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The Lord of the Rings

If any book deserves to be listed first, this is the one. My first real hobby-cum-obsession back in high school was J.R.R. Tolkien. I fell passionately in love with his works, to the point where I memorized the Elvish writings (known as the Tengwar) and had a working knowledge of Tolkien's invented languages of Quenya and Sindarin. This link proves I wasn't alone in my Tolkien obsession: the power of his writing was felt by many people, and it continues to be explored today. His books are still grand fantasy in the style of the classic mythology of old, and Middle-earth will forever be an influence on the genre of "fantasy" in science fiction.