Thirty-three times before this, I started a blog post with the paragraph…

From time to time I’ll recommend—not review, mind you, but recommend, and yes, there is a difference—books that I think authors should have on their shelves. Some may be new and still in print, some may be difficult to find, but all will be, at least in my humble opinion, essential texts for any author, so worth looking for.

That’s a lot of books, starting on the first of September 2009 with a book that’s still on my shelf. In fact, all of these books are still on my shelf, and I still recommend you find them, read them, and take from them what you will to make you a better writer not just of fantasy but any genre.

Here are links to all of the previous thirty-three posts. Enjoy!

September 1, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors I: Medieval Wordbook

I recommend you find a copy of this excellent reference book by Madeline Pelner Cosman.

September 29, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors II: Payback

Why you must buy and read this fascinating book by Margaret Atwood.

November 11, 2009 Books for Fantasy Authors III: My Ten Favorite Fantasy Novels

A look at my desert-island books, if the desert island is the lair of a hungry dragon.

January 19, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors IV: World Builder’s Handbook

In which I recommend an obscure, long-lost role-playing game product to any and every author of science fiction.

February 16, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors V: My Ten Favorite Science Fiction Novels

My desert island books, if the desert island is surrounded by the methane seas of Titan.

April 27, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VI: Take Joy

A must-read book by Jane Yolen for all writers of all genres.

September 28, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VII: Born Standing Up

Find out what SF/fantasy authors can learn from Steve Martin’s memoir.

December 14, 2010 Books for Fantasy Authors VIII: The Eerie Silence

A brilliant review of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Paul Davies.

January 4, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors IX: The Essentials

Some must-have books to have close at hand.

February 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors X: Writing the Breakout Novel

I recommend agent Donald Maass’s exceptional book for all genres.

November 15, 2011 Books for Fantasy Authors XI: The Red Hourglass

Don’t invent a monster without it.

January 24, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XII: Last Breath (and Stranger Than Fiction)

What does death feel like?

May 8, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIII: Columbine

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

October 2, 2012 Books for Fantasy Authors XIV: The Prince

I take a look at the seminal text by Machiavelli.

April 1, 2014 Books for Fantasy Authors XV: Why I Write

I take a deeper look at some exceptional essays by the great George Orwell.

October 28, 2014 Books for Fantasy Authors XVI: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

A must-read for all SF authors, but particularly all you post-apocalypsers.

May 12, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVII: Zen in the Art of Writing

Of course we can all learn from the great Ray Bradbury.

September 1, 2015 Books for Fantasy Authors XVIII: Still Writing

Dani Shapiro has some thoughts on writing that you need to hear.

February 9, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XIX: Poetics

Going all the way back to Aristotle for the basics of story structure.

July 26, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XX: Heinlein’s Rules: Five Simple Business Rules for Writing

Not quite a full-throated recommendation, but a book well worth a look.

October 11, 2016 Books for Fantasy Authors XXI: My Ten Favorite Horror Novels

It’s October—time to get spooky!

June 12, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXII: The World Split Open

A collection of remarkable essays by remarkable authors.

October 2, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIII: On Writing Horror

An excellent collection of essays on the subject of writing horror fiction.

December 11, 2018 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIV: Savage Pastimes

A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment by Harold Schechter.

November 19, 2019 Books for Fantasy Authors XXV: Horror of Philosophy

A must read set of three books by Eugene Thacker.

December 29, 2020 Books for Fantasy Authors XXVI: Story Trumps Structure

A look at this popular writing guide by Steven James.

April 27, 2021 Books for Fantasy Authors XXVII: Science Fiction Handbook, Revised

How it’s done, from the 1975 perspective of L. Sprague and Catherine de Camp.

November 23, 2021 Books for Fantasy Authors XXVIII: History of Atlantis

“History” as fantasy worldbuilding.

December 7, 2021 Books for Fantasy Authors XXIX: Invented Futures

A look at some fun science fiction predictions of the year 2000 from the year 1900.

August 23, 2022 Books for Fantasy Authors XXX: Bird by Bird

A quick look at an essential text by Anne Lamott.

November 15, 2022 Books for Fantasy Authors XXXI: In Praise of Good Bookstores

A book for bookstore lovers like me.

February 14, 2023 Books for Fantasy Authors XXII: Show Your Work

A look at Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.

March 28, 2023 Books for Fantasy Authors XXXIII: Every Book You’ve Ever Read and Ever Will Read

Books are every author’s continuing education program. Every book.

That’s a lot of books… and there will be more to come, I promise!

—Philip Athans

Did this post make you want to Buy Me A Coffee

Follow me on Twitter @PhilAthans

Link up with me on LinkedIn

Friend me on GoodReads

Find me at PublishersMarketplace

Check out my eBay store

Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

And speaking of books for fantasy authors…

In Writing Monsters, best-selling author Philip Athans uses classic examples from books, films, and the world around us to explore what makes monsters memorable—and terrifying.

You’ll learn what monsters can (and should) represent in your story and how to create monsters from the ground up.

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
This entry was posted in authors helping authors, authors to writers, best fantasy blogs, best genre fiction blogs, best horror blogs, best science fiction blogs, best websites for authors, best websites for writers, Books, fiction writing blog, fiction writing websites, freelance editing, help for writers, helping writers become authors, horror novels, how to write fantasy, how to write fiction, how to write horror, how to write science fiction, monsters, Publishing Business, RPG, Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels, SF and Fantasy Authors, Story Structure, websites for authors, websites for writers, writers to authors, Writing, writing advice, Writing Community, writing fantasy, writing horror, writing science fiction, Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s