What should I read next?

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I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows tonight. I took my time reading it knowing I would be sad when I finally finished. I am not sad for the way the book ended (I won’t tell what happens…), but because I don’t have a new book in the series to look forward to now. I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books. My favorite genre of fiction is fantasy and now I’m sort of afraid that I’ll not be able to find another series that I will enjoy nearly as much. I never did finish the Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe series. Maybe I should start them again. Anyone have any suggestions for me? If so, bring them on!

32 thoughts on “What should I read next?”

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  2. Definitely finish “Chronicles of Narnia”. The middle books can drag some, but the last one is worth sticking it out.

    When’s the last time you read “Lord of the Rings”? That can be a fun one to revisit.

    As far as fun fantasy, what else have you enjoyed? There are some good vampire series, like the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris (pretty fluffy), the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series by Laurel K Hamilton (I’ve only read the first one so far), the Blood Ties series by Tanya Huff is a great one too.

    Also, Mercedes Lackey has written some good stuff. If you’ve never read “By the Sword” you should. It’s a bit old but definitely worth the read.

    And “The Fantasies of Robert Heinlein” is also a superb collection of short stories. A definite must-read, especially the one entitled “All You Zombies”…it takes time travel and fantasy in a direction that makes your head want to implode.

    Can you tell I used to manage a bookstore? 🙂

  3. How about Neil Gaiman, or Terry Prachett? Or maybe go back in time a bit and check out Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series?

  4. You might want to check out Zelazny’s “Amber” Series (a classic 10-book fantasy story) or Stephen Brust’s “Vlad Taltos” Series (Still in progress.. 10 or 11 so far). They are a fun read 🙂

    Gaiman’s “Neverwhere” is a must read before any trip to London, and I like to re-read Stephenson’s “Diamond Age” whenever I’m in between books and feeling fussy.

  5. Hey-
    I loved Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. It begins with The Golden Compass which is stupendous. Read it before 12.7.7-when the movie comes out. It’s got a great gadget called the Aleitheometer. I’m hoping it will show up on the Gadgeteer some day soon.

  6. Hey Julie,

    How about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon? It is historical fiction, romance, time travel, fantasy, etc. with a core group of really strong characters. Several coworkers recommended the series to me a year or so ago. I picked up the first book (Outlander….aka Cross Stitch) and it was super hard to put down. Here is a listing of all the books in the series:

    Outlander (also titled Cross Stitch)
    Dragonfly in Amber
    Drums of Autumn
    The Fiery Cross
    A Breath of Snow and Ashes


  7. I’d also suggest The Belgariad by David Eddings. His subsequent works aren’t quite as good, but the original is quite fun. Also, if you don’t mind a little darker and more sci-fi, the Traveller series by John Twelve Hawks is excellent. And David Gemmell’s writing is something to not miss. (my favorite: Hero in the Shadows).

    Oh, and I heartily agree with Neverwhere. Quite the masterpiece.

  8. Another suggestion of a fun series to keep yourself busy: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, which is up to nine or ten books (plus a short-lived Sci-Fi channel series last year, which was actually pretty good, hence the early cancellation)… the first one is called Storm Front, and I forget the titles and order of the rest.

    I also love just about everything by Charles De Lint… he writes mainly urban fantasy with a strong mythic bent. I think I’d probably recommend starting with one of his short story collections, as a way to get introduced to his setting and its usual characters in nice bite-sized chunks, but otherwise it’s hard for me to pick a favorite 🙂

    Another suggestion you’ll probably have to visit the library to follow: Gael Baudino’s series about elves which includes Strands of Starlight, Maze of Moonlight, Shroud of Shadow, and Strands of Sunlight. I read the last one first, picked up at random in the bookstore at college, and it hit me in the gut so hard I had to go back for the rest.

    I can probably recommend more, but this comment is getting too long and I can’t find my Sony Reader at the moment 🙂

    And finally I second the recommendation of His Dark Materials. At least read Golden Compass before the movie comes out, if for no other reason than that it will probably explain things in more detail than they have room for in a 2 hour film.

  9. I second Grant Chen’s suggestion for David Edding’s Belgariad. and yes, his subsequent works are basically like rereading the first book over again.

