I was tagged by Rachel for this wonderful tag and even though her favourite genre is one I struggle with (historical fiction), her reviews are always my favourite, so you should all go and check her blog out.
What is your favourite genre?
This is not quite as easy for me to answer as it used to be but it’s definitely fantasy in all its subgenres. I used to read A LOT more fantasy than I do now but it is the one genre I could not live without.
Runner-ups were memoirs and short stories (which, you know, is not really a genre), and I also read a lot of general fiction and literary fiction.
Who is your favourite author from that genre?
This is such a difficult question… But I think I am going with N. K. Jemisin because her writing excites me to no end. I have not quite read all her backlist (I have not yet read her Dreamblood duology) but that is only because I am pacing myself. N. K. Jemisin is on top of her game and for me the most exciting writer today (not just in fantasy but in general actually). I cannot wait for her collection of shorter works coming out later this year and then for everything else she might ever decide to write.
What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?
Fantasy, when done right, can be escapist fun while also being so much more. It is super varied, so depending on my mood I can read something slow and whimsical or something fast-paced and heart pounding.
Fantasy can be hard-hitting in a way that is still fun to read – sometimes I need a little escapism in my reading while still being mentally stimulated and fantasy does that for me.
What is the book that started your love for that genre?
I don’t actually remember as I have been reading fantasy since I was a child. And yes, I loved Harry Potter when I was younger but those books occupy a different space than other fantasy books in my mind. I think the first “proper” fantasy book I read and remember was Märchenmond by Wolfgang & Heike Hohlbein (Magic Moon in English apparently). I also needed to read Lord of the Rings after watching the first movie because I could not wait a whole year before knowing what’ll happen next. So, those two probably.
PS: I got the Folio Society edition of Lord of the Rings for Christmas last year and that is THE most beautiful thing I own.
If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?
I am stealing Rachel’s idea and recommending books based on other genres. Because I could not narrow it down to one book.
If you like mystery novels, you should read Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities trilogy. The first book in particular is a murder mystery set in a fantasy world and it was just a wonder to read and more people should pick it up.
If you like fairy tales or historical fiction I would wholeheartedly recommend Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale. Set in the north of Russia with its seemingly never-ending winter, this book is evocative and creative, the spins she puts on familiar fairy tales while adding something original is just something I really adore in fantasy. The fantasy elements are also not too much in your face, which might help people who are not the biggest fans of super technical worldbuilding.
If you are into classics, then Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke might be right up your alley – the book is written in a snarky Austen style, complete with footnotes and non-sequitors, and I found it so very brilliant and clever.
If you like more experimental fiction you should pick up All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders which combines the best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy to something wholly original.
If you are looking for something political and sociological you really should pick up N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy – to be fair, I do think you should pick those up anyways, because Jemisin is a genius and her work is the best there is (for me at least).
Why do you read?
Because I don’t know how not to.