Here's an extract:
I’ve read a few best-selling fantasy series—Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials, Twilight, Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, The Dark Is Rising—but I would never describe myself as an aficionado. First because all these books are on about a fourth-grade reading level, and second because I read them for their best-sellerness, not their fantasy-ness (to stay in the loop, I tell myself). I doubted whether the genre had more to offer adults—literary adults, adults who enjoy reading bonafide novels. If you happen to be a fantasy aficionado, you are no doubt shaking your head at the ignorance of that statement, as my friend Hugh Lippincott did recently. Hugh is a graduate student in physics at Yale, (hopefully) in the final year of a Ph.D. He spends his days searching for dark matter—I’m not sure what happens when he finds some—and his nights, apparently, reading fantasy books. He is also the author of the blog Physics for Mom, a guide to what he does written for the scientifically impaired.
I asked Hugh what he would recommend for someone like me—a beginning fantasy reader ready to graduate to more serious (but not too serious) fare. Here are his picks, complete with explanations of their greatness. He sent them to me with the reassurance that “there is no shame in being a real fantasy reader.” Thanks, Hugh.
It's a relatively good list for someone wishing to get a little more into the genre, though I don't agree with all the selections. . .
It will annoy Mystar and long-time fans of the Yeard, but as a Lemming of Discord I feel the need to give props to Hugh for his summary of the Sword of Truth:
Sadly, Goodkind did so well on this completely self-contained fantasy that he wrote ten sequels, each one worse than the one before and more prone to excruciatingly long Ayn Randian monologues from the main characters (needless to say, I read them all). Read this book, and then pretend the others don’t exist.
Kudos to Hugh for recommending Guy Gavriel Kay and Steven Erikson, both of whom have yet to make it big in the USA.:-) Maybe seeing their names in The New Yorker will help them get better sales!
Check it out and see if you agree with Hugh's suggestions, and feel free to submit your own list in the comment section.