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Original Essays | August 20, 2014

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger

Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
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    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

Further Recommendations

After finishing a great book, sometimes it's hard to know where to turn next. Let us help. Each of our "further recommendations" pages provides knowledgeable suggestions, hand-picked by our staff, to satisfy your hunger for more great reading.


His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula LeguinThe Earthsea Cycle by Ursula Le Guin
A reckless youth unwittingly unleashes evil upon the world; he masters his power, tames a wild beast, and crosses into another world in order to restore the balance. Later, in his search for a great treasure, he frees a long-sequestered priestess and leads her out of darkness. Finally, the hero journeys through the land of the dead in order to heal the land. Adult and young adult readers who, upon finishing Pullman's works, find this familiar plot intriguing can look to A Wizard of Earthsea, the first story in Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea cycle. Le Guin's diverse literary repertoire has earned numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, the last Earthsea book capturing the Nebula in 1990.

The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan CooperThe Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
Middle and young adult fantasy readers who liked Pullman's children-against-universal-evil themes may appreciate similar struggles in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence. Simon, Jane, and Barney, later joined by Will, engage in a perilous search for a grail that holds the power to fight against evil. Without the grail, the world is doomed; only the children can keep the Dark from rising. Also consistent with Pullman, Cooper's diction and setting are distinctly British; this makes for a smooth transition to an already somewhat easier read. The first book in the sequence is Over Sea, Under Stone, though many readers prefer to start with The Dark is Rising.

The Immortals Series by Tamora PierceThe Immortals Series by Tamora Pierce
Pierce's strong female characters make her stories particularly popular among female fantasy readers, though girls are not the only fantasy fans to appreciate Pierce's imaginative plots and well-crafted characters. The Immortals makes a good starter series for people unfamiliar with Pierce; Wild Magic, the series's first book, centers around a magical girl whose ability to communicate with animals coud ultimately restore the lost balance of nature.

The Lost Years of Merlin Series by T. A. BarronThe Lost Years of Merlin Series by T. A. Barron
T. A. Barron's Lost Years of Merlin series is particularly popular with young male fantasy readers, but is also recommended for any young adult interested in the well-known Arthurian magician. In this award-winning series that starts with The Lost Years, Barron creatively depicts the harrowing confrontations and spiritual battles of Merlin's adolescence. Perfect for readers who took special interest in Pullman's Will Parry.

Paradise LostParadise Lost (or at least the Cliffs Notes) by John Milton and Roy C. Flannagan, respectively
It makes sense that Philip Pullman chose for an epigraph to The Golden Compass a quote from Paradise Lost; both Milton and Pullman address the same the same theological dilemma. Are the ways of God to men justified, or is the Christian god (and church) cruel? Though Pullman's trilogy skillfully introduces to young readers questions that have long been at the heart of Christian theological debate, Milton's seventeenth-century masterpiece is the definitive exploration.

The Obvious Suggestions
Though we also recommend these books for fans of Harry Potter, each has a separate and obviously valid relationship to Pullman's works:

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
What good fantasy writer has never been compared to Tolkein? Though Pullman states in an interview with that his books "aren't like Lewis or Tolkein," he does refer to Tolkein as the reference point in fantasy literature from which all other books are measured – reason enough to read or revisit the works of the master.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Though both Pullman and Lewis are deeply concerned with Christian issues; their attitudes about them are quite different. Pullman's trilogy was not written in answer to The Chronicles of Narnia, but the two together provide an interesting compliment of viewpoints. Religious debate aside, the adventure and fantasy of Lewis's stories have kept the series popular for fifty years. Though most Narnia readers are familiar with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the series actually begins with The Magician's Nephew.

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
People lined up outside of bookstores, dressed in their pajamas in the middle of the night to buy The Goblet of Fire, Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book. The uproar was not all favorable, however: protest grew against the witchcraft and magic in Rowling's works. Though Pullman's series is recommended for young adult readers as opposed to younger, middle readers, the content is similarly controversial. Pullman indicated in an interview with that he was pleased with the attention that the Potter series drew, if not redirected. The first book in the series is Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone.

The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
Pullman's animal daemons play important roles in His Dark Materials; Jacques's animals play all of them in Redwall. As we mentioned in our Harry Potter recommendations, "Brian Jacques's books set the standard for successful fantasy series for young adults...The Redwall adventures grab their readers with grand quests and heroic archetypes and have been a staple for imaginative young readers since the first book [Redwall] was released in 1986."


The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
Hannibal by Thomas Harris
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson


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