    Another series I am having a great fun following is Mercedes Lackey’s five hundred kingdom series which begins with The Fairy Godmother, which tells the story of a land ruled by fairytale-like tradition. One Good Knight, and Fortune’s Fool are book 2 and 3 respectively. If you like humorous fantasy fairytale, this one is for you.

    Also read Echantment by Orson Scott Card. Its only one book, but it retold the story of sleeping beauty as only Card can do.

    I also follows Steven Brust’s Taltos series, Robin Hobb’s Farseer series, and tons of others, but I think thats all for now, since after reading the posts before me I have to go run to Borders.

  10. Terry Pratchett definitely gets my vote.
    The Discworld series has over 30 novels, and he’s still going I believe.

  11. Wow! I wrote that post right before heading up to bed last night, so I am surprised by all the responses so far! Thanks guys! :o)

    I’m definitely writing down all these books and authors on my list of things to find. My sister has been recommending the Outlander series for years. I thought it was just a ‘romance’ novel, so I never checked it out. Guess I should now!

    I was thinking last night (it was hard falling asleep after finishing Harry Potter) of the books that I’ve enjoyed in the past. One comes to mind that I might like to revisit. Pigs Don’t Fly by Mary Brown. She had a 2nd book too: The Unlikely Ones. I really enjoyed both of them and now see she has a few more. I’ve always been a real sucker for quest books. Especially when the characters are a group of friends.

  12. Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment) is a great read. It’s a bit different take on the Authurian legend, told from Merlin’s point of view. The theme is the change of Britian from a

    If you’ve never read it, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King is about the best telling of this myth around, IMHO.

    I’d vote for finishing the Narnia books, too. Any Lewis fiction, actually, is quite good. His “Space” triology (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength) is good, but gets deep into the Authurian legend, especially in the last book. They are more Science Fiction than fantasy, but Lewis’ ideas of how Scripture, British History and legend, and Greek mythology all meld together is fun to experience. Do not start “Till We Have Faces” unless you mean to finish it in one or two sittings. Once you’re past halfway, you will not put it down, I don’t care how tired you are.

    Re-reading The Lord of the Rings is always a good few month’s time. Every time I want to find a passage to quote in some discussion, I find myself reading several chapters. Such a great story and storyteller.

  13. I’ve never finished T.H. White’s One and Future King. I’ve started it a couple of times though… but that’s been years ago. That’s a good idea, thanks!

    I’ve read The Hobbit and the first book in The Lord of the Rings, so that’s another good idea to either start over or finish the series. :o)

  14. There are some good suggestions here already, especially Amber if you can find it.

    I highly recommend the Spellsinger series from Alan Dean Foster. I think they were reprinted a few years ago, so you should be able to find them.

    Also, take a look at the Riftwar saga by Raymon Feist. (Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon, etc)

  15. I would strongly recommend the Recluce Series by L.E. Modesitt Jr. It has an interesting take on magic and the structure of reality. The warning is that there is a bit of sci-fi around the edges, so if that’s not your thing…

    A second suggestion would the the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I enjoy the social commentary that lurks behind the scenes.


  16. I second the Jim Butcher Dresden books (one reviewer said think Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Phillip Marlowe).

    Likewise the Discworld series by Pratchett – if Douglas Adams wrote fantasy (on acid… or maybe laughing gas) Pratchett invented the “Glingleglingleglingle Fairy,” a small magic creature who’s sole purpose is to make the sound of bells whenever another fairy arrives, and the Discworld Sandman – who brings sleep to small children with sand the same as the sandman in other universes, only he doesn’t bother to take it out of the bag first….

    My wife is a big fan of the Charles DeLint stuff written about the fictional city of Newford.

  17. I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books as well. I’m sure you’ll get alot of great recommendations.

    Consider George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” Series. The first book is “A Game of Thrones”:


    Another great set of books for me was the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodkind. Start with “Wizard’s First Rule”:


    Can’t wait to hear what you think.

    • Joe
  18. All of the above… plus….

