Today we're showcasing some of our favorite works of literary fantasy and sci-fi! Perhaps some people equate “literary” with “slow”...but we prefer to call it “deep.” If you are looking for recommendations on deep-diving books, then dive into this list!
1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke: set during the Napoleonic wars; follows a rivalry between two London magicians. One is cautious and traditional, the other reckless and attracted to wild, dangerous magic.
2. The Bear and the Nightingale (and sequels) by Katherine Arden: a many-layered tale of a family living at the edge of the Russian wilderness. Vasya's new stepmother tries to remake the family's whole life, while evil from the forest creeps closer to their village.
3. The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas: a slice-of-life drama about a vampire who lives a mostly normal life as a college professor. He hunts humans for their blood but also has some empathy toward them.
4. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: Two boys learn the heavy cost of wishes after a mysterious carnival rolls into their small town, beckoning people with seductive promises but ultimately turning their lives into nightmares.
5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: A human ambassador travels to the icebound planet Winter, where the inhabitants' gender is fluid. He's there to bring them into a galactic alliance but must first reconcile his own views with their culture's.
6. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis: After her beloved younger sister is taken from her and married to the God of the Mountain, then banished, Orual turns her back on the gods and forges her own life as a warrior queen. But near the end of her life, she confronts the gods and learns the truth about herself and her sister.
7. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: three narratives spanning generations, tied together by folklore about Vlad the Impaler. A professor and his wife, and later their daughter, venture across Europe looking for Dracula's tomb.
8. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle: an enduring classic. A lonely unicorn leaves the enchanted forest where she lives alone, on a quest to find others of her kind.
9. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: Twelve-year-old David is angry and alone, mourning his mother's death. He takes refuge in his books and finds himself propelled into a fantasy land of heroes and monsters, ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book…The Book of Lost Things.
10. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer: Charlotte wakes up after her first night at a new boarding school to find herself in 1918, and everyone thinks she's a girl named Clare. For months, she alternates between her life and Clare's. If she doesn't find a way to stop this time travel by the end of term, she may never be able to.
What are some of your favorite literary books?
P.S. - If you enjoyed this list of recommendations, why not sign up for our newsletter? Twice a month, we'll send you a themed list of fantasy and/or sci-fi book recommendations, and sometimes music or movies too! (Not to mention jokes, games, puzzles... :D)
This list originally appeared in our newsletter, with four extra entries.
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