Monday, October 31, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Books for a Fantasy (as in SFF) Book Club

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists.  It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
November 1: Top Ten Books To Read If Your Book Club Likes _______________ (if your book club likes historical fiction, inspiring stories, YA books, non-fiction, controversial books to debate about, or pick a specific book)
I decided to focus on a book club that wants to read only in the Fantasy genre.  This is harder than it may seem at first because Fantasy is so chock full of series which don't lend themselves naturally to a book club.  To make my list I picked mostly stand-alones (with a couple of exceptions) and books I wish I could discuss with someone (so if you ever want to discuss any of them, lemme know!).  Here goes:


1) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a YA novel which may put some folks off but if you have a book club focused on the fantasy genre, I sure as heck hope all members would be open to YA and Middle-grade because that's where some of the best fantasy is written!  This book is based on some slightly obscure folk tales, has an incredibly evocative setting and some really interesting characters.  So. Lots to discuss.

2) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

I just finished this book and there is so much to dig into.  The mash up of historical fiction and fantasy, the Golem and Jinni's different natures and approaches to life, the immigrant experience in New York.  I loved the book!

3) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I am one of the few that did not love this book.  I was troubled by the romance element (not the age difference but the fact that the Dragon was a sadistic douche canoe) and I thought the story was a little meandering.  So, assuming that there might be a split in the group - most that love and hopefully a couple that don't - you could have a pretty spirited discussion.

This is another YA title but I think it does have bunch of interesting things to talk about.  The main characters are a brother and sister and they have a complicated relationship and family.  The view of fairies in the book is intriguing, especially in relation to the one teenage boy that was raised in a human family.  

5) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

A graphic novel installment!  Super enjoyable and delightful that plays with a number of tropes.  

6) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I loved this gorgeous novel and I think it would be fun to gush about it with others.  I know there are some who think it is too slow moving and such so hopefully there could be some feisty discussion.  Also this book is only rather subtly fantasy so it provides some variety.

7) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (with Movie!)

This is a really fantastic middle grade novel which plays with the Cinderella fairy tale.  The fun thing would be to also watch the rather controversial movie that was made of the book and discuss both!

8) War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

This is heralded as one of the founding/standout books of the Urban Fantasy sub-genre,  so it would be interesting to discuss from that standpoint.  I also struggled a bit with the book and wouldn't mind airing my grievances and also getting some other perspectives on it.

9) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

This is an example of an alt-history narrative and one that falls outside of the Western culture.  It's a great book but had some problems that would be fun to pick apart.  Also on the alt-history list that would work great: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon or Territory by Emma Bull.

10) The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

For this and the next two I'm breaking my rule to avoid series. This is a middle grade book that plays a lot with fairy tale tropes and I think you could read the first one without continuing ith the series.

11) The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

This one is probably unrealistic for a book club but I would love to discuss the whole series with a group.  All the characters..and I mean ALL the characters... are worth an in depth dissection.  Then Abercrombie does some very interesting things across the whole series; setting up a solid epic journey fantasy and then tearing it all down and setting it on fire.  Some people hate that. I happen to like it very much:)!

12) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

All that religious allegory to dig into!  

That's a full year (and more) of reading for a fantasy book club!  Which books would you add to the list?

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