopefully I can use that knowledge to expand my reading into more Fantasy this coming year!
What are some books that impacted you as a reader? What books are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m seriously so touched every time Throne of Glass is mentioned. So glad to have made a friend who loves books too! Although I haven’t continued reading ToG since the second book, I think I will finish the series eventually.
Such a great list! Very impactful stories and love how they connected with you.
My personal list would include Sabriel (the Abhorsen series) because it’s really what reignited my love for reading and fantasy in middle school and was the one story that always stuck with me. And then, in college, I was finally able to read Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin (thank goodness for libraries!). Reading Earthsea has forever raised my standards for fantasy and story-telling in general. Then, there’s the in-between: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My favorite stand-alone novel. It really changed how I read and was the first adult book I read (aside from maybe classics I read in high school). The Night Circus is absolutely magical and always makes me feel nostalgic.
To put it more coherently, I would say Sabriel was what pushed me to read (YA) fantasy in middle school, then The Night Circus was my transition into adulthood (I was 19-20, literally becoming an adult), and finally Earthsea is what solidified my sense of wonder and love for books and fantasy.
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I definitely need to read Earthsea still, but I love your picks! I always love hearing about books and how they shaped us as readers from others. Everyone always has different picks, and reasons for what they choose.