    • Incarnations of Immortality Series by Piers Anthony. A weird but wonderful interpretation of what it would be like if “Death” and “War” and “Fate” were offices, like being a judge or lawyer, or mayor. The underlying premise is that those roles get filled by ordinary humans who now have to figure out what to do… Death has to sort souls at a place like the post office. It’s fun and light, and at the same time deep and philisopical. Especially read the first one “On a Pale Horse” and perhaps the last two (like some of the others above this series can feel more forced in the middle books, but so worth the read overall. and each book can be read separately if you must).

    • Mordant’s Need Series by Stephen R. Donaldson. Only two books “The Mirror of Her Dreams”, and “A Man Rides Through”, but each book is about 1000 pages paperback (but fast reads). The women lives in the “real world” but is drawn through her mirror to a medieval/magical world where mirror magic is the highest art. The “bumbling apprentice” is the love interest (no it’s not too “girly”, but it is lighter fantasy not sci-fi)… and perhaps the chosen master? Or not? Donaldson deals with questioning reality, and also the “ugly duckling becoming…”. I read his works when I feel in need of some “metamorphosis” in my own life, usually quite uplifting, as as his shorter works (Read the short story “Daughter of Regals” if you want to get a feel for his style before starting into 2000 pages. =)

    • If you like the “Arthur” legend type fantasy… try Marion Zimmer Bradley. Very high on the “girl” fantasy scale, but beautifully wrought.

    • Just like LOTR’s is always worth another read, going back and reading all of Douglas Adams might be a better match for the cottage. Of course “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is wonderful… but I even sometimes prefer his “Dirk Gently” series when I need a fast fun summer read. Quote from Wikipedia: “‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’, described on its cover as a ‘thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic’. Like many of Adams’ stories, its plot defies easy encapsulation. The book was followed by a sequel, ‘The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul'”.

    Those are my top recommeds for fast-read fantasy… there’s a whole ‘nother list for darker deeper fantasy, and hard sci-fi, but I could hole up with this list for weeks, and enjoy every read.

    Oh, so many good books so little time. I can barely find time for new ones, much less old ones (can you tell I’m an English major yet… ;o)… I just hope that some one will enjoy these as much as I have, and hopefully will again.

    Let us know what you get started on, Julie. Or if anyone else starts in on some of these suggestions, let me know what you think. I think I’m be trying the Recluce Series, and the Pratchett works with what’s left of my summer!

    Thanks for the great list.

  19. another nod for Eddings (one of my all-time favorites), Piers Anthony is good too (as mentioned above), and….

    I’d like to suggest Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time series. It’s actually not quite finished, but I think it’ll be wrapped up soon (I’m guessing only one more book). It’s also on my all-time favorite list, despite being strung along since 1990 when I read book one.

  20. I suggest Orson Scott Card. The Ender’s Game series is awesome, the Homecoming series is different, but very cool, and the Alvin Maker series is not finished yet, and so is ongoing. He also has tons of short stories, and other single books. Always a great read!

  21. The Belgariad is quite good…The Mallorean isn’t bad either. Both series will keep you occupied for some time. The Ender series by Orson Scott Card is excellent, Ender’s Game may be the single best work of science fiction ever written. The Dune series by Frank Herbert is interesting, but IMHO the prequels are much more compelling than the sequels.

    My favorite series of sci-fi/fantasy novels is the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who likes to read. It follows the story of the gunslinger Roland Deschain of Gilead on his quest for the Dark Tower, the axle on which all existence spins. It is impossible not to be carried away into this world.

  22. I was sticking with Fantasy before, if Science Fiction is ok too, the Ender series is hard to beat.

    For hard Sci-Fi, Everything by David Brin is excellent. Also look at C.J. Cherryh’s books, and Alan Dean Foster’s Thranx Universe (Flinx and Icerigger are two of several subseries)

    For The Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony, I thought the first few were good, but they got weaker as the series went on. My favorite series by him is Split Infinity/Blue Adept/Juxtaposition. Going back to his old stuff, Macroscope is really good (though sci-fi again) I also recommend the first few Xanth Books (A Spell for Chameleon, etc). I don’t remember where the the best point to stop is. I think there are 30 or so books in the series now, though i’ve only ready the first dozen or so.

