So this guy who writes for the New Yorker online sneers at the fantasy he's read to date (written at a fourth-grade level, he says), but for unknown reasons he wants a list of what he should read next ("I doubted whether the genre had more to offer adults—literary adults, adults who enjoy reading bonafide novels"), and his friend makes such a list for him, and you know what? It's not the list I would have made. There are good books here, but in general, the choices are too close to stereotypes, that probably will not sway the sneering reader of "real" books.
My own list (edited to add: of books that I would suggest to someone who reads bonafide adult novels, and sneers at fantasy; all though I like many of these, this is by no means a list of my own favorites, which are doubtless at a fourth-grade reading level).
I'm not exactly sure what a reader of bonafide novels likes (since clearly I'm not one), so I have created sub categories of possible readers.
1. For the reader who wants to be made vaguely unhappy by the reading experience, distrusts clear prose, and wants ambiguous complexity, here's a list of very well-respected, even beloved, fantasy novels that I would recommend:
Red Shift, by Alan Garner Miserable as all get out, but those who love it rave about the beauty and power of it. I found it not dissimilar to what I imagine being flayed by scorpions would be like.
Little, Big, by John Crowely. It's been a while since I read this, but I remember it being rather long, and me being not at all sure that I really cared. Many bonafide novels make me feel this way.
Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones. I have read it four times, and still am not clear what happened and why.
Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan. It's a beautiful book, and I enjoyed it lots (and so thought hard before including it in this list), but the violence, faint sense of detachment, and "feel" (she said articulately) give it a "bonafide novel- ness."
2. The reader who really likes beautiful prose and doesn't mind being confused
Ombria in Shadow, by Patricia Mckillip
3. The reader of bonafide novels who is a simply looking for another good book, regardless of genre, to read (these are the books I'd recommend to my mother):
Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanely Robinson, The Yiddish Policeman's Union, by Michael Chabon, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (the one book I have in common with the original list).
I haven't put any Ursula Le Guin on the list because the books of hers that I most recommend I would call Science Fiction.
And finally, I'd also like to defend the fourth-grade reading level. For pure enjoyable story-- magical, wonderful, stories that stay in the mind forever--fourth-grade reading is about as good as it gets.