but something happened while I was at university
- I discovered and read The Lord of the Rings.
- As a somewhat introverted freshman at a university where I didn't really know anybody, I wandered into an alternative bookstore in Columbia Missouri (Rock Bottom Books & Comics... still there happily) and discovered the boxed 3-booklet set of the Original Dungeons & Dragons. Wow, how I wish I still had that set!
- I answered an ad in the university newspaper 'The Maneater' looking for game players to meet in the basement of Brady Commons... showed up, met a peer group of science fiction and fantasy nerds much like me... and learned how to play D&D, along with Traveller, and many other games whose names I can't remember.
I was one of those forty-something year old men who took their families to a jammed theater to see the Fellowship of the Ring on the opening weekend... and had tears streaming down my face as Gandalf thundered YOU SHALL NOT PASS! And then sobbed (literally) as the balrog dragged him into the abyss.. I wasn't alone... there was a lot of it going on in the movie theater...
and I was that forty-something year old man who waited with his kids at the midnight bookstore premiere for each succeeding Harry Potter novel.
So...that means I've read a lot of fantasy, and will likely continue to read fantasy so long as I am able to read.
The genre has evolved over the years. It's sometimes really hard to tell what is actually 'fantasy'. We have all the vampire novels (Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse), urban fantasy (Jim Butcher/Harry Dresden), apocalyptic fantasy (S.M. Stirling), fantasy historical romance (Diana Gabaldan/Outlander)... and of course the traditional good old swords and sorcery fantasy... Brandon Sanderson, Brett Weeks, Peter Brett, Glen Cook are all current popular authors that I have on my 2012 list. 36 books may not be enough to sample everything... but I'm going to try!