Intricate worlds ensnare the mind. For this reason, I enjoy reading fantasy and science-fiction books. There are so many good novels, and endless amounts of excellent short-fiction. To create a list of my favorite stories is impossible — I have so many! What follows, then, is a rough list of a couple books which I adore.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter, book 5)

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The fifth book of the Harry Potter series has always stuck with me, maybe because it represents coming-of-age. Harry Potter becomes a man as he defies the Ministry’s control of his school. But maybe I love it because of the world in which J. K. Rowling places us, and the magic she brings to our lives by doing so.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

By C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia, book 5)

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This story tells of wonderful, adventurous myth. The book is an expedition into our minds, probing the depths of our imagination.The Voyage of the Dawn Treaderis a standard of children’s literature.

Norse Mythology

By Neil Gaiman

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Some would call this book a record of history. The stories, however, continue to enthrall and entrance as no history textbook ever has. Gaiman departs from Marvel's floodlit depiction of Thor the Mighty and gives insight into the complex mind of Loki the Trickster. He paints the Norse pantheon with a signature, resplendent touch.

The Fellowship of the Ring

By J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings, Part One)

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J. R. R. Tolkien was an Oxford professor, and the writing style reflects his stature. The world is magnificent, and the plot is riveting. I particularly connect with the main character, Frodo Baggins. Frodo is timid yet persistant, which I relate to.

The Martian Chronicles

By Ray Bradbury

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This collection of science-fiction stories covers Earth’s colonization of Mars, both from the explorers’ perspectives as well as from the natives’ viewpoint. As well as entertaining our imagination, Ray Bradbury warns of a dark future; one which is in our hands.

A Study in Scarlet

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (A Sherlock Holmes novel)

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Soon after Jack the Ripper tore through London, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced a detective who saw through any crime. Sherlock Holmes meets his legendary partner, John Watson, and the rest is history. As we become intimate with Holmes, we observe his many strengths and inevitable weaknesses. Sherlock Holmes’ debut story is an essential piece for any bookcase.

The Letter for the King

By Tonke Dragt

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Tonke Dragt published this story in the Netherlands in 1962, but it was over fifty years before it was introduced to the English-speaking world. Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must trust no one as he ventures forth on his simple mission. As he fends of bandits on the back of each page, he emanates self-worth.

These are just a few of my favorites. Frank Herbert, Roald Dahl, and many others have also left behind timeless works. For more wonderful titles, check out The Great American Read by PBS, or poke around on Goodreads.