This is a Book Riot post, so I’m quite curious to see what fifty novels they’ve chosen from among the thousands and thousands of potential titles. I seldom overlap much in my personal tastes with Book Riot posts, so here’s what I’m guessing: very few older titles (say, written more than 20 years ago) except by LeGuin. Almost no overlap between the fifty I might pick and their list. Nothing that I’d personally place in the top ten.
To make those predictions fair, let’s see which ten I might actually put at the top, which I grant making selections is essentially impossible, but let me try real fast.
Okay. Fantasy, not SF. By women. Top ten of all time. Off the top of my head, in no order except how I thought of them, plus making an effort not to just list a bunch by Patricia McKillip:
- The Book of Atrix Wolfe by McKillip
- The Changeling Sea by McKillip
- The Goblin Emperor by “Katherine Addison”
- The Shape-Changer’s Wife by Shinn
- Beauty by McKinley
- The Lens of the World by MacAvoy
- Fortress in the Eye of Time by Cherryh
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrill by Clarke
- Inda series by Sherwood Smith
- The Raksura series by Martha Wells
Gosh, that was … random. I feel like I could easily pull half the books (and series) off that list and replace them with others. I feel like I could do that half a dozen times with no trouble. I suppose for once I feel like fifty is not too long for a list and than ten is too short. But fine, I’ll go with the above just so I can move on, look at the Book Riot post, and see (a) if there’s any overlap between those ten and their fifty.
Also, I want to count:
b) How many of their fifty I’ve read;
c) How many of their fifty I’ve liked / thought were great even if I didn’t like them;
d) How many of their fifty were published more than twenty years ago.
And …. looks like ….
a) One book appears on both lists: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrill. I can’t say this was actually my favorite book of all time. I liked it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. Nevertheless, I think it is great literature and deserves to be a true classic.
b) I’ve read twelve books of their fifty.
c) I liked eight of those twelve; but I do think some of those are overrated.
d) The dates of publication aren’t listed, but offhand I’d say that zero of the works listed were written more than twenty years ago. Oh, I take that back. Mercedes Lackey’s title was published way before that. I think that’s the only one. Never read it myself (Arrows of the Queen). Everything else was published more recently, mostly much more recently.
Well, there, then. That’s officially my biggest problem with the Book Riot list: a near-complete bias against older works. It’s a real shame to see older authors forgotten and older titles ignored.
If you were going to put one “must read” title on this kind of list — fantasy, woman author — and the title had to have been published before 2000, which single title would you choose?