One reading list to rule them all …


It has been a little less than a month since last I updated my 2014 reading list, and I’ve spent much of that time (finally!) muddling my way through Lord of the Rings. I don’t use the word “muddling” as an indication of disrespect for Tolkien or his stories; I was a giant Lord of the Rings nerd before I even read the book, and I continue to regard myself as one. As far as creating an incredibly epic story the reading of which makes your knuckles white as you cling to the edges of the book because the stakes are just that high, well, nobody does it better. In fact, I found myself baffled that the first of the books was originally published in 1954, for though it has a very old-fashioned feel, the sense of urgency and interest is in no way mitigated by the many decades that have passed since. I still haven’t found another tale that better expresses the dichotomy between good and evil–though admittedly in broad and simplistic terms, which I forgive because coming out of World War II, evil must have seemed very real and easy to discern.

In any case, I will likely ruminate at greater length on my opinion of this series once I’ve had time to process it. And, for the purpose of my reading list, I have decided to count each of the six books as a single book rather than count them as a single book, mostly because I would have set myself back considerably if I counted them as one.

As for the second new addition to the list–M.K. Fowler’s Dome of Tubes–I will write at much greater length once the book is commercially available and I have permission from the author (yes, I know other indie authors, and they help me keep sane when I feel exhausted and dispirited and I would like to think I do the same for them).

The Lord of the Rings (Books 1-6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Dome of Tubes by M.K. Fowler

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Island by Aldous Huxley

Dune by Frank Herbert

Sure of You by Armistead Maupin

Babycakes by Armistead Maupin

Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

More Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Winterdance by Gary Paulsen

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings

Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings

Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings

Enchanter’s End Game by David Eddings

If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie



  1. Mignon Khargie says:

    I have to admit that I use your booklist on PaperBackSwap! Thank you Ashley, it was, well, utterly mind-blowing to see my pen name on a list placed right under Tolkein. I’ll take it in whatever context 🙂
    (Glad you got rid of that broken link on the pingback, still working on the new site)

  2. I had only seen Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of the Lord of the Rings (which stopped a little further than halfway through The Two Towers) and didn’t read the books until I was 19. The sheer depth of description/detail that Tolkien writes in, is astounding. I could see Peter Jackson had read the books because he captured Middle Earth and it’s inhabitants perfectly. The books do take some time to read!

    • I am glad that I walked away from the books with more backstory and added depth to the story, but this really was the rare case where I walked away impressed that the movies so faithfully followed the books, I mean that you get a feel for Tolkien’s passion and love for the characters. But there was a little part of me, the editor part, that wanted to take a red pen and start crossing out passages that were just excessive in terms of physical detail. And I never want to do that; usually, a book is sacred and written the way it was meant to be written. Maybe starting with the movies just switched things around for me.

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