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).
So writes New Yorker Book Bench blogger Macy Halford in “Seven Essential Fantasy Reads: Going to Second Base.”
First of all, this fourth grade teacher disagrees that any of these books are written at a fourth-grade reading level. I’m generally not a fan of readability scales, but I’d love to know which one he used to consider Lord of the Rings or His Dark Materials fourth grade level. Yes, I’ve seen them and the other above titles in the hands of fourth graders, but I’ve also seen them reading Dickens.
Secondly, the suggestions received “… for someone like me—a beginning fantasy reader ready to graduate to more serious (but not too serious) fare.” seem a bit odd to me. Where are Megan Whalen Turner (oh yeah, too fourth grade no doubt), Ursula LeGuin, Susanna Clarke, Terry Pratchett, or Neil Gaiman, to name a few favorite fantasy writers of mine? For a few more suggestions head on over to Charlotte’s Library.