68 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

You should read The Silmarillion after reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. To start off with an analogy: The Silmarillion starts on such a gigantic scale that if you begin with it everything ...
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  • 729
35 votes
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Why is the order of The Chronicles of Narnia changed from original publication?

The question of reading order for The Chronicles of Narnia is a complicated one, with much debate even among avid fans of the series. But you've asked only why publishers changed the order, which is ...
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23 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

Voronwë's answer is excellent, but I'm going to post the answer I was planning to anyway. LotR is a gripping tale; the Silmarillion is more like a textbook or encyclopedia. This is a slight ...
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  • 64.5k
23 votes

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

TL;DR: Begin your Holmesian adventure with short stories from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Continue with the early novels before moving on to the later short ...
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  • 5,684
21 votes
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In what order should Rick Riordan's mythological series be read to make the most sense, and what is the chronological order?

Warning: This is long. A reminder: Percy Jackson and the Olympians deals with the Greek gods. The Heroes of Olympus deals with the Greek and Roman gods. The Kane Chronicles deals with the Egyptian ...
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18 votes
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Do I need to read the Redwall books in any specific order?

I've already posted about this on another SE site. Let me try to go into even more detail here. There are two obvious possibilities for the ordering: publication order and in-universe chronological ...
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17 votes
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Do I need to read the Hardy Boys books in order?

You don't need to read them in any order. Overall advice The interesting thing about The Hardy Boys is that the writing style has changed over time. I don't know just how many ghostwriters have been ...
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  • 5,684
16 votes
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Should Go Set A Watchman be read before To Kill A Mockingbird?

Definitely read To Kill a Mockingbird first. Although Go Set a Watchman reads more as a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, without reading Mockingbird, much of the bigotry Atticus displays in ...
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  • 4,277
15 votes
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Which order is recommended for the "Commonwealth" novels?

The Commonwealth universe consists of three series of books that should be read in publication order: Commonwealth Saga: Misspent Youth (2002), "prequel" Pandora's Star (2004) Judas Unchained (2005) ...
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15 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

Another point that hasn't been mentioned. The Silmarillion has a summary of the Lord of the Rings as its final chapter, "Of the Rings of Power and The Third Age". It is a full summary of LoTR and ...
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  • 259
14 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I would agree with the posters saying: first LotR (to enjoy it fully, and it is an easier read, and the huge scale of the Silmarillion events will not "dwarf it down"). But not in your specific case. ...
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10 votes
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Reading order for Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere

This solves your problems. It shows a nice chart outlining a few different ways to read the cosmere. Here it is: On the other hand, as long as you read each series in order, you can really do ...
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  • 4,209
10 votes

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

HDE's great answer is much more detailed than mine and has more reasoning for each of his reading order choices, but with that in mind, I thought I'd chime in. I've read all of the Sherlock Holmes ...
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  • 4,277
10 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

You are asking two different questions here, one in the title ("should I read the Silmarillion before or after LotR?") and one in the text ("what would be the upside to reading the Silmarillion before ...
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  • 209
9 votes
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For and Against different Reading Orders for Narnia

I first read the books in the chronological ordering when I was about five. And that, I think, makes a big difference, because to a five-year-old, The Magician's Nephew is a slog. I didn't understand ...
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  • 1,853
8 votes
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Would a reader of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea miss anything essential without knowing about Jane Eyre?

Yes, a reader of Wide Sargasso Sea who is unaware of its connection to Jane Eyre is pretty much guaranteed to have missed the entire point of the novel. Jane Eyre is so iconic that Rhys could simply ...
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  • 15.3k
7 votes

What order should I read the "Ender's game" series in?

Orson Scott Card said something about this (shamelessfully stolen from this answer on SFF) You can read them in the order written - Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, ...
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  • 707
7 votes
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Can I read the second book of "In Search of Lost Time" out of order if I can't find a good translation?

Yes, the books are related and are intended to be read in order. In Search of Lost Time is one work in seven volumes. Each volume is not an independent work. Rather, the novel is a developing story; ...
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  • 15.3k
7 votes

Should I read the English translation of "Khasākkinte Ithihāsam" first, or the original?

Read the Malayalam original first. Whatever your aim in reading the English translation, you will achieve it more readily by having the knowledge of the original in mind. As the quote you have ...
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6 votes
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Is there any merit to reading the Poirot novels in order?

There's no need to read the Poirot books in any particular order. Agatha Christie has rewritten a few of the early Poirot short stories (see list) from the book Poirot's Early Cases (1923) and The ...
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  • 1,684
6 votes
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Is there "required" background reading for "The Hero With a Thousand Faces"?

I think the best way to understand Hero is to read or watch The Power of Myth; the book is a transcript of the series of interviews by the same name. Bill Moyers sat with Campbell to discuss Hero, and ...
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6 votes
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What order should I read Thomas Pynchon's novels in?

If you're tackling the first three books, I'd say Lot 49, followed by V., followed by Gravity's Rainbow. "A Journey into the Mind of Watts" makes a nice addition somewhere in there. There is a ...
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  • 1,462
6 votes

Do I need to read all the supplementary material for The Expanse, and in what order?

Corey has suggested they are best read in publication order, (main novels in bold): Leviathan Wakes (2011) The Butcher of Anderson Station (2011) Caliban's War (2012) Gods of Risk (2012) ...
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6 votes

Would a reader of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea miss anything essential without knowing about Jane Eyre?

There is no consensus among critics about whether Wide Sargasso Sea stands on its own or not. For example, Francis Wyndham wrote in his introduction to the first edition (1966): For many years, ...
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6 votes
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What is the chronological order of the Tales of Goldstone Wood books?

General Review of The Tales of Goldstone Wood This is a wonderful book series. It's Christian fantasy allegory, so if you liked Narnia, you'll probably like this. However, two caveats: Most of the ...
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6 votes
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Can the Odyssey be consumed independently of the Iliad?

tl;dr Yes, they can be read independently. On the nature of myth (hand-wavy background stuff) In a comment to your question, you note: these were originally oral traditions rather than written books.....
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  • 15.3k
5 votes

Are you required to read any of Langdon books by Dan Brown to properly understand and enjoy the next ones?

I read the books out of order (first The Da Vinci Code, then The Lost Symbol, then Angels and Demons, and then Inferno), and I don't think there is much reason to read them in any particular order. ...
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  • 5,716
5 votes

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I would agree that the Silmarillion should be read after the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, but for quite a different reason than everyone seems to be espousing. For me, when I finished the Hobbit,...
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  • 4,546
5 votes
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Is there a specific order to read Tom Clancy's works?

The Hunt for Red October is the fourth book in a (currently) 24-long series, known as the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. That link has the books by publication date, but you might prefer them by ...
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