24. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien and fantasy novels for readers who love strong characters and complex worlds

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. We’re not shy about sharing our lack of experience with the fantasy genre. It’s not the go-to genre for either of us, but we love to branch out and try new literary things. This book delighted us in some surprising ways and helped us figure out what exactly we love—or could do without—in fantasy novels. 

Our discussion includes:

  • What surprised Sara about reading this book, what she loved and what she didn’t [14:03]
  • Fantasy elements we love and gravitate towards [20:45]
  • Gender roles and stereotypes in LOTR and high fantasy in general [24:54]
  • A few favorite moments that warmed our hearts and pleased our literary minds [30:00]
  • Connecting to LOTR in the middle of a global pandemic [35:28]

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a fast-paced fantasy set in NYC and a beautiful book for map-lovers.

We avoided major spoilers in this episode, so feel free to listen before or after reading in order to enhance your reading experience.

Books Mentioned:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-by-j-r-r-tolkien

Chelsey’s Pairings:

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin [40:57]

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan [51:11]

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss [59:18]

Sara’s Pairings:

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike [45:40]

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James [54:00]

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Maguel, Gianni Guadalupi, and Graham Greenfield [1:01:48]

Picks of the Week:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin

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