My commute to work involves a 15 minute walk, followed by a 23 minute train ride. I’ll have my nose stuck in a book while on the train, but for the walk it’s usually podcasts I’ll be listening to. I don’t subscribe to a great deal of them, maybe ten, tops, of which four or five I’ll regularly listen to. One of those is SF Squeecast (SF fans, go listen, it’s fantastic!).
Anyway, I was listening to the current episode on the walk to the station the other day, the topic of conversation for this episode being about books we wish we had read when we were younger. A couple of days before, I had finished Brandon Sanderson’s epic tome of a book, The Way of Kings, and listening to that episode I realised something…
I really wish I’d read fantasy books as a kid.
I mean, sure, I read a few during my teens, mostly some Forgotten Realms books as I was big into playing Neverwinter Nights at the time, but none of the classics or the fan favourites, and nothing that could really be considered ‘epic fantasy’. And I don’t just mean Tolkein (I think I would have been bored to tears with a Tolkein’s books as a kid—I still am as an adult. Believe me, I’ve tried!). No, I mean authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, and Raymond E. Feist, authors that wrote books which contain huge fantasy worlds, fully realised characters and unique ideas that I think would have influenced my young mind in a way that would have made me a different person entirely.
It took reading The Way of Kings and absolutely adoring it to come to the realisation that I really do love fantasy as a genre, but the books just need to be the right ones. Then again, I guess that goes for books in any genre, even my beloved science fiction. I just wish I’d had someone to suggest some great fantasy books to me when I was a kid. Hell, speculative fiction books in general. I suppose missing out on them as a kid has one advantage: I now have a whole bunch of them to look forward to as an adult.
My ‘to read’ list just became about three times as long.