Reading the Top 12 Fantasy Books on Goodreads | 2020 TBR

I've slowly been sticking my toes into adult fantasy for the past few years, and lately, there have been a lot that I have wanted to read but just keep putting off for some reason or another. But mostly, because I'm intimidated by them.

Adult fantasy seems so inaccessible for me. And I think that's because I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Over half of the books I read are via audio. And like a lot of people, adult fantasy is very hard for me to grasp onto via audiobook. I'm not quite sure what it is. Something about all the fantasy names and locations and none of it seeming real I think is part of it.

But I really want to conquer my fear of adult fantasy in 2020. And I want to get back into the habit of physically reading books because it's something I really enjoy and have missed in the past year or so of mostly listening to audiobooks.

Enter, a Goodreads article. 

After a few years of consistent book buying, I have amassed a not-that-small collection of unread fantasy books. That results in me being kind of overwhelmed when I go to my shelves to pick out one that I'm interested in reading because I'm interested in all of them! So, when I logged onto Goodreads to see a list of adult fantasy that I'm very interested in reading (and I already own most of them), I figured that this would be as good a jumping-off point as any.

Now, I've already read two of these, The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones, so here are the ten adult fantasy books that I'm challenging myself to read throughout the year.

  • NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo: Starting this list off with two women feels good. Adult fantasy is a genre historically dominated by men (as the rest of this list will show you) so it makes me a little happy that the two top trending fantasy books on Goodreads are ones written by women. Ninth House, in particular, I am a little hesitant about because I've heard mixed reviews. However, I do generally like Bardugo's work so I'm going in optimistic, even though I know the subject matter is dark.
  • CIRCE by Madeline Miller: This one is a recommendation from a) Goodreads b) everyone on the internet and c) my sister. So this one is a definite must-read for me because once books (especially ones that aren't adaptations) go beyond the bookish internet and into mainstream culture, I know that I've got to read it, especially when it's got the older sister stamp of approval. 
  • THE LAST WISH & BLOOD OF ELVES by Andrzej Sapkowski: I'm planning on starting The Last Wish in February because I just recently finished watching the show and have the bug to know more about this world and this story. If I like the first book, then I'll probably immediately jump into the second collection of short stories, Sword of Destiny.

  • THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J.R.R. Tolkein: I knew there was going to be one classic fantasy on here that I was not excited to read, and here it is. I do own a very 80s book club edition of this series, so I was definitely planning on reading it at some point in my life. But I'm nervous to read this because I didn't grow up on any Tolkien. The movies came out when I was very young, and I remember being terrified of Gollum. And when I watched them through in college . . . I was really bored? I did start the first book years ago in high school (right after I finished reading The Hobbit) and got to the point where Frodo and Sam start their journey before I got tired of Tolkein's descriptions. Hopefully, I've matured a bit as a reader since then and can appreciate this series and its impact.
  • GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: Probably the one on this list that I'm most excited to read? I started reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series last year (and feel very comfortable in saying that reading through that series is a lifetime goal because it's so long) and I really loved what I read. Also, I read some Gaiman last year that I really loved, so I'm excited to read the collaboration between these two. I'm really confident that I'll enjoy it because I enjoy some humor in my fantasy and Pratchett does that incredibly well. 

  • AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman: I don't know a lot about this one. I did find a used copy of this for a couple bucks, so I do own it and am terrified of it because it's massive. 
  • THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss: Speaking of terrified . . . this is one of the very first adult fantasy books I ever bought because I heard so much buzz about it. And it's sat on my TBR shelf for years because there's still no announcement for the third book in this trilogy and it's been something obscene like ten years since the second book was published? So part of me is terrified of reading a very large fantasy book that I might not enjoy, and then the other part of me preemptively scared of getting through books one and two and having to wait an indefinite amount of time for the third book. 
  • THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman: The only book on this list that I a) have firmly DNF'd and b) do not own. I started reading this ages ago in high school because it was an almost-boyfriend's favorite book and I wanted to impress him. But, uh, I started it and did not enjoy it so I just kind of gave up on reading it. I'm going to try one more time to read this, but I will not beat myself up if I still don't enjoy it and just end up DNF'ing it again.
  • THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin: Wow, am I glad this book is on here because this list is dominated, with the exception of Bardugo and Miller, by white men. And there is so much more to fantasy and so many more fantasy writers than just white people. Jemisin was the first black woman to win the Hugo award (I believe for this book, but it could be for one of her other series). This is a very highly acclaimed book, both in terms of awards and from people that have read it, so I'm excited to read it. 

I want to review as many of these books as possible, too. Is there one that you're particularly interested in my thoughts on? Is there one on this list that I need to read first? Or if you want to read some of these, we can totally read them together. Let me know down in the comments!


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