BRN #26: If I Taught a Fantasy Class: Reading List

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The idea for this post actually came from Heather (The Sassy Book Geek) and I thought it was such a fun idea that I wanted to create my own class reading list. So, if I taught a class on Contemporary Fantasy/Sci-Fi literature these are the 10 books that would be on my syllabus: 

The Ask and The Answer

The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness

Technically this is the second book in the trilogy so really you’d have to read the first book to understand this one but I chose to ignore that fact in this hypothetical scenario (maybe I’d assign the first book as summer reading to be done prior to the class starting lol) and skip to this book. This one I picked because it’s such an interesting exploration into perspective. Who are the real terrorists? Who are the real good guys? Who’s the real enemy? It twists facts, events, and perspectives until you’re not sure who to side with.
(My Review)

the circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers

This is an obvious choice for my class because it’s applicable to the here and now. It’s rooted in a tangible present while eerily twisting it into an almost inevitable future. Definitely a great book to inspire discussion on technological and social ethics!
(My Review)

language of thorns

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

This one is a collection of short stories set within a fantasy world (dubbed by fans as the Grishaverse) so it’s a quick read but each story is so deep with dark twists that it takes the format of fairytales/folklore and forces us to actually stop and think. A good choice for creative writing assignments or tie-ins with fairytales from our own world.
(My Review)

the poppy war

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Not only is this book full of excellent explorations on religion, academics, and military strategy, but it’s inspired by true Chinese history. The realm of possibility with regards to research, assignments, projects, and discussion are endless with this book!
(My Review)

The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

This is another book that, while futuristic, isn’t too far from the realm of possibility in that it poses a future that can be easily envisioned regardless as to whether one thinks it utterly absurd. It really pokes and prods at the idea of world peace, what that might look like, and what it might cost.
(My Review)


Scythe by Neal Shusterman

More futuristic dystopia! Overpopulation is a real problem in our world and this book takes a crack at exploring what will become of humanity if not only the population is left to grow but if medical advances manage to simulate immortality. Themes of mortality, philosophy, duty, and ethics fill these pages. A bit morbid and twisted yet it manages to ensnare you in its web until you agree that their solution makes a weird kind of sense despite its inevitable corruption.
(My Review)

Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Teamwork between a group of individuals with little in common, heists that seem impossible to pull off, and the greater machinations of socio-political economics. There’s a lot to dig into with this one but mostly I chose it because it’s a favorite of mine and one thrill of a tale. I mean, come on, every class has to have at least one fun book, right?
(My Review)


Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas

Another book of contradicting perspectives! There is an enemy but who is it really? Those enforcing the law or those tearing it apart? Propaganda, abuse, politics, monsters, rebels, and spies. Alternating perspectives tell this story and between them all it shows the same situation painted in very different lights. Understanding how one’s past can shape our choices, prejudices, and perspectives broadens one’s view of others, the world, and the truth as a concept.
(My Review)

red rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Revenge versus revolution and the costs of either are explored in this book. It’s also packed with brilliant military strategy and political strategy to transform one nobody into a tide-turning somebody. This isn’t a naive tale of the downtrodden rising up against their oppressors but rather the patient and bloody road to get there. To make matters more complicated, when one spends too much time with their enemy they just might realize they’re human after all and that would be the worst truth to believe.
(My Review)


Vicious by V.E. Schwab

This is a straight up look into what differentiates a hero from a villain. Is it their powers? Their actions? Their motives? Nothing is black-and-white in this book and gray areas for both psychology and ethics are the most fun to debate and explore!
(My Review)

I loved putting this list together! This wasn’t even a blog tag or anything, Heather simply did a post and I knew at once that I wanted to play along (okay so maybe I overthought things a bit haha but I don’t care because I had fun). I really tried to choose books that a) I enjoy, b) I think would inspire discussion and deeper research/thought amongst students, and c) might rekindle a joy for reading in students. In my opinion these books offer a wide variety of characters and story-telling so that hopefully one, if not most, might strike a student and lead them into deeper thought. I wouldn’t just want a fun adventure if I were really choosing books for a class, I’d want books that would challenge as well as entertain. But also I just chose some of my personal favorites hehe.

And okay, realistically there’s no way a class would have time to squeeze all of these in one semester, maybe not even a double-semester/year for the average reader, but since this is a fictional reality I’m pretending that I’d have students that could indeed keep up with the coursework my class would require and it would be full of enthusiasm and colorful discussion and mine would be their favorite class WOOOO!!! haha 😄

What books would YOU have on your class syllabus? Or what books would you like to read for a class?

4 thoughts on “BRN #26: If I Taught a Fantasy Class: Reading List

  1. Six of Crows has been gathering dust on my to read list for ages…it’s one of those books that I just really want to read but still haven’t gotten around to.
    One book I would add (well actually it’s a trilogy) is the Dragonlance Chronicles, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I just loved the characters in that one and it’s a joy to read. Fun post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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