It is said that new authors should read recently released books in their genre to get an idea of what publishers are looking for. It is also said that new authors should read everything in their genre to avoid repeating what has come before.
The problem is, in the fantasy genre, that is quite a daunting task. I actually thought I was reasonably well-versed in the classics of the genre, but guess what? There’s an enormous list of people writing fantasy now (I mean books published since, say, 2000), and every time I look at another “best of” or “worst of” fantasy list I have to add more: Joe Abercrombie, Daniel Abraham, Jacqueline Carey, James Dashner, Steven Erikson, Neil Gaiman, Terry Goodkind, J. V. Jones, Scott Lynch, Robert Newcomb, Patrick Rothfus, Fred Saberhagen, R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, Naomi Novik. Those are only the most famous names; there are probably ten times more out there. And these are not small books we’re talking about. Many of them are the 1000-page whoppers we’ve come to expect from epic fantasy, not to mention that many of them are series of anywhere from three to one-hundred-and-fifty-three books.
I’ve even missed some of the old pantheons like Orson Scott Card, Anne Mccafrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. I am one of the last people who hasn’t read any of the Harry Potter books. I have read Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, Weiss/Hickman, and Fritz Lieber, but not in at least a decade or two. The only fantasy authors that have been in my reading list for the past two years have been George R.R. Martin, Tad Williams, and Robert Jordan. (Tolkien is a given, of course.)
This is going to take forever! At least I can check off these authors now: China Mieville (oddly cited in many fantasy lists, though Perdido Street Station is only a distant cousin of fantasy if you ask me), Brandon Sanderson and John Brown (because I’ve been listening to Writing Excuses), and I’m now reading Fred Saberhagen’s First Book of Swords (because it’s blessedly short).