Ryan's Top 3 Most Read Science Fiction/Fantasy Books
Updated: Jan 14
Today, I found myself looking at my private library (aka the bookshelf in my apartment) with the intention of removing some books to clear up some space.
As I'm sure other book lovers are aware, it can can sometimes be hard to choose which books to pass on and which ones to keep. I found myself looking at the titles on my shelf, that survived the previous purges, and will likely continue to do so.
These are the books that I've read over and over again, with covers creased and worn with use. The stories that I, for one reason or another, never get tired of reading (I plan on doing another post on my favourite books on Audible, stay tuned!)
That being said, here's a list of my top 3 most read books in Science Fiction and Fantasy:
The Hobbit-J.R.R Tolkien
Ender's Game-Orson Scott Card
Under Heaven-Guy Gavriel Kay
1. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
This is a book that should come as no surprise to anyone that loves fantasy, as this as well as the sequel series The Lord of The Rings, were instrumental in defining the Fantasy genre.
This edition of the book is actually one of the oldest books on my shelf. It was given to me by my uncle when I was around 10 or 11, and it has been with me ever since (so nearly 20 years!).
I don't know how many times I've read it, but every time I do, I'm struck at how much a book meant for children can still resonate with me as an adult.
What I really love about the book, aside from the beautiful illustrations of this edition, is how the main character of the story, Bilbo Baggins, starts off the story as being someone who "never had any adventures or did anything unexpected".
But despite societal pressure and his own self doubts, he ends up going outside of his comfort zone and embarks on an adventure that not only takes him to far-away places, but helps him grow stronger and more resilient as an individual, even though he loses his "reputation".
2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
This is also one of the oldest books on my bookshelf. I was first given the book as birthday present when I turned 13, and I've had it ever since.
There are many reasons as to why this book continues to resonate with me, but one of the biggest one is that even though the primary character, Ender Wiggin, and much of the other characters are children, the author Orson Scott Card gives them such a level of maturity that it's easy to believe that they're adults.
It's one of those rare stories that can appeal to people of any age, young or old. Despite being about children, it's most definitely not a children's book.
A big theme of the book involves making decisions, especially really big decisions and being able to live with the consequences of your actions afterwards.
It's no wonder this book is still recommended reading for armed forces personnel around the world.
3. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
I love all the works by Guy Gavriel Kay, but I think Under Heaven is my favourites.
The big reason I like his books is that although they fall under the Fantasy Genre, they read more like a historical fiction novel. He places less emphasis on lore and world building, and places more emphasis on building strong characters that happen to exist in a fantastical time and place that mirror past chapters in our own history.
Under Heaven for instance takes place in the fictional country of Kitai, but the place names and character names wouldn't be out of place in a story from ancient China. Some of his other books follow the same example, such as The Lions of Al Rassan, which takes place in a setting similar to medieval Spain and Morocco.
I love Under Heaven because the story and settings are incredibly rich and detailed, and all of the characters have so much depth. If this story was somehow transformed into a painting, I feel it would be similar to an old oil painting portrait, where every detail is somehow captured.