Celebrity Picks: Brandon Sanderson's Favorite Reads of 2017

Adrian Liang on January 31, 2017

Brandon Sanderson_credit_Nazrilof_225Few authors have penned such an extensive, rich universe as Brandon Sanderson has with the Cosmere. So when he comments on other writers' worldbuilding skills, as he does among his book picks below, that's the time to sit up and take notice.

Sanderson, like many of his fantasy-writing compatriots, has a lot of pressure from his readers to keep writing in the worlds they love. Unlike his compatriots, Sanderson keeps a ticker at the top right of his webpage, showing visitors exactly where he is on various projects. And, man, he is busy.

But he still makes time to read, even if it's never enough time to suit him. See his picks below, and look here for more authors' favorites.

As a teen first getting into fantasy novels, I had this strange—almost laughable—fear. The fear that I'd run out of books to read. I was new to all of this, and legitimately frightened that I'd just...run out. Each new book was a beautiful and wonderful exploration to me, and part of me just couldn't imagine that it would keep going. That there would always be new worlds to discover and new stories to experience.

One of the most bittersweet realizations in my life was that moment when I discovered the opposite was true. The creation of great stories would outstrip my ability to read them—I'd never run out, but I'd also never be able to get to all the books that deserved my time. —Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s favorite reads of 2017

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The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen - The first story on my list here is the best book I've read in a long time, and is curious because the author (Jane Yolen) is one of those authors I was reading as a teen—and worried I'd run out of books like hers to enjoy. The Emerald Circus is the one I want to recommend to you today. It's a delightful short story collection from one of the best writers in sf/f—and is an at times whimsical, other times very grounded, take on mythology and fairy tales. If you haven't looked into Jane's books yet, do yourself a favor and read this one. It comes out around the same time as Oathbringer, so by the time you're reading this, you should be able to get it.

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Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal - Sometimes, it's difficult for me to recommend books from the last year as...well, I don't often know when things come out. I tend to live in a strange world where I'm reading books months or years before they come out. But one of those came out almost exactly one year ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mary Robinette Kowal's story Ghost Talkers is a World War One alternate history spy thriller about mediums who take reports from the spirits of dead soldiers after they are killed. Tightly paced, and powerfully emotional, it's just the right blend of historical lore, action, and character. I listened to the audio, which is read by Mary herself, and it was delightful.

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Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls - To offer something different for the third offering, I'll point you toward Jed and the Junkyard War, a book by one of my former students. I had the pleasure of reading this in advanced copy sometime last year, and it is out as of this spring. It's a middle-grade fantasy adventure with some excellent worldbuilding. (It takes place in a fantastical junykard that is an entire plane of existence—and everyone who lives there are scavengers.) It has a great narrative voice.

I've posted longer reviews of all these books on my Goodreads page! Enjoy.


Photo credit: Nazrilof

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