The best stories that conjure another world with craft while you craft

Joe Parrino Author Of Alone
By Joe Parrino

Who am I?

I got started as a writer through writing fiction intended to accompany a hobby, to deepen worldbuilding, and breathe life into the miniatures in a table-top wargame. I have always been fascinated by the worlds that grab our attention, that yank at our nostrils and dare us to make something more, to tell our own stories in this grander universe. So, I put together this list of books to accompany you as you dream of other worlds and build something with that hobby, whether it is painting miniatures for your friends, knitting, or whatever keeps your hands occupied. Here is a list of books to keep you company. 


I wrote...

Alone

By Joe Parrino,

Book cover of Alone

What is my book about?

Separated from his brothers aboard a seemingly abandoned pilgrim ship, Raven Guard Librarian Ithkos Jevel picks his way through the dark and sinister corridors of the vessel.

Can Jevel survive to rejoin his battle-brothers and discover the fate of the humans who called this ship home?

The books I picked & why

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The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss,

Book cover of The Name of the Wind

Why this book?

I return to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss again and again. It is a masterful account of magic, music, and memories. The prose is stunning and full of wonder. I catch new things in Rothfuss’ writing on every reread, from the recurring seven words of true love to the hidden rhymes within the prose. It is a book full of hidden mysteries and the subtle art of naming. I recommended it to friends and coworkers to scratch that magic school itch. It is a meditation on the nature of stories and magic itself. The music and legends we tell ourselves. It is an amazing book and one of my best loved.

The book resonates with me even more since I discovered that the author also has ADHD, something I was diagnosed with during the pandemic. I can see it in Kvothe, the main character. Each reread adds more texture and leaves me in awe at the command Rothfuss has over language. The audiobook of The Name of the Wind accompanied me on a recent drive across the U.S. and it is a fitting companion for any hobby. I cannot recommend this book enough, even as we all languish in wait for the third entry in the series.

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Name of the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lyrical fantasy masterpiece about stories, legends and how they change the world. The Name of the Wind is an absolute must-read for any fan of fantasy fiction.

'This is a magnificent book' Anne McCaffrey

'I was reminded of Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkein, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone' THE TIMES

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University…


Monstrous Regiment

By Terry Pratchett,

Book cover of Monstrous Regiment

Why this book?

I read this book two years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a book about a woman who joins a failing army in order to rescue her family. Along the way, she finds unexpected love, unexpected companions (including a vampire and an Igor), and a way to win a war against a far superior foe. As ever with the brilliant and biting Sir Terry Pratchett, there is so much humor, warmth, and craft poured through every inch of his magnificent prose. There are so many moments that brought actual guffaws from me, including a particularly memorable sock. I highly recommend this book for anyone needing a laugh at the absurdity of society, gender roles, and the military. All of which are topics we should be exploring.

Monstrous Regiment

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Monstrous Regiment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new stage adaptation of one of Pratchett's best-selling novels The Monstrous Regiment in question is made up of a vampire (reformed and off the blood, thank you), a troll, Igor (who is only too happy to sew you a new leg if you aren't too particular about previous ownership), a collection of misfits and a young woman discovers that a pair of socks shoved down her pants is a good way to open up doors in a man's army."One of the funniest English authors alive" (Independent)


Norse Mythology

By Jackson Crawford,

Book cover of Norse Mythology

Why this book?

Jackson Crawford’s lectures on Norse mythology make a wonderful accompaniment to any bit of hobby-doing. It fits, I think, with the venue these stories would have originally been told, something to pass the time, to make work of the hand and eye go by a bit faster. What better to help inspire some fantasy making, like painting miniatures or knitting something more elaborate than stories of gods and heroes of a bygone age, when magic was real, and the gods and giants battled around us? I started with Dr. Crawford’s YouTube lectures on all things Old Norse and came to appreciate his engaging style and masterful depth of the subject. He brings the stories to life and reveals the language as it may have been spoken. He puts the myths in their contexts. I view any day that I haven’t learned something new as a bit of a waste and Dr. Crawford is a great resource for learning something new.

Norse Mythology

By Jackson Crawford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Norse Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thor, Odin, Loki, Freyja, the Valkyries, Valhalla, Ragnarok — many of the places we encounter these and other names, places, and events from Norse mythology in daily life and pop culture are connected to the medieval sources in name only. 

Join Jackson Crawford, a translator of Old Norse, for a rousing introduction to the original stories, characters, and themes of Norse mythology in these 24 lectures. Packed with gods, anti-gods, magical figures, human heroes, religious practices, and literary devices, this course lays bare the reasons for our enduring fascination with these undeniably dramatic tales. It also connects the dots to…


Nettle & Bone

By T. Kingfisher,

Book cover of Nettle & Bone

Why this book?

I am relatively new to the writing of T Kingfisher and my introduction was the fantastic Nettle & Bone. Her prose is wonderful. Her story is whimsical. Strange magic runs throughout the book as an almost-nun determines she needs to kill a prince with the help of a dust-wife, a disgraced warrior, and a godmother who isn’t very good at her job. I am a complete sucker for faerie markets, in this case the Goblin Market. Her writing style is refreshing, and I have already bought a bunch more of her books.

Nettle & Bone

By T. Kingfisher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nettle & Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant USA Today & Indie Bestseller
An Oprah Daily Top 25 Fantasy Book of 2022
An NPR Best Sci Fi, Fantasy, & Speculative Fiction Book of 2022
A Goodreads Best Fantasy Choice Award Nominee

From Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning author T. Kingfisher comes an original and subversive fantasy adventure.

*A very special hardcover edition, featuring gold foil stamp on the casing and custom endpapers illustrated by the author.*

This isn't the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince.
It's the one where she kills him.

Marra never wanted to be a hero.

As the shy, convent-raised,…


Kings of the Wyld

By Nicholas Eames,

Book cover of Kings of the Wyld

Why this book?

Nicholas Eames crafted a radical take on the standard fantasy adventuring party by giving them rock band style. This book is a fun take on the fantasy genre with a group of over-the-hill mercenaries getting together for one last score. It isn’t often that a book comes along and grabs me by the ears and sets me to head banging. Kings of the Wyld was that book. I couldn’t put it down as I followed Clay and his ragtag band of mercenaries. I love the mix of humor and epic fantasy with the found family thrown in. The audio version is a riot that preserves the rock and roll tone and makes for a great time painting your newest D&D miniature.

Kings of the Wyld

By Nicholas Eames,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Kings of the Wyld as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An outstanding debut which will make you laugh and cry and hold your breath. This is a book that has it all' - K. J. Parker Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best - the meanest, dirtiest, most feared and admired crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. But their glory days are long past; the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then a former bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help: his daughter Rose is trapped in a city…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in good and evil, Norse mythology, and magicians?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about good and evil, Norse mythology, and magicians.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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