  23. I back up everything said about the Terry Pratchett books, especially his Discworld series.

    One of my favorite characters is a night watchman:
    “Sergeant Colon owed thirty years of happy marriage to the fact that Mrs. Colon worked all day and Sergeant Colon worked all night. They communicated by means of notes. He got her tea ready before he left at night, she left his breakfast nice and hot in the oven in the mornings. They had three grown-up children, all born, Vimes had assumed, as a result of extremely persuasive handwriting.”

    Terry Pratchett created a man named Moist Von Lipwig.

    I will say though (an possibly to great argument) to start your Discworld adventures with ‘Guards! Guards!’ instead of ‘The Colour of Magic’. It’s one of the best and has a low barrier to entry. TCOM is a lot more fantasy with odd names and many parts of it (especially the character of Death) changed quite a bit, and for the better, along the series.

    I hope you do give them a try!


  24. I just had to throw out one more quote from Terry Pratchett:
    “Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.”

  25. I would suggest the Callahan series by Spider Robinson…they’re relatively short books—won’t take you too long…but its quality, not quantity….

  26. Wasn’t DH great! I couldn’t read it slowly as we had three in the family wanting to read it and only two books. So I had to devote the whole of Saturday to it.

    Personally I found Narnia a bit preachy but I guess the Marist Brother’s left me with an allergy 🙂

    Definitely Pullman and LoTR.

    Also try Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke — wizards but not really a children’s book. I would also highly recommend the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

    I assume being a gadgeteer you have read everything by William Gibson ? I am still waiting for someone to make Neuromancer into a decent movie.

    Finally I always liked Ursula Le Guin if you just want straight science fiction.

    If you want a really long series there are 55 Animorphs books and I read most of them to my oldest child. Not sure I would have read them to myself although some of the ideas are interesting particularly the impact the long war with the Yerks has on the kids.


  27. Potter was a great read…better as each book went on…

    So what to read now? Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (1st, 2nd and Last) is great…he is 2 books (in Oct the 2nd is released) into the 4 book Last Chronicles. The previously recommended Amber series is also awesome.

    In sci-fi, Herbert’s Dune series (finally finished this month by his son) is also awesome…the LotR of sci-fi.

  28. A few other good sereis not yet mentioned:

    “The Deed of Paksenarrion” Tirlogy by Elizabeth Moon (1st is Sheepfarmer’s Daughter); The Borderlands Novels by Lorna Freeman (1st is Covenants); Fafherd and the Gray Mouser books by Fritz Leiber (1st is Swords and Deviltry); The David Webber series that starts with “Oath of Swords”

    If you are looking for a fun SciFi read, try the Lois McMasters Bujold “Miles Vorkosigan” books.

  29. Piers Anothony… yep, pretty much anything from him is great. But my favorite is “Battle Circle”. It’s a fairly simple story about America after a nuclear war, but I thought it was very special and I have a paperback copy I pick up about once a year and re-read it. Love that book!

    Also, I don’t recall the author (shame on me!) but look for “Phule’s Company” and the others in the series. It’s about a mega-rich man who decides to join the space foreign legion and ends up in command of the worst (and most fun) group of rag-tag soldiers… then manages to turn them into the elite, while fighting off corperate takeovers 🙂 very fun stuff

    Again, it’s been a while so I don’t recall the authors…. but

    M.Y.T.H. Inc.
    M.Y.T.H. Inc. in action
    etc… wonderful books about a group of creatures on wild adventures. Starts off with a young mage learning that his master’s demon is really nothing more than a inter-dimensional traveler and that most mythical creatures are just misunderstood folk.

    A Sword for a Dragon, and Bazil Broketail…. again, fun books, about talking dragons that fight in an army. Sort of living tanks, if you will, and the dragonboys that attend them.

  30. I’d read the “Death Gate Cycle” by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. It’s 7 books, and they take your standard Fantasy fare and put it on its head. They have created a fantastic series of novels/worlds.

    Honestly, I’ve read a TON of Fantasy novels and it ranks right up there with LOTR to me. An absolute must read.

  31. Just as a footnote: the Phule’s Company and the M.Y.T.H.Inc series are both by the late Robert Asprin. Well worth reading